How to smoke the best beef ribs???!

Discussion in 'Beef' started by smokeitupbbq, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. smokeitupbbq

    smokeitupbbq Newbie

    Going to be smoking about 3 briskets, sausage and 6 or so racks of beef ribs for my 25th birthday in Jan and i wanted some advice on how to get the best ribs possible! Any advice would be great. Thanks, have a good one and smoke it up!
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well, nobody jumped on this one yet, so, I'll tell you what I can...not a huge amount of beef rib experience here, but a little is better than none...mostly a pork rib smoker, myself, but the basics are the same.

    OK, for starters, understand that I really can't say there is a best rib (unless you're speaking of the actual cut of rib, then, I have my favorite), at least not in the sense of a rib that everyone who would be eating it would say is the best. There are different methods to achieve different textures/tenderness of the meat and formation of the bark. You can make a rib with a nice bite, tender chew and a bit of tug...the meat won't separate from the bone without a bit of effort. Or, you can turn out a rib which is nearly fall of the bone tender with a very light chew, or somewhere between the tug/chew and fall apart tender...(I'm talking about being so tender the bone will pull out clean from the slab, or pop out of the slab when handling it).

    The bark can be well developed and heavy, slightly to moderately crisp, or, going to the other extreme, it can be made very soft and moist.

    Your prep and smoke methods will also depend greatly on the rib section and method used for removing the ribs from the side of beef. Mechanically separated beef ribs (typically sold at grocery stores) won't have much meat, mostly bone, and won't take as long to cook, but will also have less fat to render out during cooking. Less fat and meat on ribs can translate to drying out more quickly. One trick to overcome this problem is a bit lower smoking chamber temps, say 215* instead of 225-235*.

    If you have the opportunity to visit a meat market and specify what you want for ribs, they can cut them to your liking, weather it's spares, loin-backs, etc, and they can leave a fair amount of meat on the rib slab. It will take some extra coin to get these ribs vs grocery store, but well worth the extra investment.

    I've only smoked beef loin backs purchased from the store which had a fairly good amount of meat on them, and those I've separated from a 7-bone whole beef rib eye roast (prime rib), which I deliberately cut into a thick slab...that story is part of THIS THREAD.

    So, I guess from this point, I would have to ask you what you want from your ribs? The texture of the meat, the style of the bark? Also, consider where you will be getting your ribs (meat market or grocery store) and which cut of rib. I will say this: the spares will have huge bones and less meat, regardless of where they are bought. Loin-backs are fairly thick and meaty...I really enjoyed smoking and eating them...very hard to mess these up, IMHO. Loin-back pork ribs are great, too, btw.

    Keep in mind, with seasoning of beef, simpler is generally better...KISS method. Beef has a great flavor, so salt, pepper, garlic, and onion if you like. Brown sugar? helps to develop bark, but too much sugar can scorch in time, and depending on the cut of meat and total smoking time can be an issue. Also, consider if there will/could be any diabetics dining on the ribs...added sugars, especially processed sugars can cause problems for them.

    Smoke woods: hickory and cherry blend is very good for ribs and many other cuts of beef. Some pecan along with either or both is very good as well. Mesquite is good in low moderation...can be very heavy and overpowering, so use it sparingly.

    Check out your stores and local meat markets and see what they can do for you for cuts of ribs. Then, let us know some more specifics about what you'll be smoking and we can band together on a good plan of attack for your smoke...sound good?

    Hope I didn't throw too much out there at you all at once and confuse the daylights out of you, but, all things you should consider, and when we know more about the specifics, we can get down to the nitty-gritty business end of how to smoke your ribs. Techniques can vary greatly, depending on the cut and what you want from it...lot's of variables, but it can all be worked out.

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm also with the buy the est and meatest that you can fine. That mean spend the money needed to. Now I have not done alot but I persoanlly like a long bone short rib the best. I smoke them by temp for they are alot meatier then normal beef ribs. If you can find some really meaty go for it and then tel me where I can buy them to. The ones I find here in Fla look like they have been hacked on and then thrown into the package. That why I go with short ribs.

    Now I smoke theses by temp and I take them to 200°ish and they are really tender and moist to. I have tried theses with the 3-2-1 method and they just came out tough but good flavor I just like my ribs more tender then that.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  4. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    There are a couple different lines of thought on beef ribs. Some people do them 3-2-1 and others cook them to 140-150 I've done them both ways and honestly can't say which I prefer. As Mark said it's hard to find good beef ribs in Fl so i don't so them often
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Man we don't get meaty ribs like that down here Mark.
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Well guys theses are short ribs that I get from restuarant depot they just aren't cut into short ribs yet.
  7. smokeitupbbq

    smokeitupbbq Newbie

    Is there a more tender way than the 3-2-1 method???
  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     I tend to like short ribs better also, unless you can find those long boned short ribs. Those are so thick, just throw them on a grill and take them to 140º.


     Plain short ribs I like to marinade in Mojo Crillio, then throw them into an aluminum pan. Leave some Mojo in the pan and spoon it over the ribs till they are done. Rotate the ribs as needed. 4 to 4 1/2 hours at 250º in the smoker will do ya. I do not like to over do my beef.


  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Not really, as it's a pretty good balance for a base-line...well, unless you go with 2-3-1 (less smoke, more foiled), or 2-4-0 / 3-3-0 (omit the open grate after foiled) can play with the times in the smoke, as well as foiled and back to open grate. Omitting the open grate time after foiling will give you a very soft and moist surface with little to no actual bark. The foiled time is where it's easiest to get more tenderness vs open grate smoking alone.

    All you're really doing with the third stage is drying the bark (to set it up again) and give it a firmer exterior texture, and slightly crisping the bark if your grate temp is high enough (and if that's what you're actually wanting from the bark). Some folks like to go straight from the foil to a hot grill for a couple minutes on each side of the rib to set the bark, and this will get some crispy spots from the fat/dry rub, also, and carmelize (darken) the bark somewhat. With a really hot preheated grill, you can get some great sear marks on the meat side of a slab, and, if you like, you can keep the rest of the bark somewhat softer...this takes very short exposure time on super-hot preheated grill, straight out of the foil.

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  10. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like good solid advice to me guys.  Thanks for filling in while I was gone a couple days. 

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