When I found grassfed short ribs at Whole Foods, I braised them along with pork belly in mustard, chicken stock, and herbs. That was a week to remember. So naturally I wanted to explore these marbled wonders further, and to me, there’s no better lens to examine a protein under than sous vide.
I bagged them with nothing at all for 40 hours at 142 and reserved the bag liquids. Then I seasoned with lemon pepper, seared them for 90 seconds per side, and plated over some leftover cauliflower puree with the separated, strained bag liquid drizzled on top.
The spectacle of eating short ribs cooked medium was wild. I mean, who has ever had a short rib that wasn’t braised or marinated and grilled to well done? Once the wow factor wore off though, what I was left with was, to be honest, ordinary. It was tender enough, and the fat was luscious, but it just wasn’t any more special than braised ribs.
I read recently that there may be a 6th taste sense that is described as “big, rich mouth-feel” and that it is created during long, slow braising. I don’t know if that’s legit, but I’d say that there’s definitely something that makes braised short ribs such a classic – at least something that makes up for the high heat of the technique.
My verdict on the sous vide version is that they’d make a bold statement on a restaurant menu, because medium, or medium rare short ribs really are uncommon, but I don’t think it’s worth 2-3 days. Try them once, impress some guests, and when you’re alone, braise away and get there in 3 hours instead of 40.