App Disaster For 48 Hour Sous Vide Short Ribs

You are probably reading this hoping it’s a software glitch in the Anova or a hacking of the Joule that has led to this culinary failure. It is technically true that an app was responsible for the issues. But in reality, it’s my own dumbass behaviour that was the problem. The app in question is WhatsApp and the issue had nothing to do with the sous vide end of the cooking. I started over two days out, planning a 48 hour cook of my short ribs. At this stage, everything went according to plan.

I got myself some top notch short ribs from a quality butcher. I find that many butchers pawn off all sorts of rib bits as short ribs. I simple guide is that the meat needs to exceed both the fat and bone content. Otherwise, you are going to be getting pretty poor value, despite the low headline price. The best way to ensure this is for the butcher to take the rib from the short end (bottom) of the the rib. You can argue that one out with your supplier.

As if you needed a picture to see the extraneous bits…

I trimmed some of the extraneous bits that don’t make for nice eating. Then I seasoned the meat well with black pepper and a good sprinkling of chilli flakes. I then vacuum sealed them and popped them into the sous vide for 48 hours at 55ºC.

A simple mix of black pepper and chilli flakes gives good seasoning.

All went well and I retrieved them from the bath. I painted them with a mixture of soy sauce and oyster sauce. This was designed to give them a luscious glaze and a nice sticky taste. I put the tray of ribs into a 200ºC fan oven. It was my intention to leave them there for ten minutes tops.

At this stage, they felt and looked great.

Then my phone rang. It was a family member (using WhatsApp) who needed to talk (Boy did he/she talk!) I didn’t get off the call for twenty minutes. Too late! The forty eight hours of sous vide was compromised by ten minutes too long in the oven. The ribs were still very tasty. The sauce mixture worked really well. But the ribs were too dry, a bit tough and just a bit too chewy.

Very tasty, if a little on the tough side. Next time, don’t call.

Next time, I’ll leave the phone in another room. This is well worth doing again. I will do it and report back. But, if I don’t answer your call for help in the early evening, blame the ribs.

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Latest comments
  • Yes, phoning family members who won’t take no for an answer have a lot to answer for. Why must they ring at mealtimes? Burned stew, soggy pasta and rubber eggs are less of a disaster than overcooked short ribs, especially after 48 hours in the sous vide. My commiserations…

  • They look fantastic and the seasoning/sauce flavour sounds delicious.
    I won’t answer the phone if I’m cooking or eating – the world can wait!

  • I think the chewy bit may not be due to the long oven time, but to the time and temperature combination. For most beef short ribs, I would recommend 48 hours at 57. 55 could also work, but for at least 72 hours.

  • Have never made short ribs with chilli, soy and oyster sauce – appetizing: really must try ! It seems that living in my ‘archaic’ way with exclusively loving all parts of my kitchen stove and usually having my smartphone in my bedroom drawer for outages, with my oft unanswered landlines doing me just fine . . . well, but few culinary accidents to remember . . . friends can jolly well wait until more important things are over and done with . . . 🙂 !

  • I agree with StefanGourmet in thinking your cook temp was too low or time too short – I find it hard to believe that a mere 10 minutes extra blasting time would account for chewy meat if it weren’t already chewy in the first place. Did you sample it, as opposed to just eyeballing it, before the oven cook? I think you might be laying the blame at the wrong door 😋

  • Conor, your seasoning photo is amazing and your description of a short rib will be of great assistance in describing to our butcher what a short rib is as we don’t have that cut here. Well, I’ve decide to make the plunge and go over to the Sous Vide side. Would you recommend the Anova or another circulator?

  • These look fabulous. I just posted on sous vide short ribs as well. I’m too lazy to actually read what time and temperature I used… After the Thanksgiving week I’m just happily exhausted! But these were sous vide’d in marinade, and I don’t own a chamber vacuum sealer, so I was a bit worried. Hopefully Santa will gift me with one. I’ve been good.


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