Sous Vide & Grill Finished BBQ Ribs

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tender juicy ribs

These tender and juicy ribs are slow cooked to the perfect temperture and then slathered in a tangy homemade BBQ sauce before being finished off on the grill.

Honestly, this is by far my favorite way to make ribs. The results are always incredibly juicy and fall off the bone delicious. And you can’t go wrong with a barbecue sauce as yummy as this one is.

What the heck is SOUS VIDE?

“Sous vide” is a French term for cooking “under vacuum” – but this fancy and exotic term basically just means slow cooking in a water bath. The French perfected it, so they got to name it.

You may have seen variations on sous vide before – if you’ve ever submerged a baggie of meat into a boiling pot of water, you were technically sous vide-ing!

There are a few special tools you’ll to properly do the sous vide method of cooking. The first being a vacuum sealer (affiliate link); and the second, an immersion circulator (affiliate link).

The links above are the products that I personally use and can vouch for. While this certainly isn’t a sponsored post for Anova, their products are far superior for sous vide than others I have tried. The vacuum sealer itself is a game changer not only for sous vide, but our food storage has been revolutionized by a vacuum sealer that actually does a fantastic job.

But hey, hit me up Anova – I’d love to work with you.

The sous vide method of cooking involves putting meat (or a variety of other ingridients) into a vacuum baggie, sucking the air out, and then placing that baggie into a pot of water where the temperature is regulated by an immersion circulator to get the perfect temperature. This method of cooking is usually how people do a “reverse sear” on steaks, for example. The meat is cooked from the middle out instead of the outside in – perserving texture and flavor.

Prep Yo’ Ribs

The first thing you’ll need to do is prep those babyback ribs!

  1. Peel off the ‘silver backing’ of the ribs – If you buy your ribs direct from a butcher or ask the meat counter for them, they are usually more than happy to remove this backing for you! It should come off in a long, satisfying sheet. Removing this will take away the ‘chewiness’ of ribs that are made with the sheet intact (no bueno!).
  2. Cut into managable portions – Ribs are usually sold in a full rack, meaning anywhere from 10-20 ribs might be stuck together. I like to cut mine into racks of five or six ribs together.
  3. Give ’em the dry rub pat down – Since we are sous vide-ing our ribs, I am going to season mine with a dry rub for their initial cooking phase. Really rub it in to every nook and cranny. The dry rub will become infused into the meat as the ribs cook.

The flavor of these ribs comes from a powerful combo of dry rub and barbecue sauce for a one-two punch to take your tastebuds to heaven.

For the Dry Rub:

These ingredients make for a killer dry rub – for pretty much any meat!

  • brown sugar – for added sweetness
  • onion & garlic powder – add savory notes
  • dried thyme & oregano – to add depth to flavors
  • smoked paprika – to really double down on that ‘hot off the smoking grill’ flavor
  • chili powder – to punch up the heat!
  • Chinese five spice – an unexpected ingredient that helps boost savory flavor with underlying notes of cinnamon and spice
  • salt & pepper – of course, essential seasonings to assist the rest of the ingredients shine!

For the Barbecue Sauce:

A tangy homemade BBQ sauce made completely from scratch!

  • jalapeno ketchup – you can also use sriracha ketchup or similar spicy ketchup
  • honey – to cut the heat with sweet!
  • apple cider vinegar – essential to bringing out the twang
  • brown mustard – another layer of deeper, spicy heat
  • worcerstershire – umami is the name of the game with this ingredient
  • liquid smoke – another essential ingredient to really play up the smokey notes
  • juices from sous vide bags – these usually discarded liquids make for a great base and help the BBQ sauce to thicken as it cooks

Sous Vide & Finish the Ribs

First, we need to sous vide the ribs. This method of cooking will bring the ribs to the perfect finished temp of 145 F – and then hold it there indefinitely. I sous vide my ribs for approximately two hours while I prepped the BBQ sauce and the grill for side dishes.

In order to get that fall off the bone texture, you really need to render down the fat. This will make the meat detach from the bone. In order to achieve this, you must let the meat hit temps in the 190-200 F range. I found the best way to do this is to put a meat thermometer with a live read (affiliate link) in the ribs – the thermometer must stay in the ribs while they cook to get a perfect read, which is where an actual meat thermometer with a cable to the feed comes in super handy. You don’t want to overcook the ribs after you spent all that time sous vide-ing them!

Finish the ribs on the grill by slathering them with barbecue sauce and then slowly raising the temp, while adding more and more BBQ sauce as you go until a thick, sticky layer covers the top of every rib. When the BBQ sauce is bubbling and the thermometer reaches about 200 F, your ribs will be ready.

Just prior to serving, be sure to rest the ribs for about ten minutes to really lock in the juices. The juiciness of the ribs can only be achieved by cooking sous vide first!

I served mine with a grilled baked potato and Memphis style slaw – I can’t wait for it to officially be summer.


tender juicy ribs

Sous Vide & Grill Finished BBQ Ribs

The Starving Chef
Babyback pork ribs are slow cooked by sous vide first then finished off on the grill for the juiciest ribs you'll ever taste.
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Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Course Grill, Sous Vide, Summer
Cuisine Backyard Cooking, Sous Vide
Servings 6


  • 48 oz (3 lb) baby back pork ribs lining removed



  • ½ cup jalapeno ketchup or spicy ketchup of choice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 cup reserved juiced from sous vide bags


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the dry rub ingredients. Prep the pork by removing the lining along the backside. Cut the rack in half or thirds so you have individual portions of 4-6 ribs connected. Rub the dry rub all over, get in all the cracks. Rest at room temperature for one hour or chill overnight (bring to room temp prior to the next steps).
  • While the ribs rest, combine all of the ingredients for the barbecue sauce (except sous vide liquids) in a small sauce pot over medium high heat. When the liquid reaches a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low. Stir occasionally and allow the sauce to thicken as it cooks. After about 30 minutes of simmering, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally while the ribs sous vide.
  • Prep the immersion circulator by putting it into a large pot or heat safe plastic bin. Turn the het to 145 F and start the circulator. Place the ribs into individual vacuum baggies. Use the vacuum sealer to suck out the air and seal the bags. When the water temperature reaches 145 F, add the bags to the pot and cook for at least two hours. Continue to stir the BBQ sauce as the ribs cook.
  • Prep the grill while the ribs sous vide. Heat to about 400 F. Remove the ribs from the sous vide baggies. Reserve any liquid in the baggies and pour about one cup of the liquid into the BBQ sauce. Stir in the liquids until a smooth sauce comes together. Continue to heat over medium low heat for an additional 10 minutes until the sauce thickens again. Rest the ribs while the sauce thickens.
  • Brush 3-4 tablespoons of the BBQ sauce over the top of the ribs. Insert a meat themometer into the thickest part of the biggest ribs. NOTE: The thermometer should have a cable that connects to a live read screen. DO NOT leave a regular meat thermometer inserted while cooking.
  • Place the ribs onto the grill and close the grill. Brush with the BBQ sauce every 5-10 minutes, until there is no more sauce. The sauce should start to bubble on the ribs as they finish cooking. Don't press the brush on too hard or you will remove the previous layer of sauce.
  • When the thermometer reads 200 F, the ribs will be ready. This can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes or more, depending on the actual temperature of the grill and it's ability to retain heat. Keep an eye on the thermometer and remove as soon as the ribs hit 200 F.
  • Rest the ribs for 10 minutes after removing from the grill to set the sauce on top fully and lock in the juices. Serve with grilled veggies or potatoes and homemade cole slaw. Enjoy!
Keyword BBQ, grill, pork, ribs, sous vide
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