Grab ahold of the biggest and baddest bite in BBQ, the Smoked Beef Ribs. These massive dino ribs are rich, beefy, and incredibly juicy. Read along to learn my process and variations to help you nail this cook.
These tender smoked beef ribs are called many things, such as “brisket on a stick” or dino ribs. Big and meaty, there is no doubt that they have received so much attention. Each bite is super rich and tender, practically falling off of the bone.
Don’t forget to also check out our section Guides for BBQ to learn about more core recipes such as Smoked Country Style Ribs, Brisket Burnt Ends, Smoked Pork Steaks, Smoked Chicken Thighs, and even Smoked Beef Back Ribs.
Why This Recipe Works
- Incredibly juicy and rich. Protected by the bone, the smoked beef ribs stay moist during the cook ensuring that there are no dry bites. The fat content in beef short ribs ensures every bite is rich and full of beefy flavor.
- Easy-peasy to smoke. The meat might taste similar to a smoked brisket point, but these are way easier to cook. There is also less time on the smoker, and less time required to rest.
- Sponge for flavor. Season heavily with your choice of spices, and don’t forget to spritz liquids. Beef ribs soak it all in, giving you a lot of flexibility if you want more than the classic salt and pepper.
What are Beef Ribs?
It’s important to know what they are, so you can buy the correct ones. These big bbq beef ribs can easily be mistaken for the smaller, less meaty version commonly found in grocery stores.
Beef short ribs, also known as beef plate ribs, are a section of ribs from the lower part of the rib cage close to the belly. Typically they come in a “plate” of 3 very large bones with the meat attached on the top.
Grocery stores don’t generally have these sitting out, however, you can always ask at the in-store butcher counter if they have “untrimmed short ribs” and there’s a chance they will have a full plate for you. Most butchers should carry plates of beef short ribs.
Step 1: Prep and Seasoning
Trim the thin layer of fat or silverskin on the top of the beef ribs. Remove just enough carefully, to expose as much of the meat as possible.
There is a thick membrane underneath the bones. Do not bother trimming the membrane, which is mostly there to keep the bones in place. Very little meat exists down there, so you won’t be missing out.
Should I Use A Binder?
Using a binder is not necessary for beef ribs, as they have quite a bit of fat marbling. If you season the meat and allow it to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes while the smoker warms up, the surface will become moist and the rub will embed itself into the surface.
You can use a binder, however, which is an opportunity for more flavor. Mustard doesn’t impart much flavor at all, but a thin coat of hot sauce or Worcestershire works well and comes through in the end.
Purists will stick with a salt & pepper blend with BBQ beef ribs, but use what tastes good to you. Remember, the flavor is going to be very similar to smoked brisket.
Season the beef ribs generously on all sides. Allow the rub to sit for at least 30 minutes before adding the meat to the smoker. This gives the beef time to sweat, allowing the rub to properly set into the surface.
You can also season ahead of time, even up to overnight. This process is called dry-brining and can be done as long as you leave the beef uncovered on a wire rack on a baking sheet. Doing so will result in a crusty bark, which means more texture at the end.
Step 2: Smoking the Beef Ribs
Set your smoker to 275°F and place the beef ribs bone-side down in the smoker when ready.
A higher heat creates a juicier finished smoked beef rib, rendering out the fat and creating a nice crispier crust. The low and slow of 225°F is not commonly used with this cut, as the large bones and membrane on the bottom already protect the meat from drying out.
Allow the beef ribs to smoke for at least an hour before spritzing. This time gives the seasoning a chance to bake in, creating the foundation of the bark.
Spritz every hour, especially on the sides to keep them moist. Some folks will use just water, but this is an opportunity for flavor.
You can use beef broth, the standard apple cider vinegar for some tang, or black coffee for a darker finish as well.
Step 3: Wrap for the Finish (optional)
You do not need to wrap the smoked beef ribs, this is an optional step that will speed up the cook and gently braise the meat. I’ve found this is a helpful step to make sure they are extra tender.
Once the beef ribs hit 165-170°F, it’s time to wrap them tightly in butcher paper (the type used for BBQ). Spritz them one last time before wrapping them up.
Place them back on the smoker and keep cooking until they reach about 200-205°F. The meat should be probe tender. You can optionally increase the heat of the smoker to 300°F to speed up the process as well.
The best way to tell if the beef ribs are done is by feel. Temperature targets are just a guide, but a probing the meat will give you a lot more information. Use your temperature probe and stick it in the thickest parts of the smoked beef ribs. You should have very little resistance, and it should feel like you are sticking the probe into a jar of peanut butter. That will tell you the fat is rendered well, and the meat is nice and soft.
Step 4: Rest and Slice
Resting the smoked beef ribs is just as important as the cooking process. When they are ready, remove the beef ribs and allow them to rest, wrapped in butcher paper, for at least 30-45 minutes at room temperature.
The initial resting will prevent them from overcooking with the carry-over cooking temperatures. If you need to rest them for longer, you can put them in an oven at the lowest temperature, or use an insulated cooler.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should expect 7-8 hours, potentially a little more. This will depend on the meat and also if you choose to wrap it with butcher paper. Wrapping cuts the time down quite a bit.
Yes, but monitor their hydration. I do recommend individually wrapping each one with butcher paper when they do hit the 165°F temperature range to ensure they come out tender.
Beef short ribs have a high-fat content, and don’t really need additional liquid to help them tenderize when wrapping. Some people choose to add melted beef tallow, but they are quite rich already and I’ve found it doesn’t add a benefit.
More Smoked Beef Recipes to Love
- Smoked Chuck Roast, Poor Man’s Brisket
- Parmesan-Crusted Steak
- Smoked Pastrami Steak
- Juicy Smoked Burgers
- Smoked Beef Back Ribs
- Trim the thin layer of silverskin or fat from the top of the beef ribs, to expose the meat. Season all sides of the meat generously, and allow the beef to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- Preheat the smoker to 275°F.
- Place the beef ribs in the smoker, bone-side down. Allow them to smoke for at least an hour, or until the bark has started to form. Spritz the ribs with the liquid every hour to keep them moist.
- (Wrapping) Continue to smoke until the ribs reach around 165-175° and their rising temperature starts to slow down. Remove the beef ribs and spritz them one final time before wrapping in butcher paper. Place them back on the smoker and increase the temperature to 300°F.
- (Not Wrapping) Continue to smoke the beef ribs and spritz, do not increase the smoker’s temperature.
- Once their internal temperature reaches about 200°F, start monitoring how they feel by checking them with a temperature probe. There should be very little resistance as if you’re sticking it into a jar of peanut butter.
- Remove them when ready and wrap them with butcher paper if they are not already. Allow them to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, while wrapped, before slicing.
- If you need to rest them for longer, you can put them in an oven at the lowest temperature, or use an insulated cooler.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 6-8 hours
- Category: Beef & Lamb
- Method: Smoking
- Cuisine: BBQ
Keywords: smoked beef ribs, beef short ribs, smoked beef plate ribs, beef ribs, smoked beef, dino ribs