Smoked beef back ribs are not extremely meaty like most pork ribs but, I think they reign supreme in terms of flavor.
Cut from the prime rib, all that tasty fat is present to help the ribs stay moist and to give them tons of flavor. By cooking them low and slow, a lot of that fat will melt away leaving the meat extremely delicious and tender.
With a couple of amazing options, you'll be creating beefy fare fit for a king with this one!
I purchased some of the ribs already cut up and 1 whole slab so you could see each one.
The ones already cut up where slightly more expensive than the slab and the membrane was not removed. I'd rather buy the slab and prepare them myself personally.
Here's how to remove the membrane:
Use your finger to get the membrane loose somewhere in the center of the slab. Continue to work your fingers/hand under it to loosen it. Some folks use a sharp object but I tend to do better with my hands. Find whatever works for you and you'll have the perfect tool for you.
A little patience and some practice and you'll be doing this like a pro. By starting in the center, once you have a good grip and are able to pull up on it, it starts coming loose from both ends at once.
Do the best you can and if it takes several tries to get it all, that's fine. You'll get better at this with practice.
Once the membrane is removed, cut the slab up into individual bones. Try to cut right in between the bones leaving meat on both side of each bone.
Dry Brining the Ribs
Place the cut up ribs into a bowl or container meat side up.
Brush on a little olive oil to help the rub to stick better.
Place lids or covers on the containers and place the ribs in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours. This allows the salt in the rub to draw the juices to the outside of the meat where it can mix with the rub and be drawn back into the meat.
Remove the ribs from the fridge, remove the lids/covers and allow the ribs to sit out for about 30 minutes before placing them in the smoker.
**Do NOT rinse the rub from the meat**
Arrange the ribs on a pan/rack or you can take just take them out to the smoker as they are so you can place them directly onto the smoker grate.
Ok.. enough salivating! Let's get these in the smoker.
While the ribs are sitting on the counter, it's a great time to get your smoker going and up to temperature.
Get the Smoker Going
These will do well in any smoker including charcoal, electric, gas, or wood as long as you maintain the temperature and keep the smoke going for at least 3 hours.
Get your smoker going and make sure you have plenty of smoking wood. I recommend oak and/or pecan if you have it. I used a mix of red oak and pecan since that's what I had available.
If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
Once the smoker is ready, it's time to get cooking.
Smoking the Beef Back Ribs
Keep the heat at about 225°F (107°C) since you want to cook these low and slow to allow the meat to tenderize. The long cook time will also do a good job of melting a lot of that fat.
If you are using an electric, gas or charcoal smoker, keep the smoke going for about 3 hours.
The ribs will usually take 4-5 hours to get tender enough but it will depend on how well you maintain the temperature in your smoker, what the meat temperature was when they started cooking and how often you open the door or lid on your smoker.
The ultimate goal is for the ribs to get tender. Forget about the temperature and don't remove them until they get tender.
To test for tenderness, just grab one and take a bite. They're not done until they are as tender as you like them.
This usually happens for me when they reach about 195°F (91°C) but that may differ slightly for you.
When they get done, serve them immediately. I recommend making plenty since they are not as meaty as pork ribs.
I served mine with savory potatoes and sautéed green beans (recipes below)
Making the Savory Potatoes
Quarter small potatoes and place them in a foil pan.
Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.
It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.