Simple Beef Ribs Recipe

Simple Beef Ribs Recipe. I think a lot of backyard grillers are a bit intimidated by beef ribs. If it’s hard to get them how is one supposed to practice with them? Not a lot of barbecue restaurants carry them and it seems even fewer butchers/grocery stores sell beef ribs. If a butcher or grocer carries beef ribs, they usually process them down to beef short ribs. They don’t carry these monster plate ribs also known as “steaks on a stick,” or, “brisket on a stick.” 
 
A package beef ribs
It’s hard to envision what these will look like when cooked. There are three bones hidden in that meat and fat, I promise.

Where to find beef ribs

Any decent butcher can order them, it just takes a little extra planning. Ask the butcher to provide them to you before they are cut into the smaller rib portions and you might even get a discount on the beef short ribs per pound rate because the ribs don’t have to be processed. Warehouse stores might have them in the case from time to time as well. I think the rarity (and price) of this amazing protein scares people. Once you find a source, you can practice at will. Let us help you practice with this simple beef ribs recipe.

Simple Beef Ribs Recipe Ingredients:

Notice there is no BBQ sauce listed here. Beef ribs don’t need a sauce. A simple rub which creates an amazing flavor crust is all that is needed. And that flavor crust (or bark) is absolutely glorious. 
 
I had my first properly prepared beef rib a few years back at an Operation Barbecue Relief event while attending the American Royal in Kansas City. It was wonderful! I couldn’t believe what I had, it was like brisket on a stick. I thought I’d love to be able to recreate that hunk of deliciousness but I had zero experience with the unfamiliar cut. Fast forward to this year when I discovered that a store had them readily available. Take a look at what the beef ribs look like unpackaged:
A slab of beef ribs ready to trim
Trimming is going to take a lot more effort than a slab of pork ribs
That was the meat side. Now let’s flip them over and check out the bone side. Uh oh! That doesn’t look simple. Patience grasshopper. Allow me to make it simple for you:
The membrane on the bone side of beef ribs
That membrane on the beef ribs is waaaayyyy thicker than pork ribs

BBQ Beef Ribs Preparation

The membrane must be removed just like pork ribs but this membrane is thicker and tougher than the pork counterpart. Let me introduce you to the spoon method. Insert a soup/cereal spoon as shown and work it around to loosen the membrane:
A spoon being used to peel the membrane back from beef ribs
Why a spoon and not a knife? The spoon is rounded on the end of the handle and less likely to pierce the membrane which would make the process more difficult. 
Once loosened, grip the membrane with a paper towel and peel. Simple, eh?
Pulling the membrane from the beef ribs
It is actually easier than it looks. The membrane can come off in one fell swoop similar to pork ribs
It’s peeled but there’s still a lot of stuff in need of further trimming:
Beef ribs with the the membrane removed
Time to clean the beef ribs up a little
Slide the filet/boning knife blade under the additional membrane material to remove it. Some suggest leaving this intact to hold the meat together. I called bullshit on that. I want the rub and smoke to hit as much meat surface as possible:
Trimming the beef ribs
Trim dem ribs!!!
Isn’t that better? Let’s move on to the meat side:
Trimmed beef ribs
Clean as a whistle!
Work the blade under and lift. This side trims easily and simply:
Trimming the meat side of the ribs
Check out that marbling!
Flip the ribs over with the bone side up and apply spicy mustard to the meat portion showing and top with your favorite beef rub. I used one of my preferred coarse grind steak rubs:
Beef ribs slathered with mustard
Mustard is a fantastic way to bind the rub to the meat. And no, it doesn’t taste like mustard. The mustard melts away as the ribs cook.
Flip back to the meaty side and repeat the seasoning process:
Meat side slathered with mustard
Make sure to slather and season both sides
Mustard slathered and rubbed beef ribs
Slathered AND Seasoned!
Option: Cover and refrigerate overnight or head straight to the grill/smoker. This is my preferred method.
 

Out to the grill

The pan? I used it to transport the beef ribs to the cooker but it will come into play a little later:
Seasoned beef ribs ready for the grill
Ready for the grill!
You might want to order those aluminum pans in bulk. We use them all the time. From smoking beans to holding the prime rib while we smoke it for Christmas dinner. 

How to Grill Simple Beef Ribs

Back to the BBQ beef ribs recipe. Set up for indirect cooking or two zone grilling – coals and smoke wood on one side and ribs on the other (cool) side:
Beef ribs ready for the smoke and heat
Beef ribs ready for the smoke and heat
Cooking temperature range is 275F-300F. Hey! Don’t dis my crusty thermometer! As long as the cooking range is visible it’s ok, right?
A grill thermometer showing 260F
That’s a well loved grill and thermometer

How to cook beef ribs in the oven

Truth be told, these can be cooked in the oven. Simply set the oven to 300 and substitute the oven for a grill in this beef ribs recipe. Keep in mind there will not be any smoke flavor (or smoke ring) and will not have the same kind of bark because, particularly if it is an electric oven because fire and smoke are good things. 
 
One hour in and the bones are peeking out already:
Bones peeking out from the meat
Told you there were bones in there!
Two hours in and the bones are really showing:
Smoked beef ribs
Yabba dabba DOOOOOOOOO

Add the liquids

For the third hour place the ribs into a half pan with cooling grate at the bottom. Add a cup of beef broth and a cup of dry red wine:
Adding broth and wine to the pan
Time to add some joo joo (juice)
I used some leftover red wine but if wine isn’t your thing then add more broth or water. Cook another hour uncovered to get as much smoke flavor as possible:
Red wine and broth in the pan with the beef ribs
A little broth and leftover red wine go a long way

The bones know when the ribs are done

Bones are really showing now and notice the wonderful flavor crust forming:
Bones peeking out at both ends!
Bones peeking out at both ends!
3 hours in and reading 176 internal temp. Time to wrap:
Beef ribs reading 176 degrees on an instant read thermomete
Always use a probe thermometer and always cook to temp not to time
If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, we highly recommend a Thermapen. They are extremely accurate, durable and the only true insurance policy to make sure the food is done right. Stop guessing if the food is done right and know it is done right. See, all the times in this recipe are extremely subjective. Even if you follow this recipe to a tee, if your slab of beef ribs is smaller or bigger or has more fat or less fat, the times are going to be way off for your cook than this one. Not to mention if the heat of your fire is different from mine. Get the thermometer. Trust me here. 

And alternative to foil

Now back to the BBQ beef ribs recipe. Let me show you how to simplify the wrapping process. Rather than using foil or butcher paper, simply cover with another half pan. Using these two pans will keep the moisture inside the chamber without wrecking the beautiful bark. In the past with short ribs I’ve braised them in the liquid but I didn’t want to make the bark mushy so into the rib humidor they went for the next 2 hours:
Beef ribs inside 2 aluminum pans
OK, humidor may not be the best analogy, but you get the idea
After the beef ribs have been in the aluminum pan chamber for 2 hours:
Beef Ribs just about ready to eat
I really wanted to mash them right here!
My target temp was 205F to 210F which is just a bit more than the typical 203 for brisket. While the temp is important the critical factor is when they probe like butter which may take a bit more than 203F.
Beef ribs reading 207
Probe like butter means that the probe slides in and out with complete ease.

Bark or burnt?

Thirty minute rest next or you could wrap in foil or butcher paper (and then in a towel) and hold longer in an empty cooler or a turned off microwave or oven as is done with brisket:
Beef ribs ready to slice
If you chose burnt, turn in your man card!

What is bark?

It’s the tastiest part of the meat. It’s that black outer coating of the meat that forms when the rub combines with smoke and the fat that renders out of the meat as the heat cooks the beef ribs. The black color comes from the smoke. For those who haven’t had great bark, it may not look all that great, but for those that know, that’s the best part right there!
 
Bark? Check.
Smoke ring? Check.
Juicy? Check.
Tender? Check.
Smoky savory flavor? Check.
Like brisket on a stick! Check!
Priceless!
Sliced beef ribs
Whadya think?
How about a close up shot dropped on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes?
A beef rib on a pile of mashed potatoes
Mmmmmmm Smoke ring and glisten!

Simple Beef Ribs Plated

Here’s a little fancier plate:
Simple Beef Ribs Recipe
A little asparagus and chives go a long way to make for a fancy plate
Another sure fire way to know they are done to perfection? The bones slide out clean:
Would I do anything differently next time? Probably, because I love to experiment in an effort to improve upon the previous cook(s). Wet aging the ribs for 30 days or a beefy flavor injection (or both) would be a couple options. But remember, keep it simple.
 
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.
 
And if you liked this simple beef ribs recipe, give this one a shot
 

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5 from 1 vote

Simple Beef Ribs Recipe

A simple beef ribs recipe guaranteed to be as delicious as it is easy to make by keeping it to the basics and featuring some tricks to save time and effort
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 hrs 30 mins
Total Time5 hrs 50 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Barbecue

Ingredients

  • 1 beef plate ribs (3-bone section)
  • spicy mustard
  • coarse grind steak seasoning or your favorite beef rub
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup dry red wine (you can easily substitute water for the wine and broth if you wish)

Instructions

  • Trim the membrane off the back of the ribs by using a spoon handle to get between the meat and the membrane and peel the membrane back and discard
  • Trim the rest of the fat off the meat on the bone side and then do the same on the meat side
  • Slather with mustard and then hit the beef ribs with your favorite beef rub
  • Set up the grill for two zone grilling/indirect cooking with coals/smoke wood on one side and the meat on the other
  • Target temp inside the grill is 275-325
  • Smoke until the ribs hit approximately 175F internal (about 3 hours, but remember cook to temp, not time)
  • Then place the beef ribs on top of a cooling rack in an aluminum pan and pour in the broth and red wine
  • Place another aluminum pan on top, upside down to keep the moisture in
  • After another approximate 2 hours of cooking, the ribs should be a little over 200 degrees
  • Remove from the heat, allow to rest and serve.
Greg Thomas

Greg Thomas

Greg Thomas

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2 comments

5 stars
Hi,
I see you’re getting these from Costco. The one at Manchester and 141 usually have them. Sometimes they are together and sometimes they cut them into single bones. Man, are they good! Nice tip about the spoon. I will have to try that. Have you tried the little chuck riblets from Walmart? Although smaller they don’t take as long to cook.
George

Reply

Thanks for your comments George. I usually find the beef ribs at the Costco at Lindbergh/55. I have not tried the chuck riblets from Wal-Mart. I’ll have to give that a look.
I hope you had some great grilling this past holiday weekend. Sorry it took so long to get back to you sir.

Yours in grilling,
Greg

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