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Smoked Beef Back Ribs on a Wood Smoker (or any smoker)

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Welcome to the newest edition of the smoking meat newsletter where we will be talking about smoked beef ribs in all of their smoke and glory! I am fortunate enough to have just acquired a brand new, TS120P Meadow Creek reverse flow wood smoker.

I can tell you that my initial feeling are those of elation and pure happiness;-)

One of the features that makes this smoker so great is the fact that it is “reverse flow” which just means that the heat and smoke are forced to travel under the grate for the length of the smoker before it is finally able to ascend to grate level and then flow back over the food just before exiting out the chimney.

The reverse flow process creates a very uniform heat in the smoker from front to back and side to side eliminating all hot spots.

There are other wonderful smoker companies out there but I can only write about my own personal experience.

Beef ribs are without a doubt every bit as tasty as pork ribs, if not more so, when they are seasoned and cooked properly.

If you will follow my instructions to the tee when it comes to preparing, seasoning, and cooking these ribs, you will be pinching yourself out of unbelief at how good they are.

Here's what you need to know up front..

Beef back ribs are not as meaty as most pork ribs but the flavor is worth the gnawing.

Some of the beef ribs are more meaty than others and that is just depending on the butcher or whoever did the cutting. They will vary when you buy them at the store so be choosy.

Here's what you'll need to get started:

  • (2) or more racks of beef back ribs (note: you may be able to find these already cut off the bone and if so, I recommend it)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Jeff's rub recipe
  • (2) large throw-away aluminum pans

To prepare the ribs for smoking..

I recommend cutting the ribs in to individual pieces (if you did not buy them that way).. they just seem to work better.

Put the ribs meat side up down in a large throw-away aluminum pan and douse them all over with generous amounts of Worcestershire sauce. Let it soak in for a few minutes then douse them again.

Beef ribs into pan

Doused with Worcestershire


Sprinkle my rub all over the meaty side of the beef ribs and let them sit for about 8-10 minutes or until the rub looks wet and is sticking to the meat really well.

Turn the beef ribs up on their side and once again sprinkle my rub on them. Let them sit for a few minutes to once again, get that “wet” look. Flip them over to the other side and repeat with the rub.

When you are done, the top and both sides (where the meat is) should be covered with rub.

Beef ribs covered with Jeff's rub


How much rub should you use?

Well.. I don't use as much as I do on pork ribs but I am not skimpy about it either. I want to just barely be able to see the meat through the rub when I'm done. See the picture above.


Smoking the Ribs

~ Note: this particular newsletter is geared toward showing off my brand spanking new wood smoker however, let it be known that you can do these ribs on ANY kind of smoker such as an electric smoker, a gas smoker, a charcoal smoker or even on a grill as long as you follow the same temperature recommendations.


At this point and possibly even before you prep the meat, you should start getting the smoker going.

There's a lot of metal there to heat up and going from cold to 225+ can take as much as an hour and possibly more in a wood smoker.

Meadow Creek TS120P Wood Smoker


Now you may have your own signature way of starting the fire in a wood smoker but I am going to show you a couple of ways that you can do it both, of which, work quite well.

Now mind you, I've always started my previous wood smokers with wood just like in a fireplace. However, the firebox on this smoker is much smaller and the instructions recommend starting with charcoal then continuing with wood or more charcoal as needed.

So.. I'll try it that way for a few times and see how well it works.

Regardless of whether you start with charcoal or straight wood..

The fastest method is to use a propane weed burner.


~ Note: Make sure the chimney is FULL open and the vents on the firebox are FULL open before lighting.


Weed Burner Method

Not only is this a blast to use but it gets a roaring fire going in no time.

It's just a device that connects to a propane tank and when you light it, it shoots out a continuous blast of flames that will burn the weeds, kill ant hills and, of course, start the charcoal or wood to burning.

I recommend extreme caution as this thing will burn your eyebrows off if you're not careful closely followed by the hair on your arms and legs and other flammable body parts.

Hold the flame to the coals for about 10 minutes or until you see them turning white

Starting coals with weed burner

~ FYI.. that's a lighter in the shape of a machine gun sitting on top of the firebox. My MIL bought it for me for Christmas last year and it works great;-)


Fire Starter Method

This method is similar to the way I start the Big Green Egg and several of my other charcoal burning smokers using the fire starting cubes or blocks. These are made of wood and wax for the most part and will light quickly and burn for 10 minutes or more to allow the charcoal to get started real good.

This method is a little slower but it works well especially if you light 3 pieces and put them in different areas of the charcoal pile.


Once the coals are white and/or glowing..

Place a single piece of wood on top of the coals and then close the door to the firebox. We are looking for a chamber temperature of 225 degrees.

Adjust the vents on the firebox to about 3/4 closed or more but NEVER all the way to maintain your goal temperature. On any smoker, this will take some practice to learn what the “sweet spot” is.

It is also recommended that you leave the chimney all the way open while you are cooking so as to never over smoke the food.

When the smoker is maintaining your goal temperature, place the food on the grates and quickly close the door.

beef ribs and other stuff on the smoker

As you can probably see, I had more than just beef ribs in there;-)

  • Boneless country style beef ribs
  • Hot n' Spicy Brats
  • Steak fingers (later breaded and fried)


~ Note: Maintain the temperature in the smoker by adding more coals or wood when the temperature drops to around 200 degrees.


When are the beef back ribs done?

Normally, I would expect to cook beef ribs for at least 3 hours and probably closer to 4 to get them tender. I have only used this smoker a couple of times since I got it and I need to double check that the thermometer is working correctly however, these particular ribs were done in about 2 hours which is a little fast in my opinion.

I was hungry and very happy that they were done.. but, this still leaves me wondering if the factory thermometer needs to be calibrated.

I will get to that soon!

At any rate, as with most ribs, they are usually safe to eat way before they get tender. This means you really don't have to worry about the temperature of the ribs, just check them for tenderness and when they are done.. they're done.

This is usually at about 170 degrees however, due to the small amount of meat on each one, it is hard to check temperature on these.

So.. how in the world do you check beef ribs for tenderness?

I poke them with a toothpick and if the toothpick slides in easily, I pick it up and take a bite.

The true test of tenderness.

Ribs are done


Using a different smoker for the beef back ribs..

I know that many of you are using electric, gas and charcoal and don't have a wood smoker for whatever reason.

This is fine and not a problem at all.

  • Setup your particular smoker to maintain 225-240 degrees.
  • Place meat directly on grate and apply smoke for entire time or at least 2 hours
  • Ribs are done when they are tender and about 170 degrees


How to cook the extra stuff..

Boneless Country Style Beef Ribs

  • Worcestershire or yellow mustard and generous amounts of my rub all over
  • About 2 hours this time (normally 3-4 hours)
  • Maintain smoker at 225-240 degrees
  • Check for tenderness with a toothpick
  • Normally done at about 165-170 degrees F

Steak Fingers

  • Cover with Worcestershire and a light coating of rub on one side
  • Smoke in a pan for about 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Roll in batter and fry until golden brown

Hot n' Spicy Brats (or any brats)

  • Smoke for 2 hours right out of the package
  • Do not overcook or they will get tough

Recipe Summary

  1. Place individual beef back ribs in a foil pan, meat side up
  2. Douse with Worcestershire twice, 3-4 minutes apart
  3. Coat top and sides with Jeff's rub
  4. Prepare smoker for cooking at 225-240 degrees
  5. Place meat directly on grate
  6. Smoke cook for 2-4 hours or until the meat is tender to your liking



  • I highly recommend pecan wood if you have it
  • I really don't think you're gonna need sauce with these, but if you must, add it in the last 30 minutes as usual.
  • I had Meadow Creek insulate my firebox, with this setup, I can get 4 hours of 225 degree heat out of 6 lbs of charcoal and 2 sticks of pecan.


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Folks love the recipes and most of them become raving fans due to how good it is and how well it works on so many things including these amazing beef ribs.

Tasting is believing and I invite you to prove me wrong.. try the recipes and if it's not the best rub you ever ate simply ask me to refund your money and I'll do it right away. This offer is good for 30 days after purchase.

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Did a Ham and using your rub it was as my wife and friends said the best tasting ham they have ever had. We are into our late years so that's saying a lot .Thanks for sharing ~ Jack


Wow! wow! wow! The best rub and sauce I have ever had. Also did the turkey for thanksgiving and it was the best turkey I ever had. I usually only eat dark meat and this turkey was so good I ate only white meat ~ Andy


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Jeff I have to tell you that your rub and sauce recipes are the best. I had never smoked a rib or anything until last weekend and by fallowing your directions on your site I was the RIB KING for a day. Thanks a bunch pal, ~ Harold


Let me say that I've been using your Rib Rub for a couple years now. I use it on ribs (obviously), but I also use it on steak, ham, chicken, and everything else I smoke. My family and I absolutely LOVE it! It rocks! ~ Trapper


Jeff, I did a smoked pork roast yesterday and used your recipe both for the pork and for your Smoky Barbecue Sauce. Everyone loved it. My wife said the sauce was the best she had ever tasted and I have to agree. Fantastic. ~ Barry


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Lots of information on smoking meat as well as a ton of easy to follow recipes.

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Note 1: My (2) recipes that I sell in the newsletter to support the site are not included in the book. I have had several of you ask about this and I thought it might be prudent to make a note on here about that.


Adios and Happy Smoking

I appreciate ALL of you for allowing me to come into your homes electronically and do what I love to do.

This newsletter allows me to talk about my passion for cooking with smoke and I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.

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Until next time.. keep smoking and God Bless.


Jeff Phillips

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One Comment

  1. Iv’e been an avid follower of a BBQ master In his OWN mind; YOU. I paid for ur recipes year’s ago. Also bought dual thermometer 732 I think;even had to request key for repeat download once.I still get add’s but don’t want them removed;I like the input from others. Keep up the good “Research for Betterment of BBQ Aficionados”. (I’m trying to come up w/a catchy BBQ phrase. Does aficionados only apply to cigars?? I hope not; I love both but cigars in limited quantity; too costly. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS. Larry