Use a sharp knife and spend a little time doing the best you can to remove the silver skin and most of the fat on the top side of the beef short ribs.
You don't have to get this nit picky with them, but I think it makes a much better finished product and is well worth it in my opinion.
Here they are before I started..
As with most beef products that I smoke here lately, I think dry brining makes a big difference in terms of flavor. It's easy enough to do and it just makes sense if you have the time.
Sprinkle coarse kosher salt on the top side of the beef ribs. You can see by the picture below that I was quite generous. I don't measure, but just give them a good sprinkling all over.
If you do want to measure, it should be about ½ teaspoon per pound of meat.
With the ribs laying in a shallow pan, place them in the fridge for about 2-4 hours. 4 hours is best but if you're in a hurry, 2-3 hours is better than nothing.
I do not bother covering them and do not rinse them when they are finished.
Remove them from the fridge and get ready to add some of my ultra delicious Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to compliment and help bring out that big beefy flavor. I have also had great luck with the original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) on them– equally delicious if you like a little sweet and spicy on your beef.
If you're feeling undecided.. add a little of both rubs. I've tried this and it works amazingly together.
Generously sprinkle the rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) all over the top and sides of the short ribs.
You might be asking, why not just use the Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) for the dry brine since it has kosher salt in it. Well, great question but my Texas style rub just doesn't have enough salt to properly dry brine the beef. For this reason, it's best to dry brine them first then add the seasoning afterwards.
Set up your smoker for cooking at about 240°F with indirect heat using pecan wood or even hickory or cherry for smoke would not be a bad idea either.
If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
About the Smoker That I Used
I used the Camp Chef Woodwind for smoking these awesome beef short ribs and I am so impressed with the job that it did. I am a big fan of pellet smokers and, for the most part, they all work in a similar fashion but the Woodwind Camp Chef has added a few features that many of the others are missing:
- An ash cup on the bottom of the unit to catch the ashes and make cleanup a lot easier. I am pretty particular and still vacuum out the smoker but you certainly don't have to do that often with this added feature.
- A chute opens on the bottom side of the hopper so you can dump the pellets into a container and replace them with a different flavor (nice!).
- A 2nd set of cooking shelves comes standard. You just can't have too much shelf space in my opinion.
- A propane powered sear box capable of 900°F that attaches to the right side of the unit. This allows you to sear burgers, steaks, chicken, etc. once they are done cooking. You could also just use it to cook steaks or other meats at very high heat.
- The SG model also has a lever that allows you to move the heat deflector over and out of the way so the direct heat can come up through notches in the drip pan and kiss the bottom of the meat. It doesn't do as good of a job as the 900°F searbox, but it's a great option none the less.
- 3 year warranty and free shipping ain't a bad feature either!
In case you can't tell, I am a huge fan of this pellet grill and if you are in the market for a smoker that is easy to use, introduces a ton of smoke flavor to your food and has the ability to cook from 160°F all the way up to about 500°F, with smoke, then this might be something you need to look at very closely.
Because I like the Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill so much, I have worked out an affiliate deal with them. When you click on my link to go check out the Woodwind pellet grill, their system will know it came from this website. That way if you decide to purchase one today or even a week or two from now, it will give us a small monetary thank you for sending you their way.
I only recommend products that I absolutely love.. if we can get a few dollars for recommending products that we love and use.. even better!
My affiliate link is: https://www.smoking-meat.com/woodwind-wifi
Let the smoker pre-heat for best results and when it's ready to go, get the short ribs loaded in.
Place the beef short ribs onto a large shallow pan (if they are not already). Mine is about ¾ inch deep and works perfectly for this.
Set the pan with the beef ribs onto the smoker grate and close the door/lid.
If you haven't already done so, go make the basting sauce.
This is enough for a couple of 4-bone racks of beef short ribs.
- 2 cups root beer (cheap stuff is fine)
- 1 cup soy sauce (low sodium is best)
- 1 cup Worcestershire
Stir to combine.
Pour the basting sauce over the top of the meat and let it drain off into the shallow pan.
Let the beef ribs cook with smoke and about every 30-45 minutes, use a turkey baster or a spoon to get some of the juices up onto the meat.
Do this quickly so heat loss is minimal.
After about 5-6 hours, they'll start getting a really nice color and you can start keeping a good eye on the temperature and checking them for tenderness.
The beef short ribs are done when they get fork tender and this can happen at different stages. Usually this is around 190-200°F for short ribs but mine were prime grade and got done at about 180°F.
–This is why I say to keep an eye on the tenderness as well as the temperature.
As you can see, it's important to monitor the temperature but ultimately they are done when they get tender.
For monitoring the temperature, I use the “Smoke” by Thermoworks which is a rugged, easy to use, dual-probe, wireless meat/pit thermometer. Like all of the other Thermoworks heat monitoring products, the “Smoke” is something that you need to add to your arsenal of smoking equipment.
Or if you prefer, you can just use an instant read handheld thermometer like a Thermapen and when the probe feels like it's going into hot butter, you can call 'em done!
When the ribs are tender as you like them, remove them from the smoker, tent some foil over them and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
Slice right between the bones and serve!