Smoked beef back ribs are a great alternative to the more expensive short ribs and they're still packed with rich beefy flavor.
5 from 1 vote

By Christie Vanover | Published March 21, 2023 | Last Updated April 12, 2023

Home | Recipes | Beef | Smoked Beef Back Ribs

This beef back ribs recipe is so simple. The cooking process just involves seasoning, smoking and saucing.

rack of smoked beef back ribs.

What are beef back ribs?

Beef back ribs are the ribs on a cow that are located in the rib primal section near the ribeye steaks.

They are not big and juicy like short ribs or dino ribs. They have less meat, and the bulk of that meat is intercostal, which means that it rests between the bones. The average weight of a rack of beef back ribs is 3-5 pounds.

The advantage of smoking beef back ribs is that they are usually less expensive than other beef ribs. This rib rack was less than $2 a pound and it’s still packed with beefy flavor.

To learn more about different beef rib cuts, read my tutorial on types of beef ribs.

beef back ribs in packaging.


untrimmed, raw beef back ribs.
  • Beef Back Ribs: Beef back ribs are usually packaged in racks with seven bones. However, sometimes you may find them already sliced into individual bones. You can use those for this recipe, too, just monitor the internal temp. They will likely cook faster.
  • Beef Dry Rub: When it comes to beef, there are two main rubs that I use: either an equal blend of kosher salt, black pepper and granulated garlic or my award-winning brisket rub, which includes those ingredients plus some chiles and cumin.
  • Spritz Ingredients: In a squirt bottle, combine cola with some Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.
bowl of cola bbq sauce along with jar of sauce, can of cola and bottle of hot sauce.
  • Barbecue Sauce: Choose your favorite BBQ sauce for beef. Personally, I like Blue’s Hog Smokey Mountain.
  • Cola: Any type will work. It can be Pepsi, Coke and regular sugar or no sugar. You can even use root beer or Dr. Pepper.
  • Hot Sauce: To balance out the sweetness, add a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How to smoke beef back ribs

Start by heating your smoker to 275F degrees with an indirect heat zone.

If you have a kettle charcoal grill, push the lit coals to one side and smoke the ribs on the grill grate over the side without coals.

For a gas grill, turn on one burner. Adjust that burner until the grill temperature reaches 275F degrees. Cook on the side with the burners turned off. To add smoke, use wood chips in a foil pouch.

If you have a pellet grill, simply set the temperature to 275F degrees.

For the Ninja Woodfire Grill, add pellets to the smoke box, set the function to smoke and the temperature to 275F degrees.

  1. STEP ONE: Just like with baby back pork ribs, you need to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Slide a butter knife or fillet knife under the membrane. Once it’s lifted, use a paper towel to grip the membrane and pull it off.

Try to remove as much as you can. Then, discard.

  1. STEP TWO: Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Season the ribs on both sides with the rub. You can smoke the ribs right away or let them rest with the seasonings in the refrigerator. I like to rub them the night before for added flavor.
seasoned beef back ribs on pan.
  1. STEP THREE: Place the ribs on the heated grill with the bones down. Close the lid and smoke for 2-3 hours, spritzing every 30 minutes with a mixture of cola and Worcestershire sauce.
seasoned beef back ribs on grill.

PRO TIP: The cook time will vary depending on how thick and beefy your rack of ribs is. This rack only took 2 hours to reach the proper internal temperature when smoked at 275F degrees. Meatier racks will take longer.

To measure the temperature of the meat, insert an instant read thermometer into the meat between the bones.

  1. STEP FOUR: Once the ribs reach an internal temperature of 205 degrees, brush them with a mixture of barbecue sauce, cola and hot sauce. Let them smoke for 15 more minutes.
basting cola BBQ sauce on beef back ribs.
  1. STEP FIVE: Remove the cooked ribs from the grill and let them rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
sliced smoked beef back ribs on black platter with sauce.

How to serve beef back ribs

Once the beef back ribs are sliced into individual ribs, serve them with extra cola BBQ sauce and your favorite sides.

There is not a lot of meat on beef back ribs, so plan on one rack for every two people.

sliced smoked beef back ribs.


You can store leftover ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze them for up to six months.

GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Remove the membrane from the back of the bones
  • If you have extra time, let the seasoning rest on the ribs overnight
  • Smoke at 275F degrees to an internal temperature of 205F degrees

Frequently Asked Questions

Are beef back ribs the same as baby back ribs?

No. Beef back ribs come from a cow; whereas baby back ribs come from a pig.

Are beef back ribs short ribs?

No. There are many different cuts of short ribs on a cow, but beef back ribs are not one of them. Read my tutorial to learn more about the different Types of Beef Ribs.

Should I wrap beef back ribs?

In my opinion, there is no need to wrap the ribs. They contain enough fat that they’ll stay juicy as they smoke. But if you’re a huge fan of using the Texas Crutch method and wrapping meat in butcher paper or aluminum foil, go for it.

Can you cook beef back ribs in the oven?

Yes, but they won’t be smoky. Follow this recipe, but instead of using a smoker, heat your oven to 275F degrees. Bake the ribs on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Once the baked beef back ribs reach the proper internal temperature, add sauce.

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rack of smoked beef back ribs.

Smoked Beef Back Ribs

Smoked beef back ribs are a great alternative to the more expensive short ribs and they're still packed with rich beefy flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 2



  • 1/2 cup cola
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Sauce (optional)

  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp cola
  • 2 dashes hot sauce


  • Heat Smoker: Heat your smoker to 275F degrees with an indirect heat zone.
  • Prep: Place the ribs bones up. Using a knife, work your way under the membrane to loosen it. With a paper towel in your hand, grab the membrane and remove it from the bones.
  • Season: Apply the rub all over the ribs, focusing on the meat side.
  • Make Spritz + Sauce: Combine the spritz ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to mix. In a small bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients.
  • Smoke: Place the ribs on the smoker with the bones down. Close the grill. Smoke for 2-3 hours, spritzing every 30 minutes with the cola spray.
  • Sauce: Once the ribs reach an internal temperature of 205F degrees, brush them with sauce. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Rest: Remove from the grill. Allow the ribs to rest for 15 minutes. Then, slice between the bones.



I recommend using my award-winning Brisket Rub on these ribs. It goes great on all things beef. A mix of equal parts of kosher salt, course-ground black pepper and granulated garlic also tastes great.
Texas Rub from BBQ Guys is also a great dry rub option.
The sauce is optional. If you choose not to use it, remove the ribs after they reach 205F degrees.


Calories: 677kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 34gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 1056mgPotassium: 758mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 226IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 2mg

This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator

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