Jacob’s Ladder Sous Vide – Very, Very Tasty. But….

Jacobs Ladder Sous Vide (5 of 6)“What’s the ‘But….’?” you ask. The beef looks delicious in the picture. It tasted delicious, particularly with a beautiful, highly tasty, beef and wine reduction. The soft stem broccoli was lovely on the side and the celeriac mash was perfect too. So, what’s the problem? 

It’s not a difficulty, as such. It was delicious. I would have to say that the meat had a lovely texture. It was pretty flavoursome too. I might even cook it again. But, my issue is that there is a tastier way to prepare the Jacob’s Ladder. But that is a way I would rather you avoided. I warned you about it before. The link is here.  So, if you have a sous vide machine, give this a whirl. You will need a huge lump of beef short ribs in one piece also known as Jacobs Ladder.

Any excuse for a 'vast lump of beef' shot. This was a pretty vast lump.

Any excuse for a ‘vast lump of beef’ shot. This was a pretty vast lump.

Season the beef.

Any excuse for a 'vast lump of seasoned beef' shot.

Any excuse for a ‘vast lump of seasoned beef’ shot.

Slice a single bulb of garlic in an artistic way.

Fancy single bulb of garlic slicing. Make a small lampshade out of the skin.

Fancy single bulb of garlic slicing. Make a small lampshade out of the skin.

Vacuum seal the garlic and seasoned beef.

Somebody asked me why I was using banana on the beef....

Somebody asked me why I was using banana on the beef….

Pop this in the sous vide bath for 48 hours at 57ºC. When it comes out, It will look like something dragged out of the River Liffey after a particularly gruesome mob hit.

Not the tastiest looking bit of beef. But wait until I slice it.

Not the tastiest looking bit of beef. It reminds me of Scaramanga, Can you can see it?

Once sliced, the meat looks excellent. Perfectly cooked through and very juicy.

Not for the faint of heart or the vegetarians amongst you.

Not for the faint of heart or the vegetarians amongst you.

Heat and strain the bag juices. Add a glass of wine, season and reduce until nicely ‘poury’ (a word of my own invention to mean “nice to pour over your dinner”).

That Chateau Tour De Yon 2010 makes for a great sauce.

That Chateau Tour De Yon 2010 makes for a great sauce.

Assemble the various bits on plates and serve. The celeriac mash (50% celeriac 50% potato = 100% tasty) goes very well with any beef dish. The broccoli adds a little colour. The jus adds a big flavour punch that ties the beef to the accompanying wine.

It's vey difficult to diss this dish (try saying that after a bottle of wine).

It’s very difficult to diss this dish (try saying that after a bottle of wine).

This was pretty spectacular. The beef was beefy. The jus made a great contribution, carrying a lot of the garlic flavour. The wine was lovely with it. But, I just can’t help thinking that I prefer the low and slow roasted version with lashings of garlic. I’ll just have to cook it again to see….

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  • yum going to buy a sous vide bath

  • Interesting. I braise Oven Busters quite often and would think they lend themselves to sous vide. They definitely look very good, but I suspect you are saying that a slow cook in the oven, infuses the meat with more flavour than cooking sous vide – which is what disappoints me about most sous vide I’ve tried…

    • That’s exactly it MD. The principal difference has to be the fat. Fat makes flavour and the fat stays in place on the sous vide method. Having said that, it was pretty damn tasty but just not as much so as the other method. I have some lamb shoulder to post yet and it was epic done sous vide.
      By the way, I love the expression “Oven Buster”.

      • I’ve had similar experiences with sous vide. Steak can be very good, especially when finished off on a BBQ. A friend stuffed a boned leg of lamb which was quite amazing – I think because it was all cooking slowly together. I have another friend who insists on cooking pork belly sous vide, which he then sticks in the oven for 10 minutes. The result is slices of pork which taste good, but they are attached to soggy pieces of fat which would be a lot better if crispy – this has put me off sous vide somewhat. However, I’d very much like to cook ox cheeks and venison sous vide, as I think they’d work very well.
        I got the term Oven Busters from my butcher, who has them for sale most of the time 🙂

        • All good stuff. The pork belly sounds awful. The idea of a stuffed lamb leg really appeals. I have done steak and finished it on the griddle. It’s excellent. Oven Buster breaks me up!

          • Yes, I really don’t understand the pork belly and he’s done it a few times at dinner parties. It would be a lot better cooked less and made crispy over a flame before serving… or just cooked in the oven with crackling on top 😉

          • You have to have crackling! I have a belly to post over the next couple of weeks. IT was fantastic. Oven roasted.

          • Excellent!

  • This looks so good. I still have never experimented with a sous vide but i know short ribs braised in a slow cooker or the oven on low are phenomenal. I love that you use red wine here and garlic. Yum.

    • Amanda,
      Beef, red wine and garlic are a sort of holy trinity in my book.

  • BEEF. It’s what’s for dinner.
    (that was a beef council slogan in the US from the 80s or 90s)
    I need to get a sous vide thingie. I think it’d be fun.

    • I suspect I could come up with something more imaginative. However, it does get straight to the heart of it. A combination of your 1970’s dishes and sous vide cooking would either be wonderful or the greatest cooking disaster since I tried to microwave some eggs in their shells.

      • I applaud you for trying to microwave eggs.

        • A once in a lifetime experience, I guarantee you.

        • But I microwave eggs in their shells all the time using the Nordic Ware microwave egg boiler. They come out perfect – easy peel, no green yolk coat! 😉 Just discovered your blog, Conor, and am loving it! Lots of laughs.Thanks!

          • Thanks Angie. You are too kind. I have never come a Ross a device like that.

  • The Mob scene killed me! 😀 It’s one of my and my dog’s favorite cuts of meat.
    My wife does this much the same way, except she adds a bit of orange peel, which gives the flavor a bit of a tang. The photo’s alone have me salivating and am now off to my butcher!

    • The orange is a very interesting thought. I have had a Chinese beef fillet done in chili and orange crust. You have got me thinking……

  • That looks fab, but I think the slow roast version appeals to me more. I love this cut of meat, however my better (ahem!) half does not agree and as such I rarely cook it. Shame.

  • The lamp shade. OMG.

    • I knew somebody would like that one. Thank you!

  • To be honest I’d be happy to eat it either way if you were cooking it, Conor. Yum.

    • Thanks Linda,
      That’s what they were saying when I started the debate at home about it. However, for now, there are a raft of new things to try and I will have to put the Jacob’s Ladder on the back burner, as it were.

  • That’s an impressive lump! Excellent, delicate dish, Conor. Excellent broccoli too.

    • Yes indeed Nick. Lidl have been selling the soft stem broccoli for a few weeks now. It’s far more elegant than the big lumpy stalked stuff.

  • That’s awesome! I really want to get my hands on a sous vide machine. I know you don’t always get the same kind of char or crust when using it, but the tenderness of the meat cooked at such a controlled temp must be incredible!

    • It is for sure. And, if one wants, one can finish it off on the BBQ or stovetop. However, I suspect that this would just fall apart either way.

  • You’ve made me want to go out and buy a nice brisket and subject it to long slow torture with red wine and garlic. I don’t suppose I’ll ever buy a sous vide thingy, but your posts on the subject have made me get reacquainted with cuts that do well cooked that way. I’m also thinking curry made from the inelegantly named ‘lamb flaps’, which is what they call belly and breast here…

    • Kate,
      You shock me. Lamb flaps! I couldn’t get away with calling anything that on this side of the world. Best park that, go buy the brisket, and get cooking.

  • Awww. What a meal. And there’s your celeriac/potato mash. I’d say 100% good! The meat looks perfect.

    • Ha! I had forgotten that I had cooked it and was posting so close to your own delicious celeriac mash. Great minds….

  • Very sexy dish indeed….I don’t see a sous vide cooker ever finding its way into my kitchen ( more’s the pity) but I can appreciate how good that must have tasted:)

    • Too kind, as always. I have been having great fun with it of late. I am planning some beef cheeks and something with chicken, if I can get my act together.

  • Hi Conor, that slab of short ribs does have thick layers of fat and I think I too would prefer it cooked in a way that the fat is rendered. With short ribs that have more intramuscular fat (ie marbling) I prefer the sous-vide. I haven’t tried it with garlic yet, so I’ll put that on my list.

    • I have to get my meat selection right for this cooking. Beef cheeks are next on the list. Though I had a divine lamb shoulder a couple of weeks ago. Onwards and upwards!

      • I do love pork belly sous-vide, even though also in that case there is not a lot of fat rendering going on. But the layers are thin enough that it still ‘works’. 48 hours at 57 also for pork belly.

        • I will have to give it a go before passing final judgement. Perhaps cooking the skin separately?

          • I’ve never prepared pork belly with skin. You could use the blow torch though, and I’ve also had good results with the broiler. If the slab is thick enough, it won’t overcook and you will keep the wonderful lush sous-vide texture.

          • I was thinking of doing it in the oven, between two glass dishes.

  • That’s a cut I’ve never seen around here. But short ribs are so delicious, I’m sure it must be grand. Scaramanga … too funny.

    • Thanks Michelle, I hoped I was not going down a total nerd route with the Scaramanga….

  • As the reluctant child ‘moi’ as I shall never probably make friends with a sous-vide machine[ation]. Love the result tho’! Now also love the elegance of your treatment of garlic : have just been to the kitchen to talk to my copious available: oh they love the word ‘artistic’ and have definitely promised to vote for you in the next Irish blog comp!!!!!!

    • Happy Days Eha. Always good to have friends on one’s side.

  • When I saw the photo with the headline of “but….” I thought that the pork needed a good crisping up of the skin/fat! Nonetheless, it did prove to be very tasty it seems. Gosh, I just have to have some good crispy/seared and/or braised fat with my meat, otherwise, WHY?? OK cheeks, tongues, etc. I get, but any cut of meat can be prepared without an ungodly amount of time in a sous vide. I know, Stefan and Richard and you are steering me that way too. I don’t doubt any of you. Can I have my crispy fat? Please? lol 😉

    • Crisp away. I need to get a bit braver about finishing off these cuts on the BBQ or under the grill. I plan some cheek soon.

  • You are really making me rethink my need for one of these awesome machines. My goodness look how beautiful this turned out cooked to perfect with a beautiful wine sauce. I love that little photos with your onions and garlic, you are always cracking me up!

    • Thanks BAM, I can only encourage you to get one. They are great fun, if anything in the kitchen can be described as fun.

  • Conor, I’d love to leave a pithy comment about the beef, but I’m just too taken with the word “poury”. It’s genius. We need a new Lexicon of Real Cooking For Real Ordinary Peoples. Reminds me of a friend of mine who once cautioned on using more than 1 chilli in a particular dish if I didn’t want it too “burny”. I can’t remember the dish, but I never forgot “burny”…

    Ah, words are fabulous.

    • They can be a bit of fun. Though, I’m sure I have offended some of the purists (if not pourists) out there.

  • Very cool one of my fave dishes x could you not bbq it on flames to get some colour on? With a crusty crispy outside ?? Mmmm

    • “Are you never satisfied? I’m killing myself to get this stuff out and all you can do is criticise!”

      If I meant that, I wouldn’t say it. In fact, it’s an excellent idea that I need to take on board.

  • Dear good lord Conor, that beef looks effing amazing. Me likey plenty lots 🙂

  • All that delicious beef fat. I didn’t realise ribs were refered to as Jacob’s Ladder. It reminds me of that really weird film with Tim Robbins from years ago. It was freaky then. But now..well now it’s not so weird compared to spending 5 mins on youtube.

    • Yes, short ribs. Never saw the movie. A treat in store.

  • i adore the garlic shoots, and damn!!!
    that’s really a man kind of beef phal!!!

  • Conor
    I just discovered you Blog and immediately googled and purchased a sous vide bath and can’t wait for it to arrive. You have a lot to answer for. In the mean time I am definately not slow roasting a Jacob’e Ladder over garlic.

    • Whatever you do, don’t have those short ribs!
      The sous vide has been great fun so far. We had a whole leg of lamb from it last week. That alone made it worthwhile. Please let me know how you get on. Oh, one last thing, read the first sentence again. Think of the market prices!

      • I can assure you that the Jacob’s ladder, which I did not have, was absolutely dreadful. I would hate to see the price rise above the £4/kg I paid on Monday.

        • I’m delighted that you decided against trying this. Good to see market pricing remaining low. Don’t try it again, not that you did in the first place.

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