Beef ribs are not as difficult to smoke as you might think. The process is similar to smoking a brisket but the ribs don’t require as much time on the smoker to cook!
You can use any grill or smoker as long as you can keep the temperature between 225 and 275 during most of the cook. My LSG smoker tends to cook at an average of 240 degrees. Sometimes the temp will creep up to 300 or it will fall to around 225. When cooking on a stick burner, the objective is more about managing the fire than keeping a steady temperature. It is easier to dial in a temperature on an electric or pellet smoker. Charcoal smokers also requires some fire management to stay in the desired temperature range.
I recommend recommend oak wood or a combination of oak and cherry wood for smoking. The finishing temperature should be between 203 – 210 degrees to ensure maximum tenderness.
You can start the prep for your rib slabs while the smoker is coming up to temp.
- Beef short rib plate or ribs that have already been cut to individually
- Binder to help the rub adhere to the meat such Worcestershire, olive oil, mustard or mayonnaise
- Beef rub of choice; I like Meat Church Holy Cow
- Water or beef broth for spritzing
1) Trim away any deep pockets of fat and remove the fat from the sides to make the slabs uniform. Leave around 1/4″ of fat to render during the cook and to protect the meat.
2) Slather both sides of the slabs with a binder, i.e. Worcestershire, olive oil, mustard or mayo.
3) Apply your rub of choice to both sides. We used Meat Church Holy Cow but you can use any beef rub or your own combination. Salt, pepper, garlic, paprika usually goes well. Let the rub pull “sweat” on the meat while you wait for the smoker to finish coming up to temp.
4) Once your smoker is ready, put the meat on grill grates. Depending on your average temperature, you can expect the cook to last from 6 – 9 hours.
5) Around once per hour, spritz the ribs to help keep them moist. I prefer beef broth or water.
6) After around 4 hours on the smoker, start checking the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. When the internal temp reaches around 165 degrees, the ribs will have taken in all of the smoke flavor that they can.
7) At this stage, you can increase the temperature to around 300 – 325 to accelerate the cooking process. Wrap the beef slabs pink butcher paper. You can also use aluminum foil but you run the risk of sweating away the beautiful bark that you’ve developed on your ribs.
8) Take the ribs all the way 203 – 210 degrees internal. Remove them from the smoker and let them rest for at least 20 minutes (it’s ok to let them rest for a longer amount of time).
9) Unwrap the ribs, slice them between the bones and enjoy. You should have the equivalent of the brisket (the point / fatty) on a stick!