Now, beef ribs are delicious and so good when smoked, but sometimes they are hard to find at the grocery store. On top of that, there are different types of ribs from the same animal, and it is hard to find what you want.
I’m going to break it down for y’all today, so that you know the differences between the types of ribs and how to ask your butcher for them. Then, I’m going to share my recipe and cooking methods so that you can prepare the juiciest, most flavorful ribs and share them with your family and neighbors.
There’s going to be a lot of information, cooking tips and links to the items I use so pay attention or you’ll get lost.
Beef Ribs 101
Plate Short Ribs
Plate short ribs are a three-bone cut that comes from right underneath the area where we get the skirt steak. Now, I never see these in the grocery store in Oklahoma – restaurants usually buy these in such quantity that they aren’t readily available. The meat on these ribs is always marbled with a lot of delicious fat and it is a desirable cut.
Tip: Always look for cherry-red beef with lots of bright white marbled fat throughout for the best flavor and freshest, juiciest meat.
If you decide to make these, call around to different butchers and usually they can bring a special order in for you if they do not already have them.
Chuck Short Ribs
Chuck short ribs are a 4 bone cut and located right under where you’d find the chuck roast. These are easier to find than the plate short ribs. Look for lots of good fat marbled in the rib meat.
Tip: A butcher will know the cut of chuck short ribs as the “Denver steak.”
Butchers like to cut the chuck short ribs up into different portions, so call up your butcher and specify that you are looking for an uncut chuck short rib. You’ll get all four bones and that good marbled meat with it.
Back ribs are cut off of the back of the prime rib. They can be a delicacy, an appetizer, a treat, or a full blown meal. This cut is pretty easy to find at the market. I use this cut for the baby back ribs video and they are so good and so easy.
I’d like to thank Michael Ollier and Gavin Pinto from Certified Angus Beef for having me and helping me out. Certified Angus Beef did not sponsor this video/post. I have found that their beef is always the highest quality, and they’ve always been good to me, so I always seek them out when the opportunity arises.
Smoked Chuck Short Ribs
I brought home a whole chuck short rib, and I cannot wait to get it on the smoker. The rub for this meat normally sits overnight, but I’m going to use a vacuum sealer to shorten the time needed to marinate the juices with the spices.
Before you mix up the rub, remove excess fat – not all of it, but any bulky areas, and cut out any of the shiny silver membrane while you’re at it. We want these ribs to get saturated with this rub and all of this great flavor.
Tip: Reduce marinating time from overnight to 6 hours by vacuum sealing the ribs after adding the rub.
I like to use the method of dry brining that involves using about a teaspoon of Kosher salt per pound of meat. This really helps keep the moisture inside the meat so that is how I start the rub.
The recipe below has a full list of the spices needed here. If you’ve ever seen my Pastrami video, you know that I love the flavor of Coriander and my Cowboy Coffee blend rubbed on beef. They are two of my favorite ingredients in the rub, along with brown sugar and a good amount of black pepper.
Dry the meat of any moisture before you apply the rub with paper towels. Make sure you get the sides, top, bottom, and everywhere. Vacuum seal it to save us some time. Set in the ice box for six hours.
Get the Fire Hot
As usual, I’m going to get the heat going with some Fogo Hardwood Lump Charcoal and I’m going to add some Applewood to enhance the smoke flavor.
Place bone-side down on indirect heat – not right over the fire – around 220 degrees. Come back every hour and check on the temperature. When the ribs reach 180 degrees, wrap in the peach butcher paper and just let it rest right back in the smoker. Increase the heat to 240 or so and when you reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees, it’s time to eat!
Total cook time on this was about 6 and a half hours.
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Smoked Beef Ribs – Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 5 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coffee grounds
- ½ tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
- 4 to 6 lb. chuck short ribs
- Juice of 1 lime
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
- Trim any silver skin from the ribs. Place on a baking sheet, rub the lime juice on both sides. Generously rub the seasoning mix on both sides and edges of the ribs. Place the ribs in a vacuum sealed bag and place in the icebox 6 hours, or overnight.
- Remove the ribs from the fridge about 40 minutes before smoking to let them warm close to room temperature.
- Clean and preheat the grill to 225 degrees F. I like to use a blend of mesquite and apple woods. Place the ribs on the indirect side of the grill and shut the lid.
- Check the grill temperature and smoke about every hour. Add more wood chunks as needed. Cook for at least 6 hours or until the internal temperature of the ribs are 185 degrees F.
- Remove the ribs from the grill and double wrap with butcher paper. Continue to cook on the indirect side of the heat for 1 more hour, or until the internal temperature of the ribs is 205 degrees F.
- Remove from the smoker and let rest for about15 minutes. Unwrap the ribs and serve.