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Real BBQ beef short ribs. A lazy summer afternoon to meaty smoky ribs!

Updated on January 19, 2012

substantial meaty BBQ beef ribs

BBQ ribs…the other kind.

Now I'm not going to say that these are as good as good old smoky barbecued pork ribs, but low and slow BBQ'd beef ribs (short ribs) are pretty good, and a great change of pace.

The principals of cooking beef ribs are the same as for cooking pork ribs, although the process will take a bit longer. BBQ beef ribs are a richer version of a Texas brisket, smoky, meaty and fall of the bone good…if done correctly!

The secret, as with all BBQ, is patience, and you will need to start these in the very early afternoon if you plan on having them for dinner. It's a great excuse to stay home, laze about, tend the cue occasionally, and generally really enjoy a lazy weekend afternoon; and those smoky beefy aromas will certainly help to build an appetite.

Beef ribs are kind of schizophrenic on price, and you'll see them near the prime rib end some times, and down near the stewing beef end at other times. I don’t know why, but if you ever see one of those great 99 cent a pound beef rib specials, you'll know just what to do with them.

Tips and Tricks to Great Beef Ribs

  • Most beef ribs are sold with the silver skin already removed. The silver skin is the inedible plasticky feeling membrane that is attached to the back of the rib bones. This silver skin can't be chewed, and will stop the smoke and any rub flavorings from penetrating the meat; it needs to go. Just peel it off with a knife at the corner, and then use your fingers to (hopefully) peel the whole thing off in one go.
  • If the ribs have a thick layer of fat on the exterior, you should trim this off. This exterior fat doesn’t contribute much, and it is the interior marbling fat that is really going to tenderize, baste and flavor the meat.
  • To rub or not to rub is always a contentious issue in the world of BBQ, and it comes done to your personal preference. I like the straight taste of smoky beef, and so just rub with salt and a little freshly cracked pepper, but that's up to you. For best results, rub the night before you plan to cook the beef ribs.
  • Soak your wood chips for at least half an hour before smoking, and preheat the grill (or preferably smoker) to 250 degrees. You need to keep the smoker at 250-275 degrees for best results. It takes a while, but it is the only way to get those succulent fall off the bone beef ribs.
  • Get the wood chips smoking well, and add the ribs to the cue. If using a conventional backyard grill, keep the heat on low on one side, and off on the other, and try to keep your ribs as far from the heat as possible. If using a smoker, you need not worry about this. Keep the lid closed at all times, until you need to occasionally replenish with more wood chips for smoke.

That's about all there is to it. The ribs will take about 6 hours to cook, and are done when the meat is falling off the bone tender.

You can finish this off with a favorite BBQ sauce over a high heat grill, for about ten minutes if you wish, or serve it with the sauce on the side, at the table, like any self respecting beef brisket joint would do.

A little bit of Texas beef BBQ.

A serious set up!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love some beef ribs

    • jdavis88 profile image

      Joseph Davis 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Great hub. Beef ribs are truly overlooked by too many smoking enthusiasts. Well cooked with the right prep and they are excellent.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      7 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Have you found a sweet and spicey sauce like a Vietnamese style bbq sauce that works well on beef ribs?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Well if you boil ribs you can also add seasonings to make it more flavorful and tender and some say it makes it lose flavor this could be an answer just put in some spices :P that's all

    • WillStarr profile image


      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You can speed up the process a little by smoking the ribs open for an hour and then wrapping them up tight in aluminum foil to steam in their own juices for about three hours.

      Great Hub!

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      8 years ago

      Hi Patrick,

      Thanks very much for letting me know - happy BBQ'n!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the info. Shortribs were awesome from my electric smoker tonight!!!

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      9 years ago

      Hi Harry,

      You can boil the ribs until tender, and that is a way to achieve tenderness, but boiled ribs will always mean a slightly less flavorful cue. With the amount of fat and colagen in a short rib, all you need to do to get that same tendeness on the BBQ is keep the heat nice and low, and have the patience to cook them nice and long!

      Have fun,


    • profile image

      Harry McGee 

      11 years ago

      Can you boil beef short ribs until tender and then cook them on the grill? I have been told never boil the ribs before cooking. Tks


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