48 Hour Sous Vide Ribs

There’s obviously a reasonable amount of planning ahead when cooking your dinner for 48 hours – you need to anticipate what sort of food you’ll fancy eating in 2 days time. Nothing to worry about here though – is there ever a time when you don’t fancy eating a rack of Sous Vide Ribs?

I think not.

The process was made possible by cooking the ribs at a low temperature in the SousVide Supreme. You could of course cook them covered in a low oven but the benefits of cooking in a temperature controlled water-bath are many – You can accurately control the temperature to within 0.5c. The flavour and juices of the meat are locked in. You don’t need to keep checking it. But – most importantly, you guarantee incredible results every time you cook it.

You’ll need to make your sauce/glaze separately but that means you can really fine-tune the sauce  so it’s exactly as you want it when you serve it. I served it with an apple and celeriac slaw – apples have featured heavily in my cooking recently but, then again, I have plenty of apples to get through right now so expect a few more apple-based dishes from me.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Sous Vide Ribs:

For the pork

  • 1 rack pork ribs per person
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika per rack
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar per rack
  • Salt & Pepper.
Rub the ribs with the salt, pepper, paprika and sugar. Seal in a vacuum pack and cook in a pre-heated water-bath at 61.5c for 48 hours.

For the glaze

  • 1 medium sized onion – finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon black cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 grated apples
  • A few splashes of smoky tabasco sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Black Pepper.
The problem with home-made BBQ style sauces is trying to get a decent smoky flavour (without actually using smoke of some sort). The shop-bought BBQ sauces aren’t bad at all but they are a little chemicaly and a little too gloopy. So – the trick I’ve been playing with is using black cumin (along with the other smoky flavour ingredients). Black cumin has a dark, smoky flavour and is much more suited to this sort of sauce than the normal cumin you’d buy in the supermarket. It’s distinctive enough to mean this sauce isn’t an exact replica of every other BBQ sauce you may have tried – it gives it a nice twist. Anyway – enough talk, here’s how you make it:
In a saucepan, fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft. Add the black cumin and the fennel and fry for a minute or two more. Add the rest of ingredients and cook over a low heat for half an hour. Remove from the heat and blitz the sauce with a hand-held food processor for 30 seconds. You will still have a pulp left in the sauce so you now need to strain the sauce through a sieve. Return to the heat and reduce until the sauce is reasonably sticky.

For the slaw

  • 2 apples – sliced into thin batons
  • Half a celariac – sliced into thin batons
  • Half a white cabbage – sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons apple vinegar
  • A twist of celery salt
  • A few chopped sprigs of parsley
  • A couple of crushed walnuts
  • Black pepper.

Mix the ingredients and season to taste. Be careful with the celery salt – you can easily over-do it. Once you’re happy with the slaw, cover it until you’re ready to serve.

To finish

Heat your oven to its highest temperature. Remove the ribs from their vacuum bags and place in a tray and spoon over the glaze. Cook in the hot oven for 20 minutes or so – just to allow the outside of the meat and bones to blacken a little.

Remove from the oven and serve with the slaw – sprinkle some of the crushed walnuts over the slaw.

The big question – how was the meat?

What’s a little surprising with the SousVide Supreme is that you expect meat to fall off the bone the second you touch it. But it doesn’t. The meat actually retains a little of its firmness until you bite into it – and that’s when you get the texture – it has just enough bite to feel like you’re eating it but is as moist and tender as you could possibly imagine. It’s simply perfect.

Succulent, moist, salty ribs with a sweet, smoky, sticky sauce served with a fresh, crunchy slaw.

Go on. You know you want to.

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By John Loydall


  • Brooklyn says:

    Wawaweewaaaa! This looks too good for words. Have to try this weekend… mmm.

  • Matthew Collom says:

    I have been trying Sous Vide cooking over the past few months. Yet to cook Ribs so am going to try this on the weekend (well, put the Ribs in on Thursday Night). Will let you know my results. I have a great BBQ sauce recipe from Ferran Adria if you are interested?

  • John L says:

    Great stuff – let me know how you get on. If you have the Ferran Adria recipe I’d certainly be interested to see it. Cheers.

  • Sue says:

    Finally gave in to temptation and got the sous-vide this weekend! Couldn’t get pork ribs, so trying belly pork with the same rub/glaze instead – your recipe’s making my mouth water! Planning to take off the skin and turn into crackling separately …. wish me luck! Anything I should know as I kick it off now ready for Wednesday evening …?

    • John L says:

      Great! If you’re finishing that pork belly off in the oven to get the glaze nice and sticky, just keep an eye on it – give it a press with you finger every so often to check it’s not softened too much. You want it nicely falling apart but not destroyed.

      Good luck.

      • Sue says:

        Thanks – it went down a treat! Finally cooked around 65C for 3 days … lovely and tender, fat all rendered and sticky, but not mush. The glaze was great – will definitely be trying it on the proper article (the ribs) as soon as I get my hands on some – and loved the slaw. Thanks for the ideas, I’ll be borrowing some more!!

  • Steve says:

    Hi John, looking forward to taking delivery of my Sansaire soon so preparing recipes – can you tell me if the black cumin you used was a powder or what I appear to be able to find more easily, Nigella seeds? I am in London so ought not be too difficult to find but want to make sure I am sourcing the right thing.

    • John Loydall says:

      Hi Steve – thanks for you comments. Black cumin is not the same as Nigella seed – they are quite different in taste. Black cumin resembles a darker and finer seed version of ‘normal’ cumin seed. I’ve never seen black cumin as a ground powder (although you probably can buy it ground) but if you hunt around Indian food shops you should find it easily enough. If you’re in London you could make your way down to Tooting – loads of Indian shops down that way that would no-doubt stock the stuff. It’s quite pokey stuff so go easy when you use it otherwise it can overpower. Hope it turns out well for you.

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