Sous Vide: Salt and Pepper Baby Back Pork Ribs, 2020

While there are thousands of barbecue style recipes for baby back ribs, this preparation demonstrates the power of simplicity.


Baby back pork ribs, one side, typically about 3 lbs/ 1.5 K.
Kosher Salt, 1 Tablespoon.
Ground Black Pepper, 1 Tablespoon.
Parsley, dried, 0.5 cup/140 ml.

Egg whites, 2 each.

Dipping sauce:

Honey, 3 oz/90 ml.
Frank’s/Durkee’s Red Hot sauce or equivalent, 3 oz/75 ml.
Butter, unsalted, 2 oz/ 60 g.
Worcestershire sauce, 1 oz/ 30 ml.

Kecap manis or balsamic syrup, a few drops (optional).

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.
Pastry brush.
Standard home oven.
Sheet pan/cookie sheet, lined with parchment.
Infrared thermometer (optional).


Level of difficulty: 2

Serves 3

Because of the unique characteristics of sous vide, the whole rack can be processed whole or divided into smaller pieces. After packaging, the sous vide processing utilizes the same time/temp parameters.

If you want to use self sealing bags (Ziploc freezer bags) for this, it is easy to remove the air from the bag using the water displacement method.


Stage the baby back ribs into dedicated vacuum bags. Seal and sous vide process @
135 F/57 C for 16-24 hours.

Let sous vide timing work for you!

Sous vide has a number of unique characteristics. The rate of collagen conversion in the sous vide range of temperatures is very gradual. The difference in texture and appearance between baby back ribs processed for 16 hours and baby back ribs processed for 24 hours (at this temperature) is negligible, if detectable at all. This means you have much more temporal freedom than when using conventional cooking methods.

When the time has elapsed, remove the pouch(es) from the bath and submerge in iced tap water until the package achieves 70 F/21 C. This usually takes about a half an hour and is important for food safety compliance. Do not attempt to accomplish this in the refrigerator or freezer, because it will put other foods at risk by raising the ambient temperature. After cooling, refrigerate the package(s) over night or until they achieve 40 F/4 C.

Dip the entire bag in hot tap water to melt the surrounding gel. Remove the processed rack from the bag, save the juices in a microwaveable container, and lay the rack on parchment or butcher paper. Pat dry with a clean towel or paper towel.

Beat the egg whites with a fork and use the pastry brush to paint the top surface of the ribs. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and parsley.

Preheat your oven to 500 F/260 C. Put the ribs in the oven and reduce heat to 350 F/176 C. This assures an aggressive sear on the surface of the ribs. Roast for a minimum of one hour or until they achieve the desired appearance–the internal temperature should be at least 140 F/60 C.

Allow to cool on a sanitary cutting board for 5-10 minutes.

Process the reserved juices in a microwave oven (or in a small pan) until they begin to boil–the result will be a clear liquid populated with what appears to be gray scrambled egg whites (albumins). Put a moistened coffee filter or paper towel in a strainer and pour the liquid through. Discard the solids and combine the clarified liquid  with the honey, Frank’s/Durkee’s RedHot sauce, butter and Worcestershire sauce in another microwaveable container. Heat for one minute in the microwave or until the butter is melted, stir well. Pour into three serving cups and drizzle with the syrup (optional).

Arrange the ribs on the plates as shown below (or however you like!).





Excluding the ever present garlic, paprika and other colorful, powerful herbs and spices typically associated with this dish gives the meat the opportunity to display its fresh and vibrant natural flavor. A dipping sauce that provides sweet/sour notes with an umami kick allows the diner to control his experience bite by bite.

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