1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Sous vide Prime Rib, it's what was for Thanksgiving

Discussion in 'Beef' started by un4gvn1, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. This is a write-up I posted over in the BBQ (etc) section on Jeepforum of a cook I did for Thanksgiving last year. I did another for Christmas for the other side of the family. Both were very well received.

    I've simply copy-n-pasted the post and repaired one image link. Sorry if this is any sort of violation... but here goes nothing. :cool:

    I've been playing around with my Anova Sous vide immersion unit for about a year now. Before that I spent most of a year with a DIY digital controller & crock pot to figure out if Sous vide was for me, it is.

    I think all that was leading to this cook. I've been known to "explore limits" in various aspects of my life over the years, so this shouldn't have come as a total surprise to anyone who knows me.

    It started out like this. Nineteen pounds of boneless Rib Roast. This was Tuesday night. Seasoning was coarse sea salt, Garlic Lover's Garlic http://www.spiceman.com/catalog/small-spice-blends/garlic-lovers-garlic (great blend if you can find it), and black pepper.



    The cooking setup was a fairly large ice chest, sourced at St. Vinnie's for the princely sum of $7.99. A 2 3/8" hole was cut in one of the drink recesses (cup holder) in the lid to allow the immersion unit to reach the interior. This immersion unit is probably only good for three or four gallons in a non-insulated container, in the ice chest it took a few hours to bring the water to cooking temp, but didn't vary even a little bit once there.


    Wednesday evening, once the water was up to temp (133.5*) the roast was put in the water. I used a turkey brining bag simply because it is large enough for the roast.


    Eighteen hours later...


    It doesn't really look it, but it's been done (could have been served) for over 13 hours. This is one of the really awesome things about Sous vide for something like a family gathering. I was able to let the people present determine what time to serve, while with a conventional cooking method the meat decides what is the correct time. With the conventional cook, you pull it at ~122* or so, and let it rest for a half hour, allowing the center of the roast to reach 133*-134* (for medium-rare).

    With the Sous vide, the entire roast is brought to the finish temp, then held there until it's convenient to brown & carve. This also has the secondary effect of leaving the oven available for other dishes until the very end. While the "buffet line" is getting set up, I'm turning the oven up to 500*.

    It looks a little like a boiled rag at this point.


    After ten minutes in a 500* oven, this is the result.


    And, the money shot.


    Notice the total lack of grey, overcooked meat. This is truly medium-rare from one edge to the other. A couple of folks preferred their meat slightly more done, so a few minutes in a hot pot of Ah Jus and their meat was ruined to their specific taste.

    I'll admit there were some skeptics in the crowd. "You're cooking a prime rib in an ice chest?" seemed to be a common theme. The long cook time seemed to be troubling to a few of the folks also.

    The verdict was unanimous, rave reviews were heard all 'round. Even a few "best prime rib ever" comments. High praise indeed.

    If there is a simpler way to cook a world-class prime, I have yet to discover it.

    I'm already thinking about browning glazes for future cooks. Something heavy with garlic (and maybe soy & pancake syrup...) >:)
  2. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That is one good looking PR!
    Very nicely done & congrats on making the carousel!!!
  3. Thanks Al, I hope I haven't "peaked early". :D
  4. Winterrider

    Winterrider Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    That looks awesome, I bet it was a hit.
    Congrats !
    May be in the cards for this Holiday Season.
  5. THAT'S JUST FREAKING GREAT. ANOTHER KITCHEN APPLIANCE TO BUY AND STORE! Seriously that looks really good. I have not researched the various devices yet. What made you pick the Anova?
  6. xray

    xray Master of the Pit

    Wow that looks great! Guess I know where I’m spending the holidays!!

    I thought about using a cooler for my SV instead of a cambro for bigger cooks. Does it really take a few hours to get the water to temp?
  7. Winterrider

    Winterrider Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I concur with the Anova on a recommendation of a friend. It's a great tool to have in your kitchen. Plan out meals ahead of time and avoid a big hassle. Excellent for warming foods as not to over cook them.
    Not an absolute necessity, but I would recommend a vac sealer also if not already the proud owner of one. Gives a little security to your sous vide cooks.
  8. Winterrider

    Winterrider Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Use hot tap water, mine is set at 117 degrees. You get that jump on it. Heating depends on how big of container used. Boil pan of water quickens things up if using large.
    Robert Rich likes this.
  9. The Anova came recommended by a "foodie" friend. It's one of the original immersion units and has a solid reputation.

    As far a storage goes, it's only a little larger than a rolling pin, so it really doesn't take much room. :cool:
  10. As we had only an outside hose bib to fill the ice chest from, yeah, it took hours to go from ~55* to 134*
  11. I agree the vacuum sealer is preferable for most cooks, but I don't own one large enough for this hunk-o-cow, so the turkey brining bag was a good alternative. It was large enough, tough, and food-safe. I kept the zipper out of the water to reduce the potential of leakage at the zipper.
  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I found I get better results with Prime Rib in my Smoker @ 220° Smoking Temp, but Yours looks Great !!
    I save my SV for the Tougher Meats.
    Nice Job Though!
    Like. (Well Deserved!)

  13. Some parameters for this cook were as follows:

    1) Portability. As the family gathering was at a home about 125 miles from our house, this was important. The second one (Christmas) was 40 miles from home, so almost local.

    2) "Bullet Proof" results. We have a family member who ruins a Prime every Christmas as his "gift to the family". He fancies himself a chef, but every Prime he's ever cooked has been overcooked. (medium well to well). I'd been practicing on smaller roasts and was confident this wouldn't happen with this technique.

    3) Flexible serving time. As this family seems to thrive on chaos, I couldn't count on a target serve time. SV gives a much wider window for target doneness.

    4) I wanted to achieve "proof of concept" of taking the SV "full scale". Mostly, I just wanted to do something different, and had heard good things from others who had done this.

    If I were to do a Prime here at home, the smoker would probably be my first choice, but the SV made everything so damn easy and almost impossible to screw up, I'd give it a close second.
  14. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Excellent Points!!
    I like #2 best, but That overcooked problem is that chef's fault, not the instrument used for the cook.
    I only do mine at home, so I don't have the problems you have solved with using the SV.
    You indeed did a Fantastic Job on yours!!!

    Below is what mine look like after about 220° of Smoking Temp, until I pulled them.
    I experimented with finished ITs of from 135° to 144°, but we settled on 142°:

    All Smoked with 220° Smoking Temp:
    Prime Rib Calendar (14 Smoked Prime Ribs)

  15. You've officially achieved "meat porn" with that slide show, I stand in awe!

  16. nanuk

    nanuk Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I am really liking the direction my learning is going.

    that roast looks awesome.

    One thing about SV is you can dial in a temp that YOU like. if you like it just a hair more done, then you can do that.

    One restaurant here has excellent Prime Rib, and for the next couple days, they have a Prime Rib sammich, where they take a SLAB of prime rib and grill it just enough to sear it and warm it through.

    I like it both ways.

    my wife wants NO Pink Juices in her beef... So I would have to learn to like it just about medium.

    BUT I agree with Bearcarver.... cheaper cuts done this way I am thinking is the way to go for day to day SV.
    You can server a $15/lb style product from a $3/lb cut!

  17. We had a few folks like your wife in the crowd (no pink). Sad really, but some folks "just ain't quite right" lol

    To accommodate all tastes, we had a skillet w/ au jus at a low simmer. Slip a slice of perfect meat in the skillet for a few minutes... presto-change-o, medium well. Or you can just toss it on a hot grill or skillet for a minute or two.

    Bottom line, you can make a piece of meat "done'er" so suit, but once it's overcooked, no power in the universe can bring it back.
    nanuk likes this.
  18. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yet Some will try:
    Many Years ago, I took the Wife & Son to a Steak House "Rustler".
    WE all made our order, and my Med/Rare Steak took longer than their Mediums did. I wondered why??
    When I finally got mine, I made my "Signature" cut part-way into it, like I often do, and found it to be Med/Well.
    So I called the waiter over & showed him, and told him "I ordered Med/Rare".
    He took it back to the cooking area for awhile, and before long he came back with a Steak.
    It looked familiar, so I flipped it over & sure enough there was the cut I made in that steak the last time he brought it to me.
    So I immediately picked it up & knocked on the door that said "Manager".
    I showed him my Steak, and told him, I could see if my Steak was too Rare, you could cook it a little more to make it Med/rare, but Tell me how you would expect to change a Med/Well Steak into a Med/Rare Steak.

    He took it over to the guy making steaks, and I could hear the conversation:
    Manager: "Why did you take this Man's steak that was too well done, and send it back to him again with his test cut in it?"
    Cook: "I didn't, that was a different steak, and I made that test cut".
    Manager: "What did you do with his first steak?", as he was looking in the trash can.
    Cook: "I took it out & threw it in the Dumpster".
    Bear: "Are we supposed to believe he hand carried a single Steak out the back door to the Dumpster?"
    Manager: While rolling his eyes, said to me, "You want Med/rare, I'll make it for you personally".

    He did, it was perfect---Wife & Son were done eating by the time I began to eat, but I still enjoyed it.

    End of Story,

    un4gvn1 likes this.
  19. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    First of all, Welcome Un4gvn! I say that from all the way across town!

    Like you, I have been a DIY controller and crock pot kind of guy, but never convinced myself I needed an Annova to take the next step. I've done them SV'd. But they just turn out so perfect in the smoker with "that" kind of flavor, nothing else will do.

    Yup... We are definitely ruined. Can't ever get a steak or PR at a restaurant anymore that we are satisfied with. 99.9% of the time its a disappointment.
  20. I have in-laws ask when we're at some outdoor festival deciding what to eat "Why don't you try that BBQ vendor?"

    My answer is always the same, tired of paying for sub-par food. I'm always ready to be pleasantly surprised, but it happens so rarely...