Back underwater

I discovered the sous vide approach some time ago. The idea is simple: take vacuum packed pieces of food and place them in a temperature controlled water bath to ensure even cooking. It sounds almost foolproof, but in fact can be somewhat finicky. It’s key to find not only the right temperature, but the right cooking time. My first attempts at sous vide filet mignon were cooked at 130° F for 8 hours. The steaks appeared to be an even medium rare but, because of the extended cooking duration, had become mushy. Shortening the duration to 1 hour and adding a finishing sear led to some of the best steaks I have ever had.

I have tried a few other food sous vide, including eggs and salmon, but didn’t particularly like the results. So, aside from the occasional steak, my Sous Vide Magic went mostly unused.

When rain threatened to sabotage my Fourth of July barbecue ribs, I turned to the sous vide approach again, using this approach: a rack of Saint Louis ribs prepared with rub after removing the membrane and excess fat, cut into 3 sections, bagged, then cooked at 138 °F for 24 hours. I finished them off with a few minutes under the broiler. With one section, I the brushed the ribs in Kansas City barbecue sauce and gave it another quick broil.

The results were fantastic, and far superior to my attempt the week prior on the charcoal grill (likely because I had given the ribs inadequate time to tenderize fully). They were certainly much easier to prepare. The only thing missing was a bit of smokiness. I might try a bit of liquid smoke or smoked salt with the next attempt.

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