People feel very strongly about ribs… to put it mildly. Barbeque is a religion in some states. And yet I’m still going to boldly claim that these are the very best ribs you will ever make yourself at home, all thanks to the magic of sous vide cooking.
The secret is slow-cooking the ribs until they’re perfectly tender all the way through, then searing them over a blazing fire to caramelize the dry rub and create the perfect crusty bark! This is incredibly easy to do so long as you can plan ahead – specifically two days ahead. 36 hours in the sous vide water bath followed by 12 hours drying in the fridge feels like forever, but the most perfect ribs are definitely worth it.
I served these ribs for the first time at our Fourth of July party, which quickly went from a handful of old friends to dozens of new friends filling our yard. Believe me, I was more than a little nervous trying a new recipe out on so many people, but I built up the campfire and started laying racks over the flames.
And then the most magical thing happened when I set out the first rack of ribs: everyone crowded around, grabbed a rib, and went completely quiet. As I cut up another rack, and another, and another, they disappeared as soon as they hit the table. The three flavors of barbecue sauce I set out weren’t even touched because these ribs are that good on their own.
Feeding lots of friends food that they love? Most definitely what makes me happiest.
If you’re able to prep ahead of time, this is the most amazing camping food! Sous vide & season at home, then lay over the campfire and you’ve got dinner in just a few minutes. The smoky flavor is simply unbeatable.
I use a standard cooler for my sous vide water bath, although people have also built amazing dedicated sous vide coolers. The hot water will evaporate quickly so it helps to cover the open cooler with foil or float several dozen ping-pong balls to cover the surface of the water. A wire baking rack fits perfectly in my cooler, so it’s the perfect tool to keep the bags from floating; just set the ribs on the bottom, cover with the rack, and set a rock on top. (Not everything has to be high-tech.)
These are such a family favorite now that I snap up a couple racks whenever ribs are on sale, and I’ve had repeated requests from friends for another campfire rib party – I hope you love these as much as we do!
P.S. – Not affiliated with Anova in any way, just a major fan of their excellent equipment! Highly recommended if you’re thinking about joining the sous vide party.
The secret to the very best ribs? Sous vide! Perfectly tender all the way through & seared over a blazing fire to create the perfect crusty bark.
- 2 racks of ribs
- 1/2 cup your favorite dry rub or recipe below
- 2 T. garlic powder
- 2 T. onion powder
- 1 T. chili powder
- 1 T. paprika
- 1 T. cumin
- 1 T. salt
Fill the large container with water and attach sous vide to the side, submerged all the way to the 'max' water line.
Seal ribs in freezer or vacuum bags in a single layer. If using freezer bags, use the water displacement method to remove air.
Set sous vide to 145°F/63°C for 36 hours. Submerge ribs in the water bath and weigh them down so they won't float.
Check occasionally to top off water level as needed and make sure bags are still sealed.
Ribs are fully cooked! Remove from the water bath and drain cooking liquid from bags. Scrape off any rendered fat and pat ribs dry.
Season ribs generously with dry rub on both sides, using about 2/3 of your seasoning. Set ribs on a baking sheet and cover loosely with foil.
Refrigerate ribs for at least 12 hours to chill & let surface dry.
Fire up the grill on high or make a roaring campfire with large cooking rack! Oil the grill/rack well to prevent sticking.
Rub ribs with remaining seasoning and set over the heat. The meat is already fully cooked, so it only needs a few minutes on each side to form a crusty bark.
Remove from heat, cut into sections, and eat right away!