Baby Back Ribs – Sous Vide


I typically don’t have 6 hours just before my guests arrive to cook ribs.

I was looking for a convenient way to do most of the work days or weeks in advance. What I discovered was a better way to cook ribs.

I always liked “fall off the bone” ribs but I have to admit, the meat was often a little mushy.

This method renders all the collagen without drying out the meat or making it mushy. This method results in a competition-style “tug off the bone” consistency.



  1. Mix the rub (minus the brown sugar)
    • You can add the sugar later to make a mopping sauce.
  2. Clean the bone slivers from the ribs and remove the membrane.
  3. Cut the rib slabs in half at the 6th or 7th rib.
  4. Coat the ribs in rub.
  5. Smoke the ribs at 225 degrees for 4.5 hours.
  6. Remove the ribs from the smoker.
  7. Lay the ribs together so the small bones lay against the middle of the other half-slab to help prevent the bones from poking through the bags. You may need to double bag some slabs to maintain vacuum.
  8. Seal the slabs.
  9. Sous vide the slabs at 165 degrees for 7-8 hours.
  10. Remove the slabs from the sous vide and finish, refrigerate, or freeze them.

Instructions Finishing:

  • Ribs can be finished immediately after sous vide, or you can freeze them or refrigerate them until you are ready to serve them.
  • Finishing just brings the ribs up to temperature, browns, and sauces them.
    • Adding the sauce is optional. I like them with and without the added sauce.

Making a mopping sauce:

  1. Remove the ribs from the bag and mix the juice from each bag/slab with about 1/4 cup of brown sugar. This makes a good mopping sauce for the finishing step.

Finishing in the oven:

  1. Thaw ribs overnight in the refrigerator (if frozen).
  2. If possible, ribs should be cooled or refrigerated before finishing.
  3. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and cook in the oven until browned and heated through (about 155 degrees in the center), basting with the mopping sauce every 5 minutes.

Finishing on the grill or in the smoker:

  1. If possible, ribs should be at refrigerator temperature before grilling or finishing on the smoker.
  2. Grill or smoke ribs at medium-high heat (300 degrees)
  3. Place the ribs directly on the rack and cook until browned and heated through (about 155 degrees in the center), basting with the mopping sauce every 5 minutes.
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