Ribs mistake

So I’ve done a set of ribs before and they were great. I bought some more on Saturday to prep for the end of the month, cause they are a 4 hour prep… Unfortunately I noticed they are side ribs, not back ribs. Has anyone experimented or used side ribs and what were the results

Honestly, they work equally as well in my opinion. I’ve made my ribs with both. Both turned out phenomenally!! :slight_smile:

I made no difference to my prep - and still cooked them the same amount of time.

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Thanks… I’m not a huge ribs person, but the back ribs I did came out amazing. We have a large family event at the end of the month & I wanted to show off how well sousvide works. I’ve been hearing stories on both sides of what side ribs are actually like. We will give it a shot & i’m pretty sure i’ll still be impressed with them. I appreciate the feedback!


Your purchase of side ribs might actually be a good mistake (to show off what the APC/SV cooking really can do). First, some background on ribs:
The back ribs are so named because they are cut high on the back. The side ribs are just that, cut from the sides around and down from the back. They may also be called spare ribs or St Louis style ribs (depends on if the rib tips are trimmed or not).
The back ribs are the most tender, and easiest to get good results on a grill. The side ribs are not as tender, and harder to get good results on the grill. (As a result, back ribs are generally more expensive than side ribs.)
This is where the APC shines. You should get similar results with side ribs as with back ribs if you cook long, low and slow (as you described). That’s the wonder of SV: Great results with less expensive cuts!
Also, a rib prep tip: be sure to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs before you cook (not sure if you do this). It will make the ribs much better/easier to eat.

Heh…one warning - if you do remove the “silver skin” - you may just have a few bones left in your sous vide bags. :slight_smile: They are, quite literally, fall off the bone tender. :slight_smile:

I did try to remove the membrane… it’s a bitch to do…
On the first set I did, which were actually back ribs, i fought for a good hour trying to peel it off, only to find out that Costco actually peels them on the back ribs before packaging… I don’t believe they do it with the side ribs… I took off what I could before getting frustrated… lol


So how do you season your ribs? And do you smoke them at all, or just go with a sear before eating? ( I want to do some experimenting with ribs and I’d love ideas!)

I use Kenji’s recipe off the Anova site. This is my second go at them, first ones were amazing, fall off the bone. Prep time is pretty accurate at 4hrs, & I do the 36 hour cook. I use liquid smoke (shhh, don’t tell anyone). This should be the link to it.

And now, looking at it again, I see he says St.Louis style ribs, which I believe is someone else said was another word for side ribs… if i read that earlier comment right…
I finish them off on the bbq with the homemade bbq sauce which is delish, but super messy. I also found that the recipe was way more than needed (in my first try anyways, this second shot will have more ribs, so it may work out well)

Regarding the membrane,:
I haven’t done ribs in the APC (strictly a grilling guy for ribs), so I didn’t think about “fall off the bone tender”. But I see how you will get that w/ SV. :slight_smile: I’m curious to know how the ribs come out w/ SV if you don’t remove the membrane. It makes a big difference on the grill.

For future reference, here’s a tip to remove the membrane:
Get a butter knife or similar. Work it gently under the membrane and separate from the rib (maybe a 1/2" or so). Repeat at 2 or 3 ribs. Once you get it started, you should be able to gently pull the membrane away in a long, slow, controlled pull. It’s not hard once you get a feel for it.

There’s a nice overview about back ribs vs St Louis style (spare ribs) ribs here:

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I guess my issue is I don’t know if it’s membrane or fat… The first time I tried I think I was pulling fat… It just kept breaking into small pieces and then I found out Costco removes it on back ribs. This time I tried, since they are side ribs, and it kinda looked the same. I did get a small film off, but it was kinda clear. I did try the butter knife trick both times. (found a YouTube video the first time)…
I’ll be sure to update at the end of the month when I actually cook them.

Hi @lilmikey.ab Maybe this video showing removal of the membrane from baby backs will help - you can see that the membrane is that “clear” stuff! Hope this helps!

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Easiest way to remove “silverskin” is to pierce it with a butterknife and loosen abouut a 2" section from the rack. Then grab with a paper towel (IMPORTANT! Hands won’t do it! skin is too slippery) and pull quickly down the rack. If you’re lucky it will all come off in 1 or 2 pieces. You’ll get the same satisfaction as you would if you pulled the full hunk of leg meat out of a snow crab in one shot. :grin:

Also, my family finds the st louis cut “spare ribs” vastly preferable to the overpriced back ribs.

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Need an eye dropper for your liquid smoke. :slight_smile: I put about 4 drops of liquid smoke in each bag (that’s a half rack). I do a rib rub that they marinade in over night (ideally 24 hours in the fridge), then apply the spritz I would normally apply when smoking them on the BBQ. Then a few drops of smoke and into the sous vide at 145F for 36 hours.

If you want my recipes for the rib rub and spritz, they’re part of my rib recipe.
I have them up on a public share: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1aiQMn6XWsbF4U51wsuX7tNuscxcZmrbx?usp=sharing

There’s both an export in Paprika Recipe Manager format as well as an html export. :slight_smile: Enjoy!!!

That’s pretty much what I did (tried) & also used the butter knife technique… It was not succesful on the back ribs I did a few months ago, cause Costco had already removed it… with the side ribs, I did get some off, but it was no where as easy as this video showed… Thanks for sharing the video though, greatly appreciated

The squeeze bottle for liquid smoke that I bought seems to work well… it’s never been too much … though I did forget to do it on a couple of ribs before I sealed them… we’ll see if anyone can tell the difference… Thanks for the share of the recipe… I shared the recipe I used above, it was great for the back ribs… we’ll see how it works on a different group of people & side ribs.

While I’m a huge sous vide fan, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to ribs. I’m curious to know how ribs cooked for 36 hours with some liquid smoke thrown in compare to actual smoked ribs (6 hours+ coated with a Memphis-style dry rub). There certainly is appeal for the SV method as it can be done all year round. But is sacrificing the smoke ring worth the effort? I guess I’ll have to find out on my own…

Good idea Nestor, - that’s how most competent cooks learn to maximize their results, by experimenting.

One of the greatest challenges in cooking is defining quality for yourself. Generally, it is what you say it is. It seems most folks don’t want to do the work to discover what’s best. You likely aren’t one of them.

Please share with our Community if you do a comparison test cook.

I’ve settled on a lightly applied rub a day ahead, then a 2 hour hickory smoke, then SV for about 24 hours, dried and more rub, then finished on the grill. Suits me just fine.

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The liquid smoke does impart some nice flavour, but it (at least the liquid smoke I have) doesn’t compare to actually smoking the ribs with hickory & mesquite like I would when I had access to a full BBQ. Being an apartment dweller with a balcony, I have very limited options.

(heh…that’s changing…but to what is yet TBD) :slight_smile:

Silverskin tip…use a paring knife to “pry” a corner up…once enough to grab with 2 fingers use a paper towel to grip it and pul across the ribs (not straight up). Adjust your grip to close to the ribs as you pull so you have the most leverage. Should peel off in 1 or 2 pulls.

All in all, they turned out amazing. A few pieces had some cartilage but I was expecting that. They turned out just as good as the back ribs had, and everyone loved them. Thanks for all the advice/comments