Sous Vide: Beef Short Ribs, Flanken Cut

Thin sliced "Flanken" ribs are commonly quick grilled for Korean "Kalbi," but sous vide creates a product that is more moist and tender.

Ingredients

Flanken cut beef short ribs, approximately 2 lb./2 Kg.
Powdered egg white, as needed, a few grains (fresh egg white can also be used).
Your favorite seasoning blend or one of our dedicated versions.
Vegetable oil, as needed.

Dark Side Barbecue sauce, or your favorite version.

Green onions, 3 each, sliced thin on the bias.

 

 

Equipment requirements

Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags or Ziploc freezer bags (Foodsaver, etc.)
Channel or chamber vacuum device–unnecessary if you use Ziploc freezer bags.
Oven.

Serves 3+

Level of difficulty: 1.5

Processing the short ribs

Vacuum seal the ribs in single layers so that the transference of heat will be uniform. Flanken cut short ribs are long and thin, so care should be taken to make sure the pouches are not taller than the water line.

Make sure you use racks to separate each package of ribs so that water can circulate freely between them.

You can fill Lipavi containers full enough so that the lid comes in contact with the water in the vessel. This save heat and prevents pouches from floating or otherwise protruding from the surface of the water.

After vacuum sealing the ribs, process at

140 F/60 C for 48 hours and then check for tenderness.

Choices:

Once the short ribs have been processed, they are pasteurized/preserved. This gives you the choice of finishing and serving immediately or storing under refrigeration for later use. If you decide to save the ribs for later, submerge the unopened package(s) in iced water until 70 F/21 C is achieved. The ribs can then be safely refrigerated at 40 F/4 C for at least two weeks–much like a sealed carton of milk. Do not put the hot packages in the refrigerator! Not only will they spend too long in the temperature danger zone between 125 F and 40 F (52 C and 4 C), the heat from the pouches will compromise the safety of other foods in the vicinity.

Let sous vide work for you!

Let’s assume you want to serve the ribs as soon as they are fully processed. There is no need to calculate in advance what time they must be started in order to be ready at the exact moment of service. This is a common misconception about sous vide.

There is no “moment” before which the ribs are not ready and after which they are overcooked. A package of flanken short ribs processed at 140 F/60 C for 48 hours will be only slightly less tenderized than one that was processed for 54 hours. This is because the rate of collagen conversion is extremely slow at temperatures at or below 140 F/60 C.

The holding period can be extended even longer by reducing the heat to 128 F/53 C after the initial processing interval. At this temperature the short ribs can be held for at least another 12-18 hours without compromising safety, quality or wholesomeness. In this way, sous vide is one of the most convenient forms of cooking proteins–no other method of cooking gives the cook so much flexibility in the timing of service. Restaurants that serve sous vide processed items take advantage of this.

While the ribs are processing, there is plenty of time to prepare the other components of your meal. Once the ribs have been removed from the sous vide bath, they can be ready for service within one hour if that is your preference.

Finishing the Short Ribs

Preheat the oven to 350 F/176 C.

Line a sheet pan with parchment and lay the short ribs out in a single layer.

Dust lightly with powdered egg white.

Mist with water to moisten the egg whites. This will create a sticky surface for the seasonings to cling to.

Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings or one from our seasonings recipe file, linked HERE.

Spray or drizzle lightly with vegetable oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until the surface is a little bubbly. Spread lightly with the barbecue sauce and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

Arrange on a platter, sprinkle with the green onions and serve extra sauce on the side.

Norm King

Alternate presentation:

After seasoning and drizzling with oil, the ribs can also be char-broiled or smoked in the bbq!

 

 

About

Beef short ribs are among the toughest cuts on a steer. These muscles work with the brisket and shanks to support 60% of the animal's weight. Tenderization by traditional methods can be especially difficult. By the time the high levels of collagen have been converted to gelatin, the short ribs are usually unrecognizable.
Sous vide processing allows us to apply heat and time without jostling the ribs unnecessarily. The process also preserves moisture. This assures an intact and attractive outcome.

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