Actual prep time: 1 hour
Level of difficulty: 2.75
The resemblance to a New York/Sirloin steak can be deceptive. This is a hard working, tough cut of meat.
Sign of the times
The label above reveals that the meat has been “BLADE TENDERIZED.” This process involves a series of needle-like cutting edges inserted into the meat to sever the connective fibers of the meat. The practice is legal/safe and can shorten the interval required for tenderization of the short ribs. Blade tenderization will NOT render the meat tender enough to grill and serve like a higher priced steak, although they seem to be charging you as if it did. This is one of the many reasons I prefer to buy primal cuts–they are at least less likely to have been “Jaccardized.”
Vacuum seal the ribs in heat rated plastic bags and process at 140 F/60 C. If the meat has not been blade tenderized, expect a minimum of 36 hours to achieve the desired level of tenderness–somewhat less if the meat has been “needled.” For predictable results, click the link HERE to learn how to measure tenderness in real time. The final product will be fully pasteurized/preserved. Cold shock the sealed packages in iced water until they achieve 70 F/21 C and refrigerate at 40 F/4 C. In this state, the short ribs can remain refrigerated safely for at least two weeks.
Submerge the chilled packages in hot tap water 110 F/43 C until the gel/juices melt. Remove the short ribs from the bag and stage onto a clean work surface. Save the juices. In the picture above, the short rib at the top of the frame was processed “naked.” The short rib in the bottom of the frame was pre-seasoned and seared according to the method explained HERE.
Note: it is absolutely safe to add seasonings to the bag and/or pre-sear. The benefit is open to debate. Salt is the only flavoring that can penetrate the surface of the protein matrix–other flavorings/colorings simply dissolve into the juices in the pouch. Exposing the meat to salt before processing for hours/days will allow the salt to slowly travel towards the center. Keep in mind that this may trigger the curing process, causing noticeable changes not only in appearance but in texture and flavor. Beef may take on the appearance of having been “half corned.” Ultimately, I find it easier to flavor the meat AND the Sous Jus after processing.
Above: something to look forward to!
Be a Surface Pro
We want to create a sticky surface for seasonings to cling to.
Dust both sides with powdered egg white. Fresh egg whites can also be used–mix one egg white well with 1 oz/30 ml water and use sparingly. Note: Allergic to egg products? The egg white step can be omitted.
Mist with a spray bottle to dissolve the egg whites (not necessary if you are using fresh).
Stage the “steaks” onto a rack. We used a Lipavi L10 linked HERE. Lipavi stainless steel racks are water proof, dishwasher proof and oven proof.
Spray or drizzle lightly with oil–this prevents the herbs in the seasoning from scorching. Set aside to give the coating a few minutes to attach itself.
Set your smoker to 180 F/80 C or as close as possible. Smoke for a minimum of two hours or until the desired appearance is achieved. Baste with the sauce and return to the smoker for another two hours. The ultimate Internal temperature should be at least 125 F/5 C, generally considered to be “mouth hot.” Exceeding this temperature will affect the end results but will not negate the benefits of the sous vide processing–this gives the practitioner the opportunity to satisfy their own particular preferences.
The longer the roast remains in the smoker, the more concentrated the smoky, beefy flavor will become–with the proviso that moisture loss will also continue to increase.
Slice as desired and use extra sauce as a drizzle. Don’t be afraid to bless with a few drops of butter.
The crusty glaze is appealing. The visible “smoke ring” indicates exposure to Nitric Oxide (NO) and Carbon Monoxide (C0) in the smoker cabinet, but does not actually carry flavor in and of itself.
A single slice makes for a sensational appetizer.
For the lighter appetite, a couple of slices goes a long way.
Hipster Cool-Slaw–the perfect accompaniment.
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