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If you want to cook a big hunk of beef, but you’re nervous about smoking a brisket, make smoked dino ribs. They are a great choice because they’re nearly impossible to mess up because they are extremely marbled and pack so much flavor.
What are dino ribs?
These massive beef ribs are often referred to as dinosaur ribs because the large bones are around 6-8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Like tomahawk steaks, they are super trendy on the internet, because their size is just so impressive.
The rib meat is full of marbling because it comes from the plate primal (or belly) of a cow. When smoked slow and low, the meat melts in your mouth like butter.
Beef plate ribs are short ribs, but they are different from the shorter 3-4-inch long English-cut short ribs. Those come from the rib or chuck primal on the cow. Those smoked short ribs still taste amazing, but they’re just not as sexy as these big bones.
Read my tutorial to learn more about beef rib varieties
Next to the big hunk of beef, the vinaigrette in this recipe is a true showstopper. It’s accented with the same rub used on the meat, but the pop of acid cuts through the fat, making every last bite unforgettable.
Beef Plate Ribs: Be sure to look for plate short ribs. These are short ribs cut from the belly of the cow. You may have to special order them online or from your local grocery store.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Place this in a food-safe spray bottle to spritz the meat as it cooks. You can also use apple juice, beef stock, beer or even water.
Sweet + Smoky Garlic Rub: This is a homemade dry rub that includes a combination of kosher salt, coconut palm sugar, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Then, fresh garlic and olive oil are added to create a binder.
Sweet + Smoky Garlic Vinaigrette: This condiment is made by combining some of the above rub with olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic, hot sauce, fresh parsley and salt.
Substitutions: Instead of using my sweet and smoky garlic rub, you can season the ribs with your favorite beef rub or a combination of equal parts kosher salt, black pepper and granulated garlic.
See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.
How to smoke dino bones
Heat your grill or smoker to 250-275F degrees with an indirect heat setting.
- For a kettle charcoal grill, push the lit coals to one side and adjust the vents.
- For a pellet grill, simply set the temperature to 250F degrees.
- If you’re using a gas grill, turn one burner on and adjust it until the grill temperature is stable. To add smoky flavor, place wood chips in a foil pouch.
- STEP ONE: In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients. Take 2 teaspoons of the rub and place it in a separate bowl with all of the vinaigrette ingredients except for the fresh parsley. Whisk that together. Set the vinaigrette aside.
- STEP TWO: Using a sharp knife, remove and discard any noticeable silver skin or large deposits of excess fat on the top of the plate ribs. There is no need to remove the membrane from the back. Apply the rub, focusing on the top and sides of the ribs. Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- STEP THREE: Place the ribs on the smoker with the bones down over the indirect heat. Every half hour to hour, spritz them with apple cider vinegar. Smoke them until the internal temperature reaches 205F degrees. That will take about 6 hours.
To measure the temperature, insert your instant read thermometer through the side of the beef ribs into the thickest part of the meat. They should be probe tender. This means when you insert the temperature probe, it should glide in with little resistance.
PRO TIP: If you are smoking wagyu beef ribs, cook them until the ribs reach 207-210F degrees. This will allow the marbling to fully render.
- STEP FOUR: Remove the ribs from the smoker. Wrap them in aluminum foil to keep warm, and let them rest for 30 minutes.
- STEP FIVE: Just before serving, whisk the parsley into the vinaigrette.
How to serve beef dino ribs
These smoked beef ribs are real showstoppers, so serving them is all about the presentation.
For entertainment purposes, present the bones on a platter and slice them in front of your friends and family. Then, instead of using BBQ sauce, drizzle them with the sweet and smoky vinaigrette. It really elevates the flavors and accentuates the beef.
To serve, run your knife under the meat to separate it from the top of the bones. Then, slice the rib meat into 1/4-inch thick slices and serve with more vinaigrette. You can discard the thick membrane on the bottom of the bones. It’s too tough to eat.
For a beautiful presentation, serve atop a charred salad. Toss kale stems, cherry tomatoes and padrón peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill them over direct heat, spritzing with apple cider vinegar. Grill until charred.
For another side, add sweet potatoes to the smoker an hour before the ribs are complete.
These ribs are great with a big, robust red wine.
If you want to try something really different from this cut of short plate ribs, check out this tutorial on How to Butcher Tomahawk Short Ribs.
Leftover smoked dino ribs meat can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Leftover meat can also be frozen for up to six months.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- Remove any noticeable silverskin or fat
- Rub liberally
- Smoke at 250-275F degrees for 5-6 hours spritzing regularly
- Cook to an internal temperature of 205F degrees
- Let rest 30 minutes before slicing
Frequently Asked Questions
Most grocery stores don’t stock dino ribs or beef plate ribs at the meat counter, but any butcher should be able to special order them for you.
The key is you need to ask them to order cut 123A. That is the official item number across the United States. The official product name for cut 123A is Short Plate, Short Ribs, Trimmed. They will generally come with 3 bones.
You can also find plate ribs at Costco’s business centers or you can order them online from meat retailers like Snake River Farms.
When smoking at 250-275F degrees, it will take between 5-6 hours for a 3-bone rack of dino ribs to smoke to an internal temperature of around 205F degrees. If you smoke the ribs at 225F degrees, it can take up to 8 hours.
Personally, I don’t wrap dino ribs in butcher paper or foil when smoking them. You don’t need to. The purpose of wrapping is to help lock in moisture and to speed up the cooking process.
Dino ribs have so much marbling that they will stay juicy all on their own without the wrap. And by keeping them unwrapped, they are continuously exposed to the smoke and are building a beautiful bark.
Each dino rib will weigh about 2-3 pounds, including the bone. One bone will feed 2-3 people, so an entire 3-bone rack serves 6-9 people.
All plate ribs are short ribs, but all short ribs aren’t plate ribs. Short ribs can be cut from the plate, rib or chuck primal of the cow.
Dino ribs, or plate ribs, are only cut from the plate primal, which is the belly. This area has a lot more marbling, resulting in more tender, beefy ribs.
More Beef Ribs Recipes
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Smoked Dino Bones (Beef Plate Ribs)
- 5 lb beef plate short ribs
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Sweet + Smoky Garlic Rub
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tsp coconut palm sugar
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Sweet + Smoky Garlic Vinaigrette (optional)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- Heat Smoker: Heat your smoker to 250-275F degrees with an indirect heat zone.
- Make Rub + Dressing: Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 2 teaspoons in another bowl. In that bowl, whisk in all of the vinaigrette ingredients except for the parsley and set aside.
- Trim: Using a sharp knife, remove any noticeable silverskin or fat from the top of the ribs.
- Season: Rub the plate short ribs with the remaining rub. Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Smoke: Place the ribs on the smoker and smoke, spritzing every hour with apple cider vinegar, until they reach an internal temperature of 205F degrees, about 6 hours.
- Rest: Remove from the smoker. Wrap in foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Dress: Just before serving, whisk the parsley into the vinaigrette. Slice the ribs and drizzle with the dressing.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.