Barbecue in a CVap® Oven – Smoking & Holding

barbecue platter

CVap® ovens are well-known for their versatility and precision. These qualities make them particularly well-suited for barbecue operations. Barbecue is the realm of low and slow cooking. And nothing does low and slow better than CVap.

We wanted to test the most popular proteins for most BBQ joints, pork ribs, beef brisket, and chicken. First, we needed the perfect rub.

The Seasoning Blend

Prepare the seasoning blend and set it aside.

The Proteins

  • Pork Back Ribs – 3 to 4 Lbs.
  • Whole Chickens – 3 Lbs.
  • Whole Brisket – 17 Lbs.

The Barbecue Process

Pork Back Ribs – RTV5-14UV with the Winston Smoker Box

Cook Time approximately 5 hours
Cook Vapor 190°F / Air 220°F

Hold Infinite
Hold Vapor 135°F / Air 145°F

Holding ribs for an extended time in CVap ovens is beneficial to food quality. The long, slow heat dissolves the connective tissue within the meat. For pull-off-the-bone tenderness, we recommend a five-hour hold. To get fall-off-the-bone tender, extend the hold to six hours.


It’s important to remember that the cooking time depends on the size of the product and the orientation of the product in the pan. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Get similar-sized ribs for a similar time cook. We used 2.75-3.25 Lbs.
  • If you get larger or smaller ribs, just adjust the time accordingly:
    • Increase time for larger ribs; >3.5 Lbs. +.
    • Decrease time for smaller ribs; <2.5 Lbs.
  • Increase time if preparing more than 5-6 ribs
    • Increasing the thermal load increases the time it takes to reach the desired temperature and texture.
  • If you shingle the ribs to get more per shelf, you’ll need to increase the cooking time.
  1. Remove back ribs from packaging.

  2. Score backside (bone side) with a paring knife.

  3. Liberally season both sides of each rib. Allow the seasoned ribs to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. Place ribs onto a rack in the preheated oven. Keep placement in a single layer, bone-side down.

**Chef’s Tips – We recommend placing a foil-lined sheet pan on the bottom shelf, just above the smoker. This will catch the product’s drippings and make cleanup easier.

Engaging Barbecue with the Winston Smoker Box

  1. Plug the timer into the wall and ensure the smoker box is connected to the timer. We like to use mixed wood pellets as the smoke medium. However, sawdust or smaller chips (no bigger than a fingernail) can be used.

  2. Adjust the timer to start the heating element, and add your smoke medium onto the heating element inside the smoker box.

  3. Place the smoker box on a sheet pan inside the oven on a bottom rack, just above the evaporator. The box takes about 15-20 minutes to preheat and start smoldering. We smoked the ribs for about 3-4 hours.

  4. Press ENTER once the product is placed inside, and the smoker is filled and in place.

Whole Brisket – RTV5-14UV with the Winston Smoker Kit

Cook Time – 9 Hours
Cook Vapor – 190°F / Air – 220°F

Hold – Infinite
Hold Vapor – 135°F / Air – 145°F

  1. Use the same barbecue seasoning blend as the pork ribs.
  2. Trim the brisket’s top and side fat, and between the point and flat.
  3. Season liberally on all sides, and in between the two muscles.
  4. Place brisket onto a rack in the preheated oven.
  5. Engage the Winston Smoker Box. We used mixed wood pellets for about 6 hours.

Whole Chicken – RTV5-14UV with the Winston Smoker Box

Cook Time – 3 Hours
Cook Vapor – 170°F / Air – 300°F

Use the same seasoning blend as the pork rib and brisket…yes, it’s that universal AND that good!

  1. Pat the chicken dry and season liberally on all sides, under the wings, legs, and inside the cavity.
  2. Place chickens on a rack in the preheated oven.
    Be careful not to crowd.
  3. Engage the Winston Smoker Box. We used mixed wood pellets for about two hours. Check internal temperature. As with any poultry, it’s important to cook to at least 165°F.

Bourbon Barrel Beef Short Ribs

Short Ribs - plated

Beef short ribs are, by definition, any section of beef ribs. After all, whole beef ribs are quite long. Consequently, it’s customary to cut them into smaller sections.

We chose two different short rib types; back ribs, and chuck ribs. Further, we used some of the fine products from our friends at Bourbon Barrel Foods to make Bourbon Barrel Beef Short Ribs.

Because we wanted to experiment with sous vide, we cooked some ribs sealed in bags, and others without bags.

The Marinade

Trim extraneous fat from the ribs. Naturally, you’ll notice that chuck ribs are much more substantial than back ribs. After all, they feature lots of nice marbling. In contrast, the short ribs, though smaller, are what many folks think of when considering ribs.

Place ribs in the pan, and pour prepared marinade over them. Next, turn ribs in sauce, coating all areas. Afterward, cover and refrigerate overnight.

The Settings

The Process

First, preheat the oven. Subsequently, allow about 45 minutes for the oven to fully preheat.

We divided the ribs in half, placing half in vacuum bags, and the rest directly on sheet pans. Just for kicks and grins, we also smoked a few ribs in our smoker box. (To see how the smoker box works, click here).

Finally, we pulled the ribs after about 4.5 hours.

If desired, ribs can be cooked at a lower temperature and longer time to create medium-rare, tender ribs. For example, here’s a great program from Chef Barry Yates:

  • 135°F Vapor Temp
  • 140°F Air Temp
  • Cook time: 18 hours
  • Convection: On
  • High Yield: Off

Critically, use caution removing ribs from the oven. Undoubtedly, the fat will have rendered out. Indeed, it will be hot and sloshing in the pan.

Finally, all the ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender. If using bags, decrease cook time by about an hour. In fact, the ribs were so tender that we could literally cut them with a plastic spoon. Additionally, the smell and flavor were outstanding.

More About Ribs

Want to read more about ribs? Check out our other ribs blogs!

Need more information on adding righteous ribs to your menu? Fill out our contact form, and we’ll be in touch!

Beef Short Ribs Recipe Recap

  • Soy Sauce – 5 Tbs
  • Worcestershire Sauce – 5 Tbs
  • Brown Sugar – 5 Tbs
  • Kosher Salt – 1 Tbs

Whisk marinade ingredients together. Next, trim extraneous fat from ribs. Then place ribs in the pan and pour prepared marinade over them. Turn ribs in sauce, coating all areas. Finally, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Program CVap Retherm Oven as follows:

  • 200°F Vapor Cook Temp
  • 250°F Air Cook Temp
  • Cook time: 5 hours
  • Convection: On
  • High Yield: Off
  • Hold Time: Infinite
  • 150°F Vapor Hold
  • 160°F Air Hold Temp

Preheat the oven. Next, allow 45 minutes to preheat. Immediately place ribs in the oven and start the cook cycle.

Check doneness around 4.5 hours. Indeed, ribs are done when at least 145°F and satisfactorily tender.

CVap Sous Vide Barbecue, Sort Of!

smoked bbq ribs
Removing Bagless

As the weather heats up, many folks begin daydreaming about barbecue. But not just any barbecue,…sous vide barbecue. May is National BBQ Month – an entire month focusing on the delicious ways we’ve discovered to make proteins their savory, smoky best.

Barbecue has been a frequent topic in our blogs, for a couple of reasons. First (obviously) is that barbecue is freakin’ delicious. But another huge reason is how perfect CVap® Staging technology is at bringing the lip-smacking best out of barbecued meats and veggies. I’m amazed (but not surprised) at just how many calls we get at Winston asking about how to prepare a barbecue in CVap. (For a quick, quirky video about CVap® Staging and sous vide, click here).

Sous Vide Barbecue or Smoked

CVap technology positively impacts your BBQ recipes in many ways. Cook amazingly tender briskets in a CVap Cook & Hold. Add a Winston Smoker Box to your CVap Holding Cabinet to smoke bodacious Boston butts in a CVap holding cabinet. You can even Sous-Vide-Que your ribs using the method outlined on the Amazing ribs website. In our most recent BBQ test, we prepared baby back ribs using two different methods of “sous vide” – bagged and bagless, simultaneously in the same unit, our new CVap RTV5-05 Retherm Oven.
Rubbed Ribs




  1. Remove membrane from ribs and rinse.
  2. Rub mustard on all sides of the ribs.
  3. Liberally sprinkle Memphis Dust on all sides of ribs.
  4. Weigh each slab of ribs.
ribs smoked precook bgy

Smoking and Sealing

First, smoke the ribs in preheated CVap Holding Cabinet to 170°F food temp and 170°F air with smoker box set for two hours. In this case, we used hickory chips.

Next, vacuum seal three slabs of ribs in a vacuum sealer, using high temp bags.

Then, allow ribs to rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of six hours.

  1. Preheat CVap RTV5-05UV to 190°F water temperature and 240°F air temperature.
  2. Place prepared ribs into oven and cook until ribs reach 203°F.
  3. Remove ribs and weigh for yield.
  4. If preferred, place on grill and crisp, then finish with another dusting of Memphis Dust.
 Weight InWeight OutYieldTime to End PointEnd Point
Vacuum Sealed3.607 kg3.207 kg88%2 hours, 23 mins203.1°F
Bagless3.087 kg2.657 kg86%3 hours, 10 mins201.7°F


  1. Ribs that were vacuum-sealed in the traditional sous vide style cooked more quickly and had a slightly higher yield.
  2. Both ribs were highly acceptable relative to taste, tenderness, and juiciness.
  3. Ribs cooked in the bag were slightly more tender; ribs cooked bagless were slightly more toothsome.
  4. The ribs cooked in the bag had a less-defined outer bark and more of a wet finish.
  5. Ribs cooked bagless in CVap had better bark and a more defined rub taste.
Soon, we plan to attempt to duplicate Amazing Ribs Sous vide Que. CVap® Staging is a revolutionary process that brings food to a precise temperature and keeps it there, for a quick finish on a grill, griddle, or fryer. Traditionally slow foods can be served in a flash. Think sous vide, but don’t think you have to use the bags if you don’t want. It’s your call!

CVap Smoked Ribs on a Green Egg

Ribs smoked on a Green Egg and finished in a CVap oven

Ribs on a Green Egg are fall off the bone, full of texture with every bite. Baby back or St. Louis Style? Dry rub? Sauced? Grilled, baked, boiled – don’t even go there! Everyone has an opinion on how they like their ribs. My favorite recipe involves a wood smoker and CVap® cooking. It’s a combination of techniques that I am proud to share.

I have tried making my own rub and tried store-bought. My go-to is Meathead Memphis Rub and it will make your ribs OUT OF THIS WORLD! I started using this dry rub a few years back and haven’t changed since.

Next, go with your favorite rib, I’m using St. Louis style. Trim excess fat and shiny membrane from the back. Using a paper towel to pull off the silver skin makes the job easier.

After that, generously cover with Meathead Memphis Rub.

Start your smoker!

I’m using a Big Green Egg. Light high-quality lump charcoal and bring the smoker to 225-250°F. For this recipe, I like a mix of hickory and applewood. Add whichever wood chunks you prefer and let’s get smokin!

Once smoke is billowing out, add the ribs. Cook for 2.2 hours on the smoker. Add wood chunks as necessary.

I have found that smoking ribs on a Green Egg for four hours can result in dry ribs. After smoking, I moved them to a CVap Cook and Hold Oven for the perfect balance of smoke, bite, and tenderness. Cook in the CVap oven for 1.5 – 2 hours at 180 degrees Food Temperature and +40 Food Texture (Browning). CVap has the ability to precisely finish cooking. You’ll have tender moist ribs, still with a little bite. YUM!

After CVap cooking, place the ribs on foil, top with a drizzle of local honey and a few tablespoons of butter. Put back on 350°F grill to heat through and to melt the butter and honey. Serve immediately. If you like sauce, sauce on the grill, flip, and sauce on another side.

If you want to serve the next day, after CVap, chill and reheat the next day following the above grill instructions.

We are here to please all smoked ribs lovers!

ribs smoking on a Big Green Egg

Smokerless Ribs in a CVap!

smokerless ribs

Clearly, barbecue is very hot right now! We follow two websites for great information about BBQ and food techniques. Undoubtedly, the best resource for BBQ is Amazing Ribs. Likewise, for technique (especially sous vide), it’s Chef Steps.

While browsing Chef Steps we found a method for “Apartment Ribs.” Basically, the ribs are salted, bagged, and cooked in an immersion circulator at 167°F for six hours for St. Louis style, or four hours for baby backs. Then they are blotted dry and painted with a mixture of molasses and liquid smoke before applying the rub. Ten minutes in a 450°F convection oven sets the bark and caramelizes the sugars. Finally, they are done! Sounds easy enough, right?

Smokerless Ribs – CVap Style

We wanted to duplicate the process using a CVap® oven. First, the ribs were placed on a rack on top of a sheet pan. Next, we covered the entire pan and meat with foil. Accordingly, this simulates the bagging needed in an immersion circulator. We set the CVap for Vapor Temperature 167°F / Air Temperature  167°F.  Lastly, the timer was set for six hours.

ribs in a pan
cut ribs

The CVap reverted to a 150°F Vapor / 150°F Air hold setting upon completion of the cook cycle. At that point, we blotted the ribs dry and painted them with the molasses/liquid smoke mixture. Lastly, we applied a generous dusting of Memphis Dust Rub (this is a REALLY good rub that we use on just about anything BBQ). After ten minutes in a 450°F convection oven, they turned out perfect.

People who have had ribs from my smoker said that these were more moist than usual! Likewise, they were perfectly cooked with a bit of resistance to the bite. “Fall off the bone” is overdone – and highly overrated in my opinion! Because if you don’t have to bite the meat off the bone, you will never win a competition. Naturally, the slow, precise cooking from CVap made the difference. Consequently, there was no moisture loss with this method!

Of course, if you really want to smoke in your CVap oven, add a Winston Smoker Box. It will give you results that rival the best BBQ pits.