Sous Vide: Hickory Smoked Lamb Osso Buco

Admittedly, "Hickory Smoked" and "Osso Buco" rarely appear in the same sentence. Sous vide makes the unlikely possible!

Ingredients

Oregon lamb shank, sliced into four portions, 1 each/person.
Powdered egg white, as needed.
Favored seasoning blend, your own or one of ours listed HERE..
Vegetable oil, a few drops.
Chopped parsley, as needed.

Streamlined BBQ sauce:
Worcestershire sauce, 1 oz./30 ml.
Ketchup, 3 oz./90 ml.
Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon.
Lamb sous-jus reduction, 1 oz/30 ml.
1 oz./30 ml vegetable oil.

Optional components:

Baby lettuce, as needed.
Grape tomatoes, halved, as needed.
Pearl onions, blanched, as needed.

 

Equipment requirements:
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated Lipavi container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Lipavi L10 rack or larger.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Pellet smoker or equivalent.

Above: Lipavi C10 container, N10 polycarbonate racks. Lipavi C10L lid.

Serves 2
Level of difficulty 2.0

For more information about Oregon Lamb Shanks, visit HERE.

Procedure:

Preheat your sous vide bath to 140 F/60 CVacuum seal the individual lamb shanks in heat rated plastic bags. Sous vide process the packages initially for 36 hours. Use the method explained HERE to verify your desired level of tenderness.

When the interval has elapsed, shock the packages in iced water until they achieve 70 F/21 C. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C until day of service. The sealed lamb shanks can be safely refrigerated in this state for at least two weeks.

Day of service

Remove the packages from the refrigerator and submerge in hot tap water (or an operating sous vide bath) for five minutes to loosen the gel. Cut a hole in the plastic pouch(es) and drain the juices into a microwaveable container or small sauce pan. Add 0.5 cups/125 ml water and clarify the juices according to the procedure explained HERE. Set the juices aside.

Rinse the shanks in cold water to remove any remaining debris and lay them out on a disposable surface. Make sure the hole in the bone is facing down.

Dust with powdered egg white (or fresh if preferred, sparingly). Mist with water to liquify the egg whites (not necessary if you use fresh).

When I am planning to bbq/smoke, I add a pinch of sugar and paprika to whatever seasoning blend I am using.

Turn the shanks over so the hole in the bone is facing up.

Dust with powdered egg white and mist with water to create the sticky surface. Again, fresh egg white can also be used.

Sprinkle again with the seasonings.

Mist with oil and let rest for five minutes.

Arrange the shanks on a metal Lipavi rack so that smoke can circulate freely. Stage into a smoker set to 180 F/82 C. While you wait…

Make the sauce

Reduce the sous jus to 1 oz/30 ml. Remove from burner and add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, garlic powder and oil. Mix well. Set aside.

These were hickory smoked for 4.5 hours. After removing from the smoker, paint lightly with the barbecue sauce and use a propane torch or broiler setting in your oven to create the glaze.

Arrange as desired.

Note that the marrow is still intact.

Money! Even though smoke flavorings are colorless, other gases contained in the intense hickory smoke (CO and NO) impart a distinctive color to the meat.

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About

Sous vide turns many traditional methods on their heads. While collagen-heavy proteins are traditionally browned before being slowly simmered to the tender state, sous vide tenderizes the proteins first. This provides opportunities unique to the methodology.

Such is the case with lamb shanks osso buco. If the shanks are smoked first, the conventional braising process will remove almost all of the volatile smoke flavorings. If the shanks are simmered first, imparting the smoke flavor to the shanks becomes an exercise in futility. Sous vide overcomes both of these barriers.