Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sous Vide -- cooking in water

I'm always interested in new ways to cook, and sous vide cooking I like because it gives me the ability to produce fairly precise results and to hold food for long periods without worry about overcooking. 

Sous vide refers to cooking foods in precisely temperature controlled water.  The basic tactic I use is to seal the food into plastic bags, with any sauce, marinade or spices that I want, and then put the bags into the unit at a given temperature.  It's basically a high-tech crockpot with better temperature controls. 

In the picture above you can see country style pork ribs sealed in bags, after being dry rubbed, and with a bit of white wine.  I'll put those ribs into the unit at 165 degrees to cook them, for 12 hours, and then finish them on a gas grill -- crisp them up and make them tasty. 

The white-wine sauce I'll drain out of the bags, make a reduction with, and then baste the ribs as they crisp with it.  The sweet sauce carmelizes on the ribs and is pretty tasty. 

My dry-rub recipe is constructed by weight -- I do that because salt and sugar is usually by volume, and the volume of salt and sugar varies.  A cup of powdered sugar is is not the same amount of sugar as a cup of granulated. 

My dry rub recipe is as follows - all measurements by weight: 

4 parts brown sugar
4 parts white sugar
2 parts salt
1 part spice (chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, etc)

With with this recipe you can make any amount of rub you need, just follow the proportions. 

Liberally coat the ribs with the dry rub and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours -- 12 or 24 is better. 

When you cook the ribs you can do one of two things:  souse vide, or standard.  I'll give the standard instructions first. 

Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil.  Add 1/2 white wine to each rib package, and cook at 400 degrees for 1 to 1.5 hours until fork-tender. 

Sous Vide:  Seal the ribs and wine, and cook for 8 to 12 hours at 165 degrees. 

Drain the liquid into a small sauce pot and reduce about 50% .  Brush ribs with the reduction, and put under a broiler or use a propane torch to carmelize them.  Or you can finish them on a grill for a nice, smoky flavor. 

Sous vide allows you to "hold" the ribs for a long time.  So if I have a dinner party, I might do a large batch of ribs, and they can hold at 165 for hours.  As they're needed, you pull them out, broil them for a minute or two and serve.  Perfect every time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might want to try doing them at 145F for more time, so that they dry out less.

I strongly preferred Mangalitsa belly at 145F to 180F.

At 180F, I lost a lot more fat. I couldn't see big differences in texture either way.