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What I Ate: March 21, 2010 (Mighty Fine Burger, Sous Vide Short Ribs)

Posted 21 March, 2010 at 9:08pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

Dinner: Yesterday, I started cooking the short ribs for tonight's dinner. I vacuum sealed the short ribs with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and brown sugar. Then I placed the pack into a rice cooker filled with water being held at 56°C (133°F) and let it cook. The short ribs are pasteurized if held for at least 2.5 hours after the interior of the meat reaches equilibrium temperature. Since I wanted to convert as much of the collagen into gelatin as possible, I held it there for about 24 hours. (More time would be even better - but after 24 hours, most of the collagen has denatured.)
Sous Vide Short Ribs

After I removed the short ribs from the water bath, I seared them on the grill while basting with the juices from the vacuum bag. I've had a fair amount of food prepared sous vide at restaurants, but never short ribs. This was also the first time where we've had short ribs medium-rare (because when cooking short ribs it's best to use a cooking process that will convert collagen to gelatin which typically results in a fairly high internal temperature). (Of course, we've had thinly sliced short ribs cooked medium-rare in Korean BBQ, but nothing involving relatively large pieces of meat.) The result is some of the most flavorful and tender (falling apart in the mouth tenderness) beef we've ever had. I don't think I'm ever going to braise short ribs again when I can sous vide them.
Sous Vide Short Ribs

I also grilled a mystery fish fillet I found in the freezer (who knows how long that's been in there). I made a maple-soy glaze, but the fish had a strong flavor that I didn't like. We ended up not eating it (especially since the short ribs were so good).
Soy-Maple Glazed Mystery Fish

I also grilled broccoli which gave it a nice pronounced flavor, but resulted in a relatively crunchy texture (more like raw texture than cooked). Next time, I'll try steaming/microwaving them briefly before grilling.
Grilled Broccoli

Along with the proteins and vegetable, I served seasoned rice and sweet potatoes.
Sous Vide Short Ribs, Seasoned Rice, Grilled Broccoli, and Mystery Fish
Baked Sweet Potato

Lunch: I forgot my cameras and ended up having to take a picture of my Jr. Cheeseburger with Bacon and Grilled Jalapenos and Fries at Mighty Fine Burgers. For some reason, my phone camera defaulted to a ridiculously small picture size instead of it's full 2MP capability.
Mighty Fine - Bacon Jr. Cheeseburger with Grilled Jalapenos

4 comments to What I Ate: March 21, 2010 (Mighty Fine Burger, Sous Vide Short Ribs)

Nate @ House of Annie, March 21st, 2010 at 10:19 pm:

  • what rice cooker are you using that can hold a specified temperature for 24 hours?

Michael Chu, March 21st, 2010 at 11:00 pm:

  • Oh, forgot to mention the controller module that is modulating the power to the rice cooker. I tried to order one from Thermoworks (the maker of the Thermapen) but they don't have a controller that can supply the current needed for running a rice cooker. I ended up buying an Auber instruments temperature controller and plugging in a $25 Black & Decker rice cooker into it.

Paul, March 22nd, 2010 at 10:38 am:

  • Michael,

    Have you used a rice cooker before for sous vide? That's a great idea for the home cook considering the price of commercial equipment. Does the lack of circulation hinder your cooks at all?


Michael Chu, March 22nd, 2010 at 10:48 am:

  • I've been tinkering with it. So far, I haven't experienced any problems with using the rice cooker - but I've only done eggs, fish, and the short ribs. It seems that in such a small area, there's not really a temperature gradient through the water without a circulator. Supposedly, in larger rice cookers, the bottom heating element and round shape of the cooker facilitates natural circulation, but I have not verified this.