Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Most of the short ribs found in local grocers will be cut up into small pieces. I located this uncut rack of beef short ribs at a local grocery store but I had to ask for them and they were retrieved from the back. Much like brisket, you have to cook them low and slow until they are well past done to enjoy the tenderness.

Helpful Information
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Marinate Time: 2-3 hours
  • Cook time: 7-9 hours
  • Smoker temperature: 250°F
  • Meat finish temperature: 200-205°F
  • Recommended wood: Hickory
What You'll Need
IMG 0492 1000x715Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Step 1: Remove Fat and Membrane

The whole rack and even the pieces already cut up will usually have a layer of fat on top of the meat. I choose to remove this as there is plenty of fat within the meat and I like for the rub to make direct contact with the meat.

2015-IMG_8306

I asked the butcher to do this for me but it's pretty easy to do with a sharp knife. Be sure to remove any silverskin you find as well.

Some of the fat runs deep into the meat and so you just have to trim it down level with the meat and stop, otherwise, you'd be cutting so far into the meat, the rack would separate into pieces.

Do the best you can and let the heat melt the rest of it away as it keeps the beef short ribs juicy.

Flip the rack of beef ribs over to the membrane side and either remove the membrane or score it really good with a sharp knife. I got a small corner loose then grabbed it with a paper towel to pull it clean off.

Now you see it..

2015-IMG_8311

Now you don't!

2015-IMG_8312

Step 2: Marinate & Season the Meat

With the fat and silverskin removed, place the rack of ribs into a plastic or glass container and pour enough Worcestershire sauce over the meat to wet it real good.

2015-IMG_8314

Add several tablespoons of minced garlic to the top and use a spoon to spread it over the meat. I used minced garlic in a bottle as it works just fine for things like this.

2015-IMG_8314

Finally, sprinkle a good layer of my Texas rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the top meat side and let it sit there for a few minutes and mingle with the other ingredients.

2015-IMG_8316

Once it looks nice and wet, flip the rack of beef short ribs over to top side down.

2015-IMG_8318

Pour a little more Worcestershire sauce down in the bottom of the container to make sure the meat is making contact with the sauce.

Place a lid or cover on the container and put it it the fridge for at least 3 hours but up to 8 hours is perfectly fine.

Step 3: Set up Smoker

While the meat is finishing up the marinating time, go ahead and get the smoker ready to go.

You'll want to set it up for cooking at about 250°F  with about 3-4 hours worth of smoking wood.

Step 4: Smoke Time

I like to place the rack of ribs down in a foil pan to contain the juices while it cooks and especially if I plan to cover with foil later.

2015-IMG_8329

Bone side down, meat side up is the proper configuration.

Place the pan into a 250°F smoker and maintain light smoke for at least 3-4 hours.

If your smoker has a water pan, I recommend using it.

Use a leave-in digital probe meat thermometer such as the ThermoWorks Smoke so you can monitor the temperature. The probe should go into meat only, without touching bone.

The beef short ribs are cooked to about 200°F before calling them done. I took mine to 203°F and inserting a sharp skewer into the meat was giving me almost no resistance at all.

2015-IMG_8379

You can expect the beef short ribs to take 7-9 hours to reach 200°F. Be sure to use the temperature NOT the time to tell you when they are done.

If you want to cover them with foil at 160°F internal meat temperature it will help to speed them along but the bark formation will not be as good. I left mine uncovered down in the pan for the entire time.

Once the ribs were finished cooking, I removed them from the smoker to the countertop and placed another foil pan on top to hold in a little heat while the meat rested for about 30 minutes.

Step 5: Cut and Serve

Cut the rack of ribs into individual bones and let folks dig in.

2015-IMG_8385 2015-IMG_8421

Questions & Comments

What determines how long these take to cook?

The thickness determines the time in large part. They will also cook a little faster if you cut them apart before smoking them.

 I usually use the original rub on brisket, will it work on beef short ribs?

Absolutely and really well too! I love the original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) on beef and use it quite often that way. Some prefer beef ribs that are savory only and this is where the Texas rub recipe comes in.

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You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, 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.

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Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Most of the short ribs found in local grocers will be cut up into small pieces. I located this uncut rack of beef short ribs at a local grocery store but I had to ask for them and they were retrieved from the back. Much like brisket, you have to cook them low and slow until they are well past done to enjoy the tenderness.
Prep Time3 hrs
Cook Time8 hrs
Servings: 4 -6

Ingredients

  • Rack of Beef Short Ribs
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Jeff’s Texas style rub recipe (((free when you purchase the original rub recipe)))
  • Minced garlic (((already minced in a bottle is fine for these)))

Instructions

Step 1: Remove Fat and Membrane

  • The whole rack and even the pieces already cut up will usually have a layer of fat on top of the meat. I choose to remove this as there is plenty of fat within the meat and I like for the rub to make direct contact with the meat.
  • I asked the butcher to do this for me but it's pretty easy to do with a sharp knife. Be sure to remove any silverskin you find as well.
  • Some of the fat runs deep into the meat and so you just have to trim it down level with the meat and stop, otherwise, you'd be cutting so far into the meat, the rack would separate into pieces.
  • Do the best you can and let the heat melt the rest of it away as it keeps the beef short ribs juicy.
  • Flip the rack of beef ribs over to the membrane side and either remove the membrane or score it really good with a sharp knife. I got a small corner loose then grabbed it with a paper towel to pull it clean off.

Step 2: Marinate & Season the Meat

  • With the fat and silverskin removed, place the rack of ribs into a plastic or glass container and pour enough Worcestershire sauce over the meat to wet it real good.
  • Add several tablespoons of minced garlic to the top and use a spoon to spread it over the meat. I used minced garlic in a bottle as it works just fine for things like this.
  • Finally, sprinkle a good layer of my Texas rub (purchase recipes here) onto the top meat side and let it sit there for a few minutes and mingle with the other ingredients.
  • Once it looks nice and wet, flip the rack of beef short ribs over to top side down.
  • Pour a little more Worcestershire sauce down in the bottom of the container to make sure the meat is making contact with the sauce.
  • Place a lid or cover on the container and put it it the fridge for at least 3 hours but up to 8 hours is perfectly fine.

Step 3: Set up Smoker

  • While the meat is finishing up the marinating time, go ahead and get the smoker ready to go.
  • You'll want to set it up for cooking at about 250°F with about 3-4 hours worth of smoking wood.

Step 4: Smoke Time

  • I like to place the rack of ribs down in a foil pan to contain the juices while it cooks and especially if I plan to cover with foil later.
  • Bone side down, meat side up is the proper configuration.
  • Place the pan into a 250°F smoker and maintain light smoke for at least 3-4 hours.
  • If your smoker has a water pan, I recommend using it.
  • Use a leave-in digital probe meat thermometer so you can monitor the temperature. The probe should go into meat only, without touching bone.
  • The beef short ribs are cooked to about 200°F before calling them done. I took mine to 203°F and inserting a sharp skewer into the meat was giving me almost no resistance at all.
  • You can expect the beef short ribs to take 7-9 hours to reach 200°F. Be sure to use the Temperature NOT the time to tell you when they are done.
  • If you want to cover them at 160°F internal meat temperature it will help to speed them along but the bark formation will not be as good. I left mine uncovered down in the pan for the entire time.
  • Once the ribs were finished cooking, I removed them from the smoker to the countertop and placed another foil pan on top to hold in a little heat while the meat rested for about 30 minutes.

Step 5: Cut and Serve

  • Cut the rack of ribs into individual bones and let folks dig in.

9 Comments

  1. Paul Hartman December 9, 2019 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Hey Jeff, I watch the weekly adds for our local grocery stores, Safeway, Albertsons etc. and when they have a sale on short ribs I go and ask for the them before they are cut or plate. I have never had a problem with the butcher doing this because it saves them time and if they don't come trimmed in the vacuum pack they will trim them , still faster than cutting into short ribs.

    Nice site, I have been smoking with a Louisiana Smoker for about 15 years but, still like to try new methods and tweaks, you always seem to mention something I hadn't tried before.

  2. Carlos Castillo July 29, 2019 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    This is a message for Jeff: Last week I bought the recipes for the rubs and the BBQ sauce. I did try them on pork, on chicken, etc. I found them way too HOT with hot peppers. The recipes are not what I find palatable. I find no palate pleasure by eating a substance that burns my lips, my tongue, my palate, and my esophagus. I want a refund on the price of these recipes. The question is How do I get a refund ????

    • Jeff Phillips July 30, 2019 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      Carlos, I am happy to issue a refund and I will take care of that right away. The recipes are not considered to be very spicy at all so I am wondering if you used regular ground pepper instead of coarse pepper (which increases the amount of pepper used). I am very much a wimp where spice is concerned ;-)

  3. Marc J Dugas June 28, 2019 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    According to every competition judge, you aren't supposed to remove the membrane on beef ribs

    • Jeff Phillips July 1, 2019 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      Marc, Thank you for the feedback. I have personally tried it both ways and I prefer the skin removed in most cases. I usually recommend that people try things different ways and decide for themselves what they prefer.

  4. Jason Russell June 13, 2019 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Okay, Jeff…I'll look for beef short ribs. I see so many drool worthy pics of ribs on Instagram (usually from Texas BBQ joints), so I'm dying to smoke some of my own!

  5. Jason Russell June 11, 2019 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Jeff, I rarely see meaty beef ribs. Does it come down to asking for them, or going to a specialty butcher?

    • Jeff Phillips June 11, 2019 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      Jason, the back beef ribs are almost never meaty since these are the simply the bones that are cut off of the prime rib and prime rib fetches a better price per lb than beef back ribs. The only meat on these will be between the bones. Short ribs on the other hand are usually pretty meaty and are the better choice if you are wanting beef ribs. I find excellent racks of short ribs for a great price at Costco.. not sure if Sams or any of the other club stores carry these. A butcher should definitely be able to get you exactly what you want if you give him a little heads up and you're willing to pay a bit more per lb.

  6. Bill FItzenreiter October 1, 2015 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    I have trouble keeping my smoker at any desired temp I adjust the vents use plenty of charcoal what could be the problem the model is grill pro was given as gift

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