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.
In this recipe, I use my rub as it is is to give the meat a nice sweet and spicy crust but I also show you how to modify my rub recipe to remove the “sweet” component and create that “Texas style” flavor.
With a couple of amazing options, you'll be creating beefy fare fit for a king with this one!
Get the Recipes for Jeff’s Rub and Sauce
My rub is great on beef just like it is (according to myself and many others) however, if you like the “Texas style” rub experience, I'll show you how to modify my rub slightly to remove the sweetness and still keep all that great savory goodness that compliments these beef back ribs so well.
I promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipe and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!
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- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Dry Brine: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 4-5 hours
- Smoker Temp: 225°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 190°F or until tender
- Recommended Wood: Oak and/or Pecan
- 6-8 lbs beef back ribs (slab or already cut up)
- Jeff's original Rub (purchase recipe here)
- Jeff's Texas style rub (purchase recipe here)
- Olive oil
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.
If you get the ones already cut up, you may have to use them as they are unless you want to take the time to remove the membrane from each individual piece.
On the slab, 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.
At any rate, do the best you can and don't make it a life or death situation. If you can can't get it, it won't be the end of the world to leave it on there.
Once the membrane is removed (or you give up), cut the slab up into individual bones. Try to cut right in between the bones leaving meat on both side of each bone.
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.
Sprinkle rub on the ribs (top and sides)
My personal favorite is the original rub which gives the ribs a little sweet and spicy kick that is not overpowering but compliments the beef flavor perfectly.
Place lids or covers on the containers and place the ribs in the fridge for about 2 hours. This is plenty of time to allow 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.
After 2 hours 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.
Tip: to save time, remove the ribs from the fridge after 1.5 hours and let them sit on the counter for the last 3o minutes.
**Do NOT rinse the rub from the meat**
Arrange the ribs on a Bradley Rack or you can take just wait and take them out to the smoker as they are so you can arrange them on the smoker grate.
Here's a closeup of those Texas style beef back ribs.. does that look good or what!
And the ones rubbed with my sweet and spicy rub recipe..
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.
These will do well in almost 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 you have a water pan, use it.
Once the smoker is ready, you are ready to get the meat to cooking.
I used the Bradley Racks and simply set them on the rack of my large wood smoker. I highly recommend these racks if they will fit in your particular smoker. The dimensions are 11 x 15 if you are interested in checking into these.
If you don't have these racks, simply place the ribs directly on the smoker grate boney side down.
Keep the heat at about 225°F since you want to cook these low and slow to allow the tough fibers 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 190-195°F 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)
- Quarter small potatoes and place them in a foil pan.
- Toss them with olive oil and a good sprinkling of my rub
- Place the pan in the smoker with the ribs during the last 2 hours
- Stir occasionally
- When they get as soft as you like them, they are done
- Give them another good sprinkle of rub and serve
- Clean and trim beans
- Place 2 TBS of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
- When the oil is nice and hot, it is ready.
- Place the beans in the skillet and sauté.
- Stir often to cook evenly
- Continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until they are as done as you like them
- Sprinkle with an equal mix of kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper and serve
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Smoked Beef Back Ribs
- 6-8 lbs beef back ribs (slab or already cut up)
- Jeff’s Rub (purchase recipe here)
- Olive oil
Getting the Ribs Ready
- If you purchased a slab, remove the membrane from the boney side of the ribs
- Cut them up into individual ribs
- Place the ribs into a bowl or container
- Brush olive oil onto the meat and sprinkle rub onto the top and sides of the ribs
- Cover the container and place the ribs in the fridge for 2 hours to dry brine
- After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the fridge and allow them to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes (do not rinse off the rub)
Smoke the Ribs
- Place the ribs bone side down directly on the smoker grate
- Smoke at 225 °F for 4-5 hours or until they get as tender as you like them
- Serve immediately with a couple of sides such as savory potatoes and sautéed green beans