Sous Vide & Grilled Short Ribs With Vidalia Onion Butter Sauce

short-ribs-1I’m speechless, I really am.  It isn’t often I’m at a complete loss of words. I’m calling this “writer’s block,” no I think this is more of a case of “eater’s block.  The meal I ate last night has left me wondering how to explain just how amazingly wonderful this meal was.  For those who love food as much as I do you know what I’m talking about.  It’s that feeling you have when you sit down to a meal in a restaurant and pop that first bite, into your mouth, from a much anticipated meal and its so good you just smile and sigh.

short-ribs-4That was what it was like at my dinner table last night.

Over the past couple of years, on shows like Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, I have been interested in cooking sous vide but have never had the means to get the necessary equipment to give it a try.  That changed recently when I was asked to take part in a BBQ blogger challenge by Sous Vide Supreme.

The challenge consists of combining the use of a Sous Vide Supreme “water oven” and a normal outdoor cooking technique. I’ve already tried the water oven a couple of times and thought the process was pretty darn good. This is my entry for the Sous Vide Supreme BBQ Bloggers Challenge.  When the contest goes live on the Sous Vide Supreme website and their Facebook page I hope you’ll vote for me.

The step in the cooking process was seasoning a rack of plate short ribs with Plowboy’s Bovine Bold.  I wasn’t sure how 72 hours in the water oven would affect the flavor so I only used a light coating.  As it turns out I could have used a lot more of the seasoning without out concern. It was an amazing how much the flavor of the rub permeated the meat, certainly more than just rubbing the meat normally does.

short-ribs-5Because of the long time the meat spent in the water I double bagged the short ribs.  I could have just used one bag because the bag help up to the long soak, but I just didn’t want to run the risk of taking a look in the water oven and find a soaking wet piece of beef.  The vacuüm sealer that comes with the Sous Vide Supreme water oven works great and seals very well so double bagging may not be an issue.  Depending on the cut of meat I’ll decide if two bags is worth the risk.

The short ribs were kept in the water oven for 72 hours at 139 degrees. I thought the anticipation of a 15 hour pork butt smoke was great, but it doesn’t compare to what I felt walking past the Sous Vide Supreme on my kitchen counter for 3 days.  It was the longest three days of my cooking “career.”

Since I wasn’t going to finish/grill the short ribs for a couple of days I stuck them in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.  After coming out of the water the meat looked, through the plastic bag, to be cooked and felt rare.  At 139 degrees there was no fear of the meat getting over done, just more tender as the fibers in the meat are broken down.  At least, at first glance, it appeared to have worked.

short-ribs-3Next up was a little experimentation with Vidalia Onions.  I knew I wanted a caramelized onions to go with the short ribs so I figured I’d try a little sous vide first.  I filled a quart mason jar with two sliced and chopped Vidalia Onions, butter and big heaping spoonful of Terrapin Ridge Farms Passion Fruit and Jalapeno Jelly.  The sealed jar was placed in the water oven for 12 hours at 165 degrees. What was a jar crammed full of onions turn into barely half a jar of cooked onion sweetness. Two thirds of the onions were caramelized for the top of the ribs and the rest became Vidalia Onion Butter Sauce I glazed the ribs with.

The sweetness of the Vidalia Onions along with the sweetness of the jelly made the caramelization of the onions that much easier. I did add a little more Passion Fruit Jalapeno Jelly.  Again I wasn’t sure how hot the jelly would make the onions so I went a little light while in the sous vide.  If you’re going to give sous vide a try I recommend a little experimenting until you understand how flavors are affected by cooking in the water oven.


Sous Vide & Grilled Short Ribs With Vidalia Onion Butter Sauce
Recipe Type: Main
Short Ribs
  • 1 rack of beef plate short ribs (4 bones)
  • ¼ cup BBQ rub, I used Plowboy's Bovine Bold
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Sous Vide Vidalia Onions
  • 2 Vidalia Onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Terrapin Ridge Farms Jalapeno and Passion Fruit Jelly
  • 4 tablespoons butter
Vidalia Onion Butter Sauce
  • ⅓ cup sous vide Vidalia Onions
  • 1 tablespoon Terrapin Ridge Farms Jalapeno and Passion Fruit Jelly
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ rub
  • Liquid from sous vide onions
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Caramelized Onions
  • ⅔ cups sous vide onions
  • Olive Oil
Short Ribs
  1. Pre-heat Sous Vide Supreme water oven to 139 degrees
  2. Season short ribs with BBQ rub, salt and pepper.
  3. Seal short ribs in vacuum bags.
  4. Place in rack and submerge in water oven. When water has reached 139 degrees start timer.
  5. Sous vide for 72 hours.
  6. When 72 hours has passed submerge bagged ribs in ice water to stop cooking process. Refrigerate,in vacuum sealed bag, until ready to grill.
  7. To grill short ribs start by removing ribs from refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature.
  8. Pre-heat grill for high indirect heat.
  9. Sear short ribs on hot side of the grill for 5 minutes on each side. Move ribs to cooler side of grill and glaze with Vidalia Onion Butter Sauce. Cook until ribs are hot throughout.
Sous Vide Vidalia Onions
  1. Place slide onions in a quart mason jar, add butter and jelly.
  2. Seal jar with lid, only finger tight.
  3. Place in water oven and fill with water only to the top of the onions in the jar. Leave the lid out of the water.
  4. Heat oven to 165 degrees and cook for 12 hours.
Vidalia Onion Butter Sauce
  1. In a sauce pan heat all the liquid from the sous vide onions and ⅓ of the sous vide onions until boiling. Reduce heat, add BBQ rub and jelly.
  2. With a immersion blender puree the onion mixture until smooth.
  3. Simmer sauce until thick, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Caramelized Onions
  1. Pre-heat cast iron skillet.
  2. Cook onions on hot skillet with a little olive oil until they are nice and golden brown.


10 Comments on Sous Vide & Grilled Short Ribs With Vidalia Onion Butter Sauce

  1. Dang, wish I was there for this one….
    Sounds so good…

  2. Nicely done, sir!

  3. Your winning recipes should use ingredients that most people can buy. Not bizarre, totally local, impossible-to-find stuff like Plowboy’s Bovine Bold and Terrapin Ridge Farms Jalapeno and Passion Fruit Jelly! What were you thinking? One per cent of your readers will bother to track down this stuff. It’s the very definition of a bad cookbook to employ crazy ingredients.

    • BBQGrail // July 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm //

      Dear Tikki,

      First, thank you for taking the time to drop me a line.

      Second, if you were to actually read the recipe, it’s the big red box at the bottom of the post, you’ll notice it calls for “BBQ Rub.” I do state that I used Plowboy’s Bovine Bold. But the recipe clearly states “BBQ Rub.” As for Plowboy’s Bovine Bold being local, I’m sure it is local if you’re in Missouri, but I live in Northern California so it’s not so local. I purchased my shaker of Plowboy’s right here in little Rocklin, California at a local BBQ store. It’s also available at retail outlets, including Bass Pro Shops. So, it’s not bizarre nor totally local or impossible to find. You just have to actually look for it.

      Third, I will admit the Terrapin Ridge Farms Passion Fruit Jalapeno Jelly is from Florida, oh wait that’s not local to Northern California either, and is pretty much only available through mail order. I guess you’re suggesting that people who cook and write about it not use any of the fabulous ingredients that are only available through mail order. That wouldn’t be much fun.

      I did receive emails from three, polite and considerate, people who simply asked me about substitutions. One of the pleasures I get from cooking and writing about it is interacting with people who has enough cooking chops to realize that just about any peppered fruit jelly would work just fine in this recipe. It’s these readers that make it all worth it.

      Have a great day!


  4. Melissa // July 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm //

    Crazy Yummy! Congratulations on your well deserved win. You should also win a prize for the lovely and compassionate response to Tikki.

  5. Looks great and sounds like it tastes amazing. What is the other side you chose to serve with your short ribs and carrots? I too liked your response to Tikki. Thanks

  6. 72 hours is such a loooong time! Like Denice, I would like to know what that side dish is on the plate with the ribs & glazed carrots… Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

    • BBQGrail // July 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm //


      It is a long time. But at such a low temp it takes that much time to break down the collagen and fibers in the meat.

      Well, since I’m getting so many requests I’ll have to publish the recipe.

      Basically, they are mashed sweet potatoes rolled into balls and then rolled in panko bread crumbs and baked. They were tasty but I wish I had fried them.

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