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When you start with beautifully marbled meat, there’s not much else you need to do to develop a delicious meal.
What are beef short ribs?
Beef short ribs are such a sought-after cut of meat because when cooked properly, the tender meat just melts like butter, but this cut can be confusing because there are different types of short ribs.
If you’re looking for those big dino ribs with large bones, check out my recipe for Sweet + Smoky Beef Plate Short Ribs. Plate ribs are cut from the belly portion of the ribs.
In addition to being cut from the belly, short ribs can be cut from the side of the rib primal, which includes ribs six through 10. Or, they can be cut from the chuck primal, which includes ribs two through five.
This recipe is for English cut short ribs, which means the short ribs are cut into individual bones that are usually cut in half, so they are about three inches long. The large rectangle of beef rests on top of the bones.
There are also Flanken cut short ribs. They come from the same ribs, but the rack of 3-4 bones is cut into 1/4-inch strips and used to make Grilled Kalbi or Korean Short Ribs.
Read my tutorial to learn more about beef rib varieties
- Beef Short Ribs: At your grocery store meat counter, look for a package of single-bone beef ribs that are about 3-4 inches long. The packaging may say chuck ribs, short ribs or English cut ribs.
- BBQ Rub: The dry rub in this smoked beef short ribs recipe is a simple mix of my award-winning Brisket Rub and a garlic forward rub from my friend Adam McKenzie from This Jew Can Que. The two combined create a nice balance of salt, sweetness and texture.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: To help add moisture and build a nice bark throughout the cook, spritz the ribs with apple cider vinegar, beef broth or even beer.
Substitutions: If you don’t have these rubs, you can use any BBQ rub that goes well with beef like my All-Purpose BBQ Rub or a simple mixture 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 beef short ribs
These beef short ribs can be cooked on any type of smoker or grill over indirect heat. Heat your cooker to 275F degrees and consider using hickory and cherry woods. They pair magically with beef.
If you only have a gas grill, turn one burner on and leave the other burners off. Add smoke flavor by using a foil pouch with wood chips.
- STEP ONE: Start by removing the silverskin from the tops of the meat. Use a sharp knife to work your way under the white layer. Then, slide your knife, trying not to cut too deep into the meat.
- STEP TWO: Rub your seasoning all over the short ribs, focusing on the meat side. Let them rest on the counter at room temperature for 1-2 hours to absorb the flavors. You can also rub them overnight and brine them in the refrigerator for even more flavor.
PRO TIP: Usually, English cut short ribs have been neatly trimmed by the butcher, but if your ribs have a thin layer of silver skin or a fat cap on the top of the meat, use a sharp knife to remove it.
- STEP THREE: Place the ribs on your smoker with the bones down over indirect heat. Smoke the ribs for about 4 hours, spritzing every 30 minutes with apple cider vinegar or beef stock, until the internal temperature reaches 205F degrees.
PRO TIP: When you insert your instant read thermometer into the meat, it should glide in easily with little to no resistance. That internal temp is really important. If you pull them from the smoker too early, they won’t be quite as succulent.
How to serve smoked beef ribs
Remove the ribs from the smoker and let them rest for 20-30 minutes. You can cover them loosely with aluminum foil to keep them warm.
Because smoked short ribs are so rich and buttery, they go well with tart and spicy sides like grilled shishito peppers and pickled red cabbage.
Personally, I like my smoked beef ribs with just a dry rub, but you can also brush them with BBQ sauce during the last 30 minutes of the cooking process or smoke them and serve barbecue sauce on the side.
Smoked beef short ribs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. You can also freeze leftovers for a few months.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- Season the ribs and let the seasoning brine the ribs for at least an hour
- Use hickory and cherry woods to complement the beefy flavor
- Be sure to smoke the ribs until they are tender and reach 205F degrees
Frequently Asked Questions
Beef short ribs usually come 3-4 per package, and the average person will enjoy eating 1-2 bones, depending on what other dishes you’re serving alongside them.
It’s better to buy extra. Any leftover meat can be shredded and heated up later to make some killer tacos.
It can take 6-8 hours of cooking time to smoke beef short ribs at 225F degrees. I prefer to smoke them at 275F degrees. You still get plenty of delicious smoke flavor, and they’re ready in around 4 hours.
Beef short ribs are ready when they reach an internal temperature of 205-210F degrees. You can measure the temp with a digital meat thermometer. Stick the thermometer into the side through the thickest part of the meat toward the center.
No. Beef ribs contain so much great internal fat that you don’t need to wrap them in butcher paper or aluminum foil to do the Texas crutch method. Instead, just spritz them throughout the cook to help keep them moist.
If you live in a dry climate, you can also add moisture by placing a water pan on the smoker.
More Ribs Recipes
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Smoked Beef Short Ribs
- Heat Smoker: Heat the smoker to 275F degrees with an indirect heat zone.
- Season: Combine the rubs in a small bowl. Rub all over the meat. Let rest on the counter for 1-2 hours.
- Smoke: Smoke over indirect heat for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, spritzing every 30 minutes with apple cider vinegar until the meat is soft and reaches an internal temperature of about 205F degrees.
- Rest: Let them rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.