Sous-B-Q: Dry Rub Pork Spare Ribs

Pork spare ribs have become one of the most popular synergies of sous vide processing and traditional rustic culinary styles.


Pork Spare Ribs can range anywhere from 3 lbs./1.4 Kg to 8 lbs./3.5 Kg or even larger. Start with 1 side, or even a portion of one side.
Powdered egg white, a sprinkling, or one fresh egg white.

Preferred seasonings. Today’s rub was composed of 5 Tablespoons salt and 1 Tablespoon each of hot paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar.

Brisk Barbecue Sauce for dipping, (optional), recipe HERE.

Optional components:
Sous vide corn on the cob.
Cherry peppers.







Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Sauce pot, minimum 2 quart/2 liter.
Kitchen tongs.
Flour shaker/sifter.
Infrared or probe thermometer.
Outdoor smoker.





Above: Lipavi C20 container, N20 polycarbonate rack. Lipavi C20L-AO lid.

The picture above shows an entire side of pork spare ribs. Below: the entire cut can be divided into smaller pieces, packaged separately and processed without recalculating the time/temperature guideline. This gives you more storage and preservation flexibility.

Actual prep time, 90 minutes
Serves 1 person per 16 oz/450 g unless you’re in Texas
Level of difficulty 3


Stage the spare ribs into dedicated vacuum bags. Seal and sous vide process at
140 F/60 C for 24 hours.

After the interval has elapsed, the ribs are now fully tenderized/preserved. Submerge the package(s) in iced water until they reach 70 F/21 C. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C until day of use. This protects your refrigerator and its contents from temperature contamination–refrigerators are not capable of cooling hot foods in a timely manner. After cold shocking, the ribs can be kept sealed and refrigerated in this tenderized, pasteurized/preserved state for at least two weeks. The ribs are ready for the flavoring and smoking processes at your convenience–allow about four hours total.

Day of service: 

Submerge the refrigerated package(s) of spare ribs in hot water for five minutes to fully melt the gel. You can use hot tap water (125 F/52 C) or the sous vide bath if you are processing something at the time.

Remove the sections from the bag and stage onto a rack with a pan below to catch the juices.

Pat both sides dry.

Use a shaker (or sifter) to dust the meaty side with the powdered egg white.

Use a spray bottle to moisten the surface. Fresh egg white can also be used–mix well with an equal volume of water and apply sparingly. The egg whites replace the albumins released from the spare ribs during processing. This light coating recreates the sticky surface that is inherent in raw meat and helps seasonings to adhere.

Sprinkle seasonings over the moistened surface. Use the recipe in the list of ingredients or your own preferred blend. We also have a large assortment of custom rub recipes linked HERE.  If desired, repeat the seasoning process on the other side.

Use cooking spray to lightly coat the surface–this encourages even browning.

Stage the spare ribs into a suitable rack. Collect the juices into a microwaveable container and set aside. For best results, hot smoke the ribs at approximately 200 F/94 C until the surface takes on the desired appearance and an internal temperature of at least 140 F/60 C is achieved. Typically, this takes approximately three hours.

While you wait

The ribs will yield approximately 12 oz/350 ml of juices. They are packed with flavor but cannot be used in this current form. Clarify the juices according to the method explained HERE.

The finished consommé can be substituted in any savory recipe that calls for water or stock. HERE is a BBQ sauce that uses Sous Jus.

Coming out of the smoker–something to look forward to.

Carve between the bones and serve!

In the picture: Sous vide corn on the cob, 183 F/84 C for four hours and shocked cold. Dusted with powdered egg white, spritzed with water, seasoned and grilled in the cast iron broiler pan.

The crust is the thing. Enjoy!

Norm King

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Using sous vide to tenderize/pasteurize spare ribs makes this popular home style dish much less of a chore than ever before. As time consuming as the traditional slow roasting/smoking can be, this method divides the process into two simple steps--sous vide tenderization/preservation while you are at work (or asleep!), and then a finishing process that can be completed in an afternoon.


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