Longer than 72 hours for bone-in short ribs. Risky?

Hey, all. I’ve got a big old slab of delicious short ribs cooking away at 131 / 55. They went in, frozen and naked, a couple of days ago and they’re due to be done 72 hours later at around noon tomorrow.

I’d like to serve 'em up tomorrow evening, but is there a risk in prolonging the cook for five or six hours - both in terms of texture and our old friend, Mr Botulism?

I’m not doing anything clever after they come out - just season and torch (they’re too big for the cast iron!), But ideas welcome!

Nope, you have the temp at 131, so you’re out of the danger zone. :slight_smile:

I really don’t see another 5-6 hours making that big a difference in a 72 hour cook…

It does make me think - I wonder if anyone’s spritzed meat with brandy and set it on fire to get that sear. :smiley:
Maybe a brandy and sugar paste. Heh…or Jack Daniels…they are ribs after all.
Worth an experiment sometime, but maybe not for such a large piece. :slight_smile:

Edit: You know, that does surprise me that no-one’s tried to do this yet (just did a search for Flambe - nadda). Definitely something I’m going to need to try! :slight_smile:


Great reply and I live the idea of flambée, too!

Here’s a follow-up question, because talking about potential killer food is fun! Even though cooking for 72 over 129 is going to kill any bacteria, it’s not going to denature any toxin produced in a fairy anaerobic environment while in the danger zone - is that right? So, is there still the potential that the end product is free from bacteria but full of death-juice?

I’m pretending to be cool and glib but, secretly, I don’t want to kill my kid. I know, I’m soppy like that. Don’t tell anyone.

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Actually, you’ve long since pasteurized your meat…and then some. Pretty much any pathogens will be eliminated to near zero by such a long cook. Did a little more digging. Botulism is pretty rare actually. You would have to have the short ribs previously stored in an air-tight environment at higher temperatures that promoted their growth before your cook.

This excerpt from https://www.fsai.ie/faqs/botulism.html#botulism6

Does cooking kill Cl. botulinum and its toxin?
Normal thorough cooking (pasteurisation: 70°C 2min or equivalent) will kill Cl.botulinum bacteria but not its spores. To kill the spores of Cl.botulinum a sterilisation process equivalent to 121°C for 3 min is required. The botulinum toxin itself is inactivated (denatured) rapidly at temperatures greater than 80°C .

I can’t imagine an environment you would have stored the meat in that would have created the “perfect storm” for botulism growth. :slight_smile: And while you’re cooking at a lower temperature (131F/55C) the pasteurization times are still the times to eliminate all such pathogens (but NOT the Botulism spores).

If you haven’t read his stuff yet, I highly recommend you get familiar with Douglas Baldwin. Incredibly deep knowledge of all things sous vide:

By his pasteurization chart, guessing your short rib’s going to be pathogen free about 7 hours in.

I like the explanation given here about botulism spore growth:

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Yeah, I’ve read all that and more, but no one’s actually covered the issue of toxin being produced in the early stages of the cook, while it’s passing through the danger zone. Because you need to get super-hot to denature the toxin (which would destroy the protein and make things inedible), I guess there’s a worry that, while everything is totally pasteurised, there’s still a toxic risk.

A rabbit hole I probably shouldn’t be going down!

I think it’s simply that there aren’t enough toxins produced in that period, while the meat is passing though the danger zone to cause any level of concern.

(this is also why they tell you if you’re cooking below 130F, that you should limit your cook to less than 2 1/2 hours). In actuality though, I think the “tipping point” is 126F.

Back to the Short Ribs. How did they turn out? I have had them at 48 and 73 hours and both were great.

Well, 12 hours after DEVOURING them, I’m alive and well. My god, they were amazing. Soft as anything but with a smooth steak-like texture. Easiest thing in the world to sear to a real crunch without affecting the inside - 650 degree cast iron pan with smoking groundnut oil plus blowtorch). Quick improvised homemade BBQ sauce (deglaze searing pain with merlot, tomato puree, water, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, liquid smoke) and it really was better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant. Do it!


@snarklife If you don’t have a Searzall Torch Attachment, you should look into it! It might be the only thing that could have complimented those ribs!