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posted May 16, 2022

Smoked Beef Ribs

Smoked beef ribs are the newest (and most glorious) meat trend to hit the BBQ scene. These mammoth mouthfuls of meat adorn the best BBQ platters with a hefty bit of beef packed with delicious flavor.

Stack of beef ribs on a wooden cutting board with text overlay - Smoked Beef Ribs.

What are Beef Ribs?

To begin, let’s talk about the cut of beef you’re looking for when smoking beef ribs. I know that sometimes that sea of meats at the grocery store can be intimidating. Skip the pre-packaged stuff and simply ask your butcher for beef ribs. These beefy, beautiful ribs come from the lower end of the ribs and often have a good 1-2 inches of meat right on top of the bone.

You do not want back ribs for this recipe (however, I do have a recipe for Beef Back Ribs if you’re interested in making this cut). Those have hardly any meat on the bone and only about an inch of meat between bones. These types of ribs are often called “shiners” because there is so little meat on top that the bones shine through while cooking.

The thick cuts that are the best for smoking come in two different varieties.

  1. Chuck ribs. Usually come in a 4-bone beef rib section (bones are also usually a little shorter with slightly less meat)
  2. Plate ribs. Have 3 big bones and a higher layer of meat on top of the beef rib.

Different pitmasters prefer different cuts, but either one works perfectly with this recipe. I used a 4-bone section of chuck ribs for this one because it was what my butcher had in stock, but plate ribs are a perfect substitute!

Beef rib membrane being pulled off the ribs.


Smoked Beef Ribs

This recipe was a big hit when I made it during the second episode of Food Network’s show BBQ Brawl. While I used my awesome Homemade Coffee Rub for that challenge (which the judges LOVED), my Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub tastes totally amazing on these ribs.

Also, I was under a time crunch on BBQ Brawl, so I smoked between 275 and 325 degrees F to have these ribs done in under 5 hours. When you have the time, definitely cook at 250 degrees F for a longer period of time. Mustard-slathered beef ribs being sprinkled with Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub.


Beef Ribs Seasoning

I like to keep my seasonings pretty simple when it comes to big, beefy cuts like these smoked beef ribs. You gotta just let the meat and the smoke do the talking. I did add a little element of heat by using Dijon mustard to keep everybody on their toes. It’s not spicy, rather a warm and amazing melt-in-your-mouth bit of smoked beef rib goodness.

All you need to season these ribs is my Beef Rub. It’s an awesome salt and pepper-based dry rub that was made to compliment the flavors of grilled and smoked beef. You can purchase this from the Hey Grill Hey Store. If you don’t have any on hand, you can use equal parts Kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and garlic powder.

Beef Ribs on the smoker being spritzed.

How to Smoke Beef Ribs

Low and slow is the name of the game when smoking beef ribs. You need enough smoke to properly season the meat and give you that beautiful dark coveted bark. These guys also need plenty of time to render that fat and tough connective tissue to get them to a perfect fall-off-the-bone texture.

  1. Prep. There is a layer of fat on top of the ribs and another papery membrane on the bone side of the ribs. You can ask your butcher to remove the membrane or you can do it at home. Either way, that membrane is not very pleasant to eat and you want it gone. If you’re doing it at home, work a butter knife underneath the membrane, use a paper towel to get a good grip, and lift it off.
  2. Season. Slather the trimmed ribs in spicy Dijon mustard (make sure to get a variety that contains horseradish), and season liberally with either my Beef Rub or equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder. The mustard gives a little hint of flavor while also helping that dry rub cling to the outside of the ribs.
  3. Smoke. With your smoker preheated to 250 degrees F, place the seasoned ribs on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 3 hours.
  4. Spritz. Spritz these ribs with a vinegar and hot sauce blend (recipe below!). These ribs are not wrapped, so to keep things moist and help develop that yummy bark, the spritz is crucial. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is too spicy, it’s really not. It just adds a little extra bite and “wow” to the ribs (kind of like how I use vinegar in my Carolina Style Pulled Pork). Continue to smoke until the ribs reach 203 degrees F.
  5. Rest, slice, and serve. When you’ve hit your target 203 degrees F, it’s important to let them rest. Wrap them up in butcher paper, transfer to a cooler, cover with a towel, and rest for an hour before slicing into individual ribs and serving.

Beef ribs being wrapped in peach butcher paper.

How Long to Smoke Beef Ribs

It will take about 8-10 hours to fully smoke beef ribs. This time can vary from rack to rack, so be sure to give yourself plenty of wiggle room if your particular rack of ribs takes less or more time than this guide.

Rather than smoking based off cooking time, go off the internal temperature of the meat. The temperature of the meat will guarantee your food is cooked to the perfect doneness.

Beef ribs being sliced on a wooden cutting board.

Temperature for Beef Ribs

Once your beautiful ribs are seasoned and slow smoking, it’s time to finish it up and bring it all together. Smoke the ribs to an internal temperature of 203 degrees F, and this is where a good meat thermometer is absolutely crucial.

Smoked beef ribs are a slow process and require nice consistent smoker temperatures and a perfect internal temperature on the meat to get optimum results. If you follow the instructions in this post, you’ll be enjoying fall-off-the-bone in no time!

Four beef ribs lined up on a wooden cutting board.

More Beef Ribs Recipes

Oh hey there! I see you like ribs just as much as I do, and did you know that Hey Grill Hey has a variety of recipes for smoking beef ribs ready for you to make yourself? It’s true! Check some out below:

Beef Ribs Recipe

Follow the video below and I’ll show you how to make this smoked beef ribs recipe at home! I’m all about helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a BBQ hero. If you want to see more of my recipes, tips, and behind-the-scenes action, follow along on my social channels. You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube!

Stack of beef ribs on a wooden cutting board.

Smoked Beef Ribs

Susie Bulloch
Smoked beef ribs are the newest (and most glorious) meat trend to hit the BBQ scene. These mammoth mouthfuls of meat adorn the best BBQ platters with a hefty bit of beef packed with delicious flavor.
4.95 from 20 votes
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 8 hrs
Resting Time : 1 hr
Total Time : 9 hrs 15 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 45kcal



  • 1 4-bone section beef ribs ((about 4-5 pounds))
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard with horseradish
  • 6 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub (or equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder)

Rib Spritz

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup hot sauce


  • Preheat the smoker. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F for indirect cooking. Use a hardwood, like oak or hickory, to generate the best smoke for these ribs.
  • Season. Slather your ribs with the Dijon mustard. Season liberally on all sides with Beef Rub, or the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Smoke the ribs. Place your ribs on the smoker and insert the meat thermometer probe in the thickest part of the meat (without touching the bone). Program your thermometer alert to sound at 203 degrees F. Close the lid, and smoke the ribs for 3 hours.
  • Spritz the beef ribs and continue smoking. In a food safe spray bottle, shake the vinegar and hot sauce together. After the initial 3 hour smoke, begin spritzing your ribs every 45 minutes to an hour. Continue smoking until the ribs have reached an internal temperature of 203 degrees F. This process typically takes between 8-10 hours, but every rack is a little different.
  • Rest, slice, and serve. Remove the ribs from the smoker, wrap in foil, butcher paper, or unwaxed parchment paper and let rest in an insulated cooler for at least an hour before slicing and serving.


Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 90mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg
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**This post was originally published April 2018. It has since been updated with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

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