Rack of ribs some bags are ballooning

Hello, I am mid-cook of two racks of ribs. I separated the racks into for separate half racks and sealed them individually (using a vacuum sealer and food-saver bags). Two of the half racks have developed a significant amount of air in them. Not enough “ballooning” to create pressure in the bags but still more than what I consider normal, the other two half racks have not. My concern is that the meat in the bags with the air is bad. I’m certainly willing to toss them out as opposed to getting the family sick, but am wondering if the two bags without air are safe to eat. Thanks in advance for your assistance!

Are the two ballooning pieces from the same original rack or one each from one of the original racks?

What’s your temp and cook time? Check out this pasteurisation chart for beef; there is a good chance that you’ll kill whatever bacteria might have found their way into the bags.

Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much. I’ve had some occasional bloating of bags, too, and ate the meat with no ill effects. Sometimes, things bloat a little. Unless you really get bad ballooning, it’s probably fine. If in doubt, your nose will tell you.

Thanks for your insight! They really aren’t ballooning too much. They are from two different (pork rib) racks (and the other portions of those racks are not ballooning), and they are both from the thicker end of the rack. I’m cooking at 176F…

I’d pull the ballooning bags and give them a sniff test. If they smell ok then repackage and reseal.

As you’re halfway through the cook, I doubt very much that bacteria has caused the issue as the pasteurisation time will already be passed. It’s more likely autolysis.

I have also discovered that ribs can occasionally resist achieving sufficient vacuum, probably something to do with their irregular surface or my rushing and not massaging the package while sealing it. Don’t know for sure but it does happen, but rarely.

If you do experience a bubble or moderate ballooning tumble the bags during the cook to move the air pocket to a variety of locations to achieve even cooking. With significant air in the package during a long cook i’d repack and continue. Floating meat won’t cook evenly.

As always, during a repack practice impeccable sanitation. Consider keeping your cooking tongs and forks standing in a pot of simmering water to prevent inoculation of cooking or cooked meats.

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