Smoked Beef Back Ribs

Smoked beef back ribs are not usually the meatiest of ribs, but they taste great with smoke and you won't find a beefier flavor anywhere, in my opinion.

If you have the privilege of getting these with a little more meat on them then great, but even the ones you find in the local grocery store are well worth gnawing on and highly recommend you try some of these very soon if you can.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Marinate Time: 4-8 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 185-190°F
  • Recommended Wood: Mesquite or 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.

Rinse and Cleanup the Ribs

Remove the beef back ribs from the packaging and give them a good rinse under cold water.

Lay the ribs on the cutting board and remove any large clumps of fat.

2014-IMG_5627

Turn the rack of beef ribs over and remove the membrane on the boney side

In some cases, beef rib membrane is easier to remove than the ones on their pork counterparts due to it being thicker.

Get ahold of the thick layer of plastic-like membrane by prying up on it with your finger, a butter knife or whatever works best for you.

Once you have it started, get ahold of it with a paper towel and pull it off.

If this takes several passes, then so be it.

2014-IMG_5628

Hard to tell the difference in the pictures but it makes a big difference when you eat them.

Here the membrane is removed..

2014-IMG_5629

I don't usually season the boney side of beef ribs.. just doesn't seem to be justified but feel free to do so if you wish.

Flip them over to meat side up and proceed with the seasoning process.

Season/Marinate the Beef Ribs Overnight

Please note that you can apply the mustard and rub right before the ribs go into the smoker and it will be fine but if you have time to do this the night before and let them marinate in the rub for several hours, the ribs will be even better.

Apply some yellow mustard to the meat side of the beef ribs.

2014-IMG_5640

Rub the mustard into the ribs with your hands and don't forget the sides and any crevices down between the rib bones.

2014-IMG_5632

Put a tablespoon or two of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the meaty side of the ribs and massage it in with the mustard to create a paste that is extremely flavorful. This paste not only tastes amazing, but it creates the perfect crust on the outside of the ribs.

2014-IMG_5633

Does that look good or what!

2014-IMG_5635

The following step is optional but recommended:

Wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours to allow some of the flavor of the rub to get into the top layer of the meat.

Note: I recommend placing the wrapped ribs into a cookie sheet or pan to prevent any runaway leaks.

The next morning, remove the ribs from the fridge, unwrap them from the plastic and lay them in a Weber grill pan or cookie sheet in preparation for transporting them out to the smoker.

2014-IMG_5666 2014-IMG_5670

I don't know about you.. but I think that looks delicious!

Get the Smoker Ready

Prepare your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with indirect heat.

If your smoker has one, fill the water pan with water .

Let the smoker heat up to 225°F before placing the meat in the smoker.

Smoke the Beef Back Ribs

Place the pan/rack of ribs in the smoker or lay the beef back ribs directly on the smoker grate bone side down.

I recommend a good hearty smoke like mesquite, hickory or pecan but you can use any smoking wood that you have available and they will be fine.

I like to apply smoke for the entire time to replicate the flavor of a wood burning smoker but if you do not like a more subtle smoke flavor, it is ok to smoke them for less time and finish with just heat.

Let the beef ribs cook until they are tender. This usually happens at around 185-190 °F and can take anywhere from 4-6 hours or even more depending on variables such as:

  • Weather
  • How often you raise/open the lid
  • Starting meat temperature
Slice and Serve

Let the smoked beef back ribs rest for about 10 minutes, then slice them up and serve to your family and guests.

Questions

So how do you know when the ribs are tender enough?

Grab a couple of bones next to each other and pull them in opposite directions. If the meat begins to tear very easily, they are tender.

Can I wrap these in foil at some point to help tenderize them?

Absolutely! Once they've been cooking about 2-3 hours, wrap them in foil and let them cook that way for a couple of hours to tenderize them. Then remove them and place them back in the smoker as before to help firm up the crust on the outside.

Should I use sauce on these beef ribs?

I almost always serve sauce on the side for the folks who want it but I feel like the rub is perfect for these and I encourage folks to at least try them without sauce first.

Can I just use the new Texas style rub recipe for these beef ribs?

You absolutely can and that rub is really great on beef but just remember that the Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) does call for more salt than the original rub recipe so you'll want to apply it just a tad more sparingly. The Texas style formula is one that is savory only (no sweetness at all) which goes really great with beef.

Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce TODAY!
Jeff's Rubs and Sauce

✅ My rubs and sauce will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted and it’s a great way to support what we do!

SHOP NOW

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.

Purchase at Amazon

Get Almost Anything at Amazon

If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..

The next time you decide to order something at Amazon.com, use THIS LINK to get there and we’ll get a small commission off of what you purchase.

Thank you in advance for using our special link: https://www.smoking-meat.com/amazon


Printable Recipe

smoked beef back ribs 1 575x384 2
Print Recipe
4.2 from 5 votes

Smoked Beef Back Ribs

Smoked beef back ribs are not usually the meatiest of ribs, but they taste great with smoke and you won’t find a beefier flavor anywhere, in my opinion.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Servings: 5 -6

Ingredients

  • 2 racks of beef back ribs (((7 bones each)))
  • Yellow mustard
  • Jeff’s original rub
  • Plastic wrap

Instructions

Rinse and Cleanup the Ribs

  • Remove the beef back ribs from the packaging and give them a good rinse under cold water.
  • Lay the ribs on the cutting board and remove any large clumps of fat.
  • Turn the rack of beef ribs over and remove the membrane on the boney side
  • Get ahold of the thick layer of plastic-like membrane by prying up on it with your finger, a butter knife or whatever works best for you.
  • Once you have it started, get ahold of it with a paper towel and pull it off.
  • I don’t usually season the boney side of beef ribs.. just doesn’t seem to be justified but feel free to do so if you wish.
  • Flip them over to meat side up and proceed with the seasoning process.

Season/Marinate the Beef Ribs Overnight

  • Please note that you can apply the mustard and rub right before the ribs go into the smoker and it will be fine but if you have time to do this the night before and let them marinate in the rub for several hours, the ribs will be even better.
  • Apply some yellow mustard to the meat side of the beef ribs.
  • Rub the mustard into the ribs with your hands and don’t forget the sides and any crevices down between the rib bones.
  • Put a tablespoon or two of Jeff’s original rub onto the meaty side of the ribs and massage it in with the mustard to create a paste that is extremely flavorful. This paste not only tastes amazing, but it creates the perfect crust on the outside of the ribs.
  • Wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours to allow some of the flavor of the rub to get into the top layer of the meat.
  • Note: I recommend placing the wrapped ribs into a cookie sheet or pan to prevent any runaway leaks.
  • The next morning, remove the ribs from the fridge, unwrap them from the plastic and lay them in a Bradley rack or cookie sheet in preparation for transporting them out to the smoker.

Get the Smoker Ready

  • Prepare your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with indirect heat.
  • If your smoker has one, fill the water pan with water .
  • Let the smoker heat up to 225 °F before placing the meat in the smoker.

Smoke the Beef Back Ribs

  • Place the Bradley rack in the smoker or lay the beef back ribs directly on the smoker grate bone side down.
  • I recommend a good hearty smoke like mesquite, hickory or pecan but you can use any smoking wood that you have available and they will be fine.
  • I like to apply smoke for the entire time to replicate the flavor of a wood burning smoker but if you do not like a more subtle smoke flavor, it is ok to smoke them for less time and finish with just heat.
  • Let the beef ribs cook until they are tender. (This usually happens at around 185-190 °F and can take anywhere from 4-6 hours or even more depending on variables such as weather, how often you raise/open the lid, and the starting meat temperature.

Slice and Serve

  • Let the smoked beef back ribs rest for about 10 minutes, then slice them up and serve to your family and guests.

16 Comments

  1. MIke February 19, 2022 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    1 star
    has this guy even made beef ribs?

    • Jeff Phillips February 21, 2022 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      Mike, I assume you wouldn't rate a recipe unless you'd tried it. Can you tell me what happened and why these did not turn out properly for you?

  2. Ron December 19, 2020 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Jeff. I need a little help. I can make these ribs taste great but I struggle to get them tender. I try to follow the heat and time and I don’t buy cheap meat. What about foiling them for a couple of hours like pork ribs to allow them to tenderize

    • Jeff Phillips December 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Ron, a little braising in foil would not hurt a thing and it's a great way to break down those connective tissues between the bones.

  3. Mark September 3, 2020 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeff, I need some help. I am planning to smoke, among other things, beef ribs this weekend, but I am not sure exactly what I have. I was given the meat from a neighbor who bought a side of beef from a farmer. They are labeled as short ribs, but they don't appear to be traditional short ribs. What I have are slabs of three or four bones and the slabs are roughly six inches long, three inches wide and an inch to two inches thick. My research suggests they are beef back ribs, but the recipes I am seeing, like this one, show bigger racks. I am thinking the farmer had them cut in half, as each package has two of the slabs I described. I want to make sure I am following the right instructions, because the traditional short rib smoking recipes call for 8-10 hours of smoke time, while the beef rack smoke recipes say 3-5 hours, which seems to me to make more sense, based on the size of the ribs. Thank you!

    • Jeff Phillips September 5, 2020 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      Sounds like short ribs that have been cut in half.. these usually come in 4-bone segments that are approximately 8-9 inches from bone tip to bone tip and about 2 inches thick. If the bones in yours have been cut in half, that would make sense. Some people prefer the short ribs to be shorter and a more manageable size.

      Back ribs are extremely lean with the only meat being between the bones. These are cut from the prime rib roast and they try to leave most of the meat on the larger roast.

      Here's a recipe for the short ribs aka “dino” ribs.

      Smoked Beef Short Ribs aka “Dinosaur Ribs”

  4. Charlie May 6, 2020 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Hello Jeff,

    I purchased your original rib rub and sauce recipes a few years back. They are by far the favorites in my house. I am interested in your Texas Style Rib Rub, and have emailed you previously asking about how to get a copy of the recipe but have not heard back. I am going to be doing beef ribs in the next couple days and would like to use try the Texas Style Rib Rub on them. Please let me know how I can go about getting this recipe. Thank you.

    • Jeff Phillips May 6, 2020 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      Charlie, for whatever reason, I have not received your email so I appreciate you getting back with me using the comments. I have re-sent the download link to you and when you click on that in your email, you'll be able to download all of the recipes including the Texas style rub recipe. Let me know if you need further help with this.

      • Charlie May 7, 2020 at 10:34 am - Reply

        5 stars
        Thanks for the prompt response. I look forward to trying the Texas Style Rib Rub.

  5. Jack May 5, 2020 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Jeff

    All I can say to any na-sayers regarding your recipes can go forward on their own. However,as a customer of your recipes, two years ago, the have made me successful.

    Keep on what you are doing. It is priceless. Oh and by the way, I have Dino beef ribs on my smoker at this time. Expectation is nothing less than perfection.

  6. circe801 May 22, 2019 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    i know this won't be published, but, here goes: glad you have made a successful business for this going on, but anyone endeavoring to smoke meat should have enough mind to figure out how to make a rub and, maybe even a barbecue sauce. pardon me for opining, but i think your customers are either lazy or just plain lacking imagination… cheers!

    • Jeff Phillips May 24, 2019 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      Well.. My customers and readers are great people and i've met many of them. I am sure they probably could come up with something amazing if they wanted to, some of them do but many of them are happy to use something that's already developed and tastes amazing and spend more time making great food for their family and friends. One could say the same thing about purchasing shoes or even pancake mix.. “you should make those things yourself otherwise you are lazy or lacking in imagination”. I buy a lot of things for convenience sake not because I can't do it myself and certainly not because I am lazy but because this allows me more time to spend doing other things. In my opinion, generalizing about people in a way that is not nice, isn't needful, isn't necessary and doesn't help them in any way is a greater offense than being lazy.

  7. Char-Woody February 18, 2016 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Sir…. I see you are a fan of Big Green Egg.
    I am a fan of ceramic cookers per se.. but I participate in the Primo Forum as Char-Woody.
    May I compliment you on your website and your recipe files. Extra ordinary in most respects. If you would care to please me, list the Primo Kamado cookers as well. The Oval was something I also participated in.
    Cheers… Char-Woody

  8. Michele Fernandez June 19, 2015 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Jeff, you're the first one who said pecan to smoke beef ribs was a good thing! thank you, we like it a lot and it compliments your rub very nicely!

  9. Kenneth November 16, 2014 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeff. purchased your rub and sauce recipes, and book sometime ago. seeing talk about Texas Style rub. How can I get the Texas Style Rub recipe? Thanks, By the the way, my family and friends LOVE the rub and sauces and they always ask what rub I am using and tell me to use your rub PLEASE. it is amazing!!!!

    • Jeff Phillips November 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Kenneth, I am glad the rub and sauce recipes are working so well for you and your family.. just what I love to hear!

      I will send the TSR your way via email!

Leave A Comment

Recipe Rating