Ross, if you are keen enough to have made a smoker you likely also have developed your personal favourite barbecue process. You don't define quality, but surely you know what it is. Are you now prepared to abandon it for some other cook's technique? Are you sure you need a change? And why wouldn't you describe your expected outcome? Some guidance from you would be useful if you are serious about SV instead of considering it a passing fad as so many appear to. Sorry, the cat gets cranky when folks expect a lot and give so little.
I don't believe there's any better barbecue than the extraordinary results you get from combining SV with the smoker and grill. I like to call it Sousvi-cue. It's a particularly superior method for safely serving ribs to a crowd because i can SV cook-chill them far in advance and relatively quickly give them a smokey finish just before service.
There are far too many regional barbecue variables for Community members to guess at the set you employ and the outcome you enjoy according to your real estate, or not. For example:
- Brined, or not. Dry or wet? And for how long? It matters for timing, texture and resulting amount of piggy flavour.
- Your Rub, with salt or without. What about sugars? Or no rub. It makes a difference in the bark, smokiness, moisture content and texture of your end product. How about mayo? Let's have some details, Ross.
- Smoke intensity. Why have you decided to use your smoker first, before SV? High stove top temperature source, or low? You realize the 2 hours of smoking is also going to be par-cooking the ribs while developing a crisp crust depending on how you control your smoker's cavity temperature. You are going to have less smoke flavour and no crust after the SV cook.
- Liquids added when you vacuum pack your ribs will dilute the flavour you just developed and increase cooking time. Can you describe the flavour you're aiming for?
- You identified 150ᴼF as your temperature of choice and that's close to mine too. I'd start with 24 hours, maybe up to 30 for extra thick racks. If you know barbecue well you will be able to identify the point of exact doneness by touch anyway, and with SV you have a lot of timing leeway. Remember you have already partially cooked them, so start checking early. That will result in a tender and juicy set of ribs.
- If you are a member of the fallin'-off-the-bone barbecue club, 36 hours will get you pretty close. As you go longer you're getting closer to piggy-mush. Keep checking.
- If you have decided to add liquids while you SV cook, i'll defer to others of the Community for amounts and time. I've not done it and never will.
- If you brine, which you may, or not. We don't know. Consider making a Beer Brine or Apple Cider Brine to get the kind of flavour profile you are aiming for. I find it creates wet ribs with reduced flavour.
- How do you usually finish your ribs on the grill? Wet or dry? And with what? More Rub? Sauce or no sauce? What do you enjoy? Above all, i'd avoid finishing on too high a heat. A Medium-Low setting, about 225ᴼF is usually hot enough. The ribs are already fully cooked. Some gas grills can deliver food-punishing heat levels. There's a significant difference between a pleasant bark or tasty glaze and charred ugly.
With Souvi-que I prefer to start by applying my rub, bagging and sealing, SV cooking and either ice bath chilling or finishing right out of the bag.
I apply more rub to the wet ribs and finish with a combination of indirect smoking and grilling to finish with a few chunks of hardwood for a about a half-hour for a just-enough smoky kiss. I find a 30-minute post cook smoking may be just about flavour-equal to a full 2 hour precook smoking. A very light dusting of rub just as you serve is a special enhancement guests appreciate.
Please let your Community know how you decide to do them and your results. I hope they will be better than you expect, maybe even last meal worthy..