Sous vide, Sunday dinner
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Sous Vide 48 Hour Baby Back Ribs

Sous Vide 48 Hour Baby Back Ribs |

Sous Vide 48 Hour Baby Back Ribs

This recipe is modernist cooking as witchcraft. It turns the familiar – baby back ribs – into something completely different.

Baby back ribs are shreddable, fatty, and a little dry, right?

What if we take advantage of the precise cooking temperatures available sous vide, and cook the ribs to medium (141°F) for two days? We get baby back ribs that look and cut like pork chops, with a hint of pink in the middle, and firm meat that slices instead of shredding. But the ribs are also fall off the bone tender. If you’re looking for something new in your cooking, give 48 hour baby back ribs a try.

When I cook sous vide for long times – 24 hours or more – two strange things can happen. (And, just to confuse me more, they don’t happen all the time.)

  1. The vacuum bag puffs up, and I get “floater ribs”. Gas must be escaping from the ribs, inflating the vacuum sealed bag. I turn the rack from my SousVide Supreme sideways so it holds the bags underwater for multi-day cooks.
  2. The ribs come out of the bag olive-green. (This isn’t just pork – my long cooking beef recipes have a similar color). This color doesn’t seem to affect the taste, but it doesn’t look great. I sear the ribs, then coat them in barbecue sauce, to make sure the odd color doesn’t scare the kids off.

I’ve Googled around, and dug into a few sous vide specific websites, and I can’t find an explanation for either of these. If you know the science behind these phenomena, can you explain in the comments, below? Thank you.

Sous Vide 48 Hour Baby Back Ribs |

Vacuum sealing the ribs

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Sous Vide 48 Hour Baby Back Ribs

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 48 hours
  • Total Time: 48 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 slab of ribs 1x


Sous Vide 48 Hour Baby Back Ribs – you want low and slow ribs? We’ve got low (141°F) and slow (48 hours) ribs. Meltingly tender ribs after two days in the sous vide.


  • 1 rack baby back ribs, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or 2 teaspoons homemade BBQ rub)
  • Barbecue sauce (Store bought or homemade)


  1. Sous vide the ribs: On the bone side of the ribs, work a butter knife between the membrane and the bone, then grab with a paper towel and pull the membrane off of the ribs. (If it tears while you’re pulling, work the knife under the remaining pieces and pull them off as well.) Sprinkle the ribs with the salt and pepper (or BBQ rub). Put the ribs in a single layer in a large (gallon/3.8 liter) vacuum bag and seal. Put the ribs in a sous vide water bath set to 141°F/60.5°C, and cook for 48 hours (at least 24 hours, at most 96 hours).
  2. Sauce and sear the ribs: Cut open the vacuum bag and remove the ribs, discarding the liquid in the bag. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels then brush with a layer of barbecue sauce. Put the ribs on a baking sheet, bone side down. Turn the broiler on your oven to high, then put the ribs under the broiler until the sauce tightens up and starts to brown, anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes depending on your broiler. Serve as half slabs, or slice between each rib to serve as individual ribs.


  •  Sous Vide unit (I used a SousVide Supreme), Gallon vacuum bags (3.8 liter) and vacuum sealer
  • A whole rack of ribs won’t fit in my gallon bags, so I cut the racks in half. There are 13 ribs in a rack, so cut between the 6th and 7th bone.
  • For multi-day sous vide cooking, make sure your sous vide unit is covered – I use plastic wrap if I’m desparate – and check on the water levels occasionally. Once, too much water evaporated, and my sous vide was not completely submerged. (The design of the SousVide Supreme units is great for long cooking – they don’t lose water to evaporation – but a sous vide tank with a custom cut lid for immersion circulators works almost as well.)
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Sous Vide
  • Cuisine: American
Sous Vide 48 Hour Baby Back Ribs |

Done – with that distinct 48 hour, melt in your mouth sous vide texture.

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Sous Vide 6 Hour Baby Back Ribs (Coming Soon)
Sous Vide Pork Shoulder Steaks with Purple Cabbage Slaw
Grill Smoked Baby Back Ribs (Grilling Basics)
My list of Sous Vide Recipes


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Filed under: Sous vide, Sunday dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Mike,

    Made this several times and it has never failed. 48 hours.

    Used an Alton Brown bbq dry rub before vacuum sealing two pouches. Dropped each in boiling water for 30 seconds to kill bacteria per a previous post. Then followed your recipe and wow, once again!

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. JJ van Zyl says

    Kill the lacto bacillus on the surface of the ribs. After bagging put the bag into boiling water for 30 seconds. This solves the issue

    • Peter C says

      For most meaty meats like ribs and steaks that I plan to cook 24 hours or more I start my bath at 190oF, drop in the bags, then turn down the unit to the desired temp. After 30 seconds I may add a few ice cubes if it doesn’t go down fast enough. The point is to kill surface bacteria which can give you odd color or smell, and may make your bag puff up.

  3. Cindy brown says

    When I make these ribs I cut them in serving sizes like 4 ribs per vacuum bags makes so much easier to handle when serving a big crowd and than keep them warm in a crock pot

  4. DJ Ides says

    Tried this with Iberico pork ribs and it was absolutely incredible!!! No issues with gas inflating the bag, but I was using frozen ribs which had been thawed in the fridge for 24 hours, which may have eliminated bacteria. Thanks for the awesome technique! The BBQ dry rub was essential for this as well!

  5. John O says

    Mike, I notice you say to cook the ribs: “in a sous vide water bath set to 141°F/60.5°C, and cook for 48 hours (or at most 36 hours).”
    Are you suggesting that they cook for at least 36 hours (and ideally 48 hours)?

    Thank you

  6. bryan says

    Dave Arnold @ cooking issues has spoken to the gas issues in his podcast, w/in the last 6 months, I believe. Sorry – don’t recall specific episode. However, worth checking out as I cannot recall if it were a bacterial danger or not. Great blog, thx for your efforts.

    • Thanks! I listen to Dave Arnold’s podcast, but not every episode – I must have missed that one. I’ll see if I can find it.

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