No BBQ is be complete without ribs. Fact.
And having now tried the sous vide variety I think I could be facing a new food addiction. Move over noodles.
Following a standard brining, and vac sealing each rack with the rich, sticky, smoky marinade, they’re placed in the bath at 61°C for 48 hours. This treatment results in fall off the bone juiciness and richly flavoured meat. Add to that a brief stint on the hickory wood chip spiked coals for a delicate smoky char, and you’ve got a lot of finger licking on your hands.
In terms of the smoke, I went for hickory as it felt like a natural fit with the bourbon whiskey, but there are loads of different wood chips out there ripe for BBQ experimentation — and as you can tell from one of my pics, SousVideTools (where my sous vide and wood chips are from) stock most of the sort you could be after.
If you like the sound of this recipe but aren’t yet in possession of a sous vide don’t worry. Simply place the raw ribs in the marinade for 24 hours prior to cooking them through on the coals — though you’ll need to adjust the timings for this that are listed in the method section.
The usual guidance is one rack of ribs per person, but I’d allow more as greediness is likely to take hold, and no one wants to resort to stealing food off their dining companions plates. Unless they’re shameless like me.
- 4 racks of baby back ribs
- 2 handfuls hickory chips for the BBQ
- 250mls soy sauce
- 175mls bourbon whiskey
- 250mls soy sauce
- 200g dark brown soft sugar
- 2 tbsp English mustard
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- Brine your ribs for 12 to 24 hours in a standard 10% brine — so thats 100g salt and 100g sugar per liter of water.
- Place all the ingredients bar the ribs into a saucepan and bring to the simmer. Cook for around 20 to 25 minutes (keeping an eye on it so it doesnt bubble over) until the alcohol has cooked off and the sauce has thickened. Wait for it to cool.
- Preheat your sous vide to 61°C.
- Take your ribs out of the brine and put one rack in each bag. Pour the marinade in over the ribs, sharing it out equally over the four ribs, vacuum and seal on a hard vacuum.
- Place into the water bath for 24 to 48 hours (I went for 48).
- When ready, remove and chill down as usual.
- When you’re ready to BBQ them, remove them from their pouches and oil them as best you can (bit tricky as they’ve been in a wet marinade) with the oil.
- Fire up the BBQ and when the coals are ready for the meat, throw the hickory smoked chips over the coals. Then take the oiled ribs and place on the racks and cook for 3 minutes each side with the BBQ lid closed.
- Remove and devour. Making sure you have plenty of napkins to hand.