How to make Sous Vide Honey Garlic Spare Ribs

Jan 8, 2020 | meat, Recipes

Good morning everyone! Today we are going to do something a little different. Just before Christmas, I bought myself some new tools for work and one of the things I got was a sous vide circulator. If you don’t know what that is, it’s okay. We’re going to get into it in a second. What’s important is that today, we are going to look at how to use it to make sous vide honey garlic spare ribs. Delicious! And yes, you can make these without the sous vide circulator.

Sous vide. What is it?

First and foremost what is sous vide? Literally, sous vide means “under vacuum” in French. However, the term has come to refer to a low heat cooking technique where food is vacuum-sealed, then submerged heated in water.

Sous vide circulator

The sous vide circulator is a tool for precisely controlling the temperature of the cooking water. The circulator is made up of two main parts. It has a heating element to control the temperature. And, it has a small water pump. The pump keeps the water moving very gently to make sure the temperature is consistent the whole way through.

Benefits of sous vide cooking

To be clear, food is vacuum-sealed in bags. Those bags are then submerged into very precisely heated water. They are then left to cook over a period of time. Essentially, it is a very modern and precise slow cooker.

There are a few benefits to this cooking technique. Number one, you have very precise control over the temperature. Imagine for a second that you are cooking a steak and you want it to be a perfect mid-rare (135°f). You set the temperature of the water to the exact temperature you want (130°F). Next, you vacuum seal the steak with thyme and garlic and put it in the water. That steak will never go above the temperature you set. You could leave it in there a week it won’t ever be well done.

As the steak cooks the connective tissue breaks down and the fat renders out. Essentially, the steak cooks in its own juices. After a few hours, the steak comes out of the water and taken out of the bag. It gets patted dry and seared in a very hot pan to get a nice brown crust on the outside. This searing is done very quickly so the temperature of the steak doesn’t rise too much. Then, you have a perfectly cooked, very flavourful, and tender steak.

The benefits are that none of the flavours of your food escape. Your food is never overcooked, it won’t dry out. And, you just kind set it and forget it.

Foods that can be cooked sous vide.

You can cook anything in this style. I mean anything. From stew to fruit and vegetables, to ribs, or pork shoulder (if you have a big enough bag), even fish and seafood.

Sous Vide Honey Garlic Spare Ribs

Now that we are all on the same page about what sous vide cooking is, let’s take a look at how to make sous vide honey garlic spare ribs. First up, the marinade.


To make the marinade for the ribs I combined 1/4 cup soy sauce (gluten-free tamari), 1/4 cup honey, 2 tbsp rice vinegar (you can use white vinegar), 2 tbsp sesame oil, the juice and zest from one navel orange, 4 chopped green onions, 8 chopped cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp Chinese 5 Spice, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp kosher salt.


The ribs I used are the really small cut spare ribs but you can use whatever you want. To prepare the ribs, I used a paper towel to pull the membrane off the underside. Then cut I cut the ribs between the bones to give myself a lot of little riblets. It was about 1.1 kg (2.5 lbs) in total.

Marinading the ribs

I added the ribs to the marinade, put them in a ziplock bag and let them sit in the fridge for two days. One day would have been fine but I got busy and didn’t have a chance to cook them one the first day.

Cooking the ribs

When it came time to cook the ribs, I took them out of the marinade, put them in a vacuum-sealed bag, sealed them and put them in the water heated to 167°F for 4 hours. I could have done this for a longer period of time on a lower heat, but I was hungry.

I also could have sealed the ribs with the marinade into the vacuum bag, but it could have gotten a bit messy. So, I opted to take them out of the marinade. They were very flavourful so I don’t feel like I lost anything.

Finishing the ribs

After 4 hours the ribs were just about done. They were tender and everything, one thing sous vide can’t do is brown, or add colour to foods. So, I heated the broiler on my oven, spread the ribs out on a sheet pan and broiled them for about eight minutes in total. This gave them a nice colour and a more complex flavour.

Sous Vide Honey Garlic Spare Ribs

A delicious honey garlic sous vide rib recipe
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Honey Garlic, Ribs, Sous Vide
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 1 kg spare ribs
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Orange, Juice and Zest
  • 4 ea Green Onions, diced
  • 8 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Chinese 5 Spice
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes Chilli Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • Marinate the ribs overnight
  • Set the sous vide to 167°F
  • Cook in the sous vide for four hours
  • Preheat the broiler of your oven
  • Remove the ribs from the sous vide bag, place on a sheet pan and broil until browned
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Honey Garlic Sauce

While the ribs were finishing in the oven I made a quick honey garlic sauce. I sauteed 4 cloves of garlic in 2 tsp of sesame oil. Next, I added in 2 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp rice vinegar, and 1 tsp of corn starch mixed with 1 tbsp of water. I boiled this for about 2 minutes then poured it over the ribs. Finally, I added sesame seeds and green onions as garnish.


I am still very new to sous vide cooking. Prior to the last few weeks, I’ve only used the technique once or twice. This despite it having been around for the last decade. I’m really looking forward to playing around some more and seeing what I can come up with.

If you don’t have a sous vide circulator you can still make these ribs. Put the ribs, marinade, and 1-2 cups of water in a pot bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and simmer the ribs until they are tender (about 1-2 hours). Take the ribs out of the cooking liquid and broil as described above.

Thank you for reading everyone and if you have any thoughts, questions, or comments I’d love to see them. Leave them in the comments section below.


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