The name short ribs is an apt name for this rib cut since it is taken from the short plate along the lower ventral area, just about where St. Louis ribs are also cut. Short ribs may be sold as a rack, individual ribs or chopped up into smaller pieces known as riblets.
For this rib cut, 1 to 2 inches of meat can be found right on top of the bone. The meat is usually mixed with fat as well as muscles and tendon. On top of the meat is usually a thin layer of fat that adds flavor and moisture during cooking. Due to the composition of this cut, they tend to be tough and require long cooking hours in order to tenderize it. Short ribs are best cooked through braising and roasting.
Aside from the traditional cooking methods, short ribs may also be cooked using the less traditional sous vide method. This process works by using lower than usual cooking temperatures and much longer cooking hours. The heat provided is set at the ideal internal temperature reached once the meat is done cooking.
By keeping the ribs in this temperature longer than usual the fat, tendons and muscles are able to breakdown making it tender. Cooked in a vacuum pack, the moisture and juices from the meat become trapped inside, preventing the meat from drying. In the end the short ribs become thoroughly cooked without being overdone. A big advantage of this technique is that it also allows the short ribs to be cooked medium rare, which is not always possible for traditional methods.
To cook medium rare short ribs, these are held at a temperature of 131° F or 55° C for 2 to 3 days. Medium done short ribs require a temperature of 140° F or 60° C for 2 to 3 days also. Traditional well-done short ribs are held at 160° F or 71.1° C for 1 to 2 days. Sous vide ribs may be used for classic BBQ dishes, stews, soups and many more.
I'm a huge fan of Michael Ruhlman and an even bigger fan of pastrami so when he recently posted about making short rib pastrami it inspired me to follow suit. Of course, I had to make sous vide pastrami instead of braising it.
These sous vide short ribs are very simple to make and come out with an incredible meaty flavor and a texture more similar to a prime rib than to braised short ribs.
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