Smoked Beef Ribs

August 27, 2019

Smoked Beef Ribs are the newest (and most glorious) meat trend to hit the BBQ scene. If you follow any grilling gurus on social media, you’re bound to see pictures of these mammoth mouthfuls of meat adorning the best BBQ platters.

Smoked Beef Ribs on peach butcher paper

What are Beef Ribs?

First, let’s start with the cut of beef you’re looking for. 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. Those have hardly any meat on the bone and only about an inch of meat between bones. These type of ribs are often called “shiners” because there is so little meat on top that the bones shine through while cooking.

The thick beef ribs that are the best for smoking come in two different varieties. Chuck ribs, which usually come in a 4-bone section (bones are also usually a little shorter with slightly less meat) and plate ribs which have 3 big bones and a higher layer of meat on top. 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!

You’ll often see 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.

Smoked Beef Ribs Seasoning

Next up, we’ve gotta chat seasoning. I like to keep my seasonings pretty simple when it comes to big, beefy cuts like this. You gotta just let the meat and the smoke do the talking. That said, I did add a little element of heat to keep everybody on their toes. It’s not spicy, just a warm and amazing melt in your mouth bit of smoked beef rib goodness.

I start by slathering my trimmed ribs in spicy Dijon mustard (make sure to get a variety that contains horseradish), and seasoning liberally with either my awesome salt and pepper based Signature Beef Seasoning, or a simple mix of Kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and garlic powder. The mustard gives a little hint of flavor while also helping that rub cling to the outside of the 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 Beef Seasoning 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.

How to Smoke Beef Ribs

How to Smoke Beef Ribs

Finally, we’ve got to talk technique! Low and slow is the name of the game with these smoked beef plate 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 melt-in-your mouth texture.

For these ribs, I’m spritzing with a vinegar and hot sauce blend. I’m choosing not to wrap (like I often do with my briskets) because I feel like the fat content in the ribs can stand up to a little more smoke exposure. However, 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).

Cooking Temperature for BBQ Beef Ribs

Once your beautiful ribs are seasoned and slow smoking, it’s time to finish it up and bring it all together. I smoke my ribs to an internal temperature of 203 degrees F, and this is where a good meat thermometer is absolutely crucial. Smoked beef chuck ribs are a slow process and require nice consistent smoker temperatures and a perfect internal temperature on the meat to get optimum results.

When you’ve hit your target 203 degrees F for the ribs, it’s important to let them rest. Wrap them up in a little butcher paper, transfer to a cooler, cover with a towel, and let them rest for an hour before slicing into individual ribs and serving. These things are so good, sauce isn’t even necessary (but is totally optional).

More 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 smoked ribs recipes ready for you to make yourself? It’s true! Check some out below:

Maple Bourbon Smoked Ribs
Smoked Pork Ribs
Crispy Sticky Smoked Spare Ribs

Beef Ribs Recipe

Follow the video below and let’s make something delicious! 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!

smoked beef chuck ribs
Print Recipe
5 from 9 votes

Smoked Beef Plate Ribs

Smoked Beef Ribs are the newest (and most glorious) meat trend to hit the BBQ scene. If you follow any grilling gurus on social media, you're bound to see pictures of these mammoth mouthfuls of meat adorning the best BBQ platters. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Barbecue
Keyword: Smoked Beef Ribs
Servings: 4 people


Simple Beef Rub (Can be used in place of Beef Seasoning)

  • 2 Tablespoons coarse Kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder

Rib Spritz

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce


  • 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.
  • Slather your ribs with the Dijon mustard. Season liberally on all sides with my Signature Beef Rub, or the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


**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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65 thoughts on “Smoked Beef Ribs

  1. Hey there !

    Quick question when it comes to long smoking times such as this, brisket pulled pork etc. Sometimes it is hard with the gap in time to plan dinner for guests as it can be a two hour window or so. Do you have a favorite way to keep the meat warm if done early to avoid reheating ? Or do you have a reheating method you recommend ? Thanks so much !

    1. Hey Cole- I usually wrap in butcher paper or foil and then with a beach towel and then I keep the whole thing in a cooler. This will keep your meat hot enough to serve for several hours.

    1. Hey Liz- you can’t really smoke inside of your oven without creating a little bit of a fire hazard. You can definitely bake these in the oven, just follow the time and temperature instructions on the recipe. If you want to add some smoky flavor, add some smoked paprika into the rub.

    2. Another alternative is liquid smoke which is a real smoke product. Mix it in with your mustard seasonings. You can find liquid smoke at many grocery stores.

    1. Hey Randy- I’ve checked on all of my browsers and devices and the video shows up on all of them! Just above the recipe card. Do you mind telling me what browser you’re using? I’d love to get to the bottom of this! Thanks so much!!

    1. This recipe was really intended for the smoker. In a slow cooker, I would do low for 7-8 hours, but I haven’t tested it myself. If you try it, you can come back and let me know how it works out!

    1. That depends on your smoker and how you smoke. Smoke these how you smoke any long smoke. It is no different. Just remember the mop/spritz for moisture and flavor. The rest is straight up how you smoke on your smoker.

  2. Is there anything else I can substitute the Dijon with? We’ve got a mustard allergy in the group. I’d like to feed them and not send them into anaphylactic shock. LOL!!

  3. In the video it says “smoke for 3 hours” but in the recipe it says the total cook time is 8 hours. Please explain as I want to do this today but I do not have the 8 hour time frame!

    1. Hey Ron! So sorry I am just getting to your question! You smoke for the intial 3 hours, then you will begin spritzing the ribs every 45 minutes until the ribs reach 205, this can take an additional 5-7 hours, making the totally cooking time 8-10 hours. Hope that helps!

  4. Just made these ribs yesterday on my Traegersay, everyone love them, followed exactly but forgot to put the mustard on, didn’t matter fantastic. Am a hero for your brisket also, you are making me look real smart. Thanks!,

  5. We don’t have a regular smoker. We have a large round Weber and a really big rectangular regular grill. Can we use either of those instead & usevrhe big chunks?

  6. Where do you get those thermometers you were using? With the app and those makes smoking a cinch, as far as keeping an eye on temps.

  7. I never temp ribs. Alot depends on the quality of the beef being used, but 8 hours to me is overkill. Also the 203 OCD demand. When we use to get great beef we use to just grill them to 145 IT. Now it seems 5 hours will have you well into the 165+ IT that is considered ‘well done’ for beef. Of course I do smoke at 245-250º. Try backing off a bit and see what you think.

  8. Absolutely love everything about your site. It’s officially my new fave. I have a Weber grill, traeger 34, and a pit boss 24″ charcoal bbq. Love to try everything you have put so much work into perfecting.
    Your Kansas bbq sauce is the best sauce I have ever tasted. Can’t believe it. You’re a wonderful person. I’m sure you’re a hell of a parent. A mommy that cooks…. And smokes lol. Keep it up!
    New Westminster British Columbia Canada.

  9. I have a Weber Smokey Mountain 18″. Should I smoke 2 plates whole or cut into individual ribs before smoking? Thanks in advance for your help

  10. Tried 4-bone short ribs for the first time today. Snake method on the Weber with a consistent 250-260F throughout a 10hr smoke (cherry). I’ve used the snake method on brisket, turkey, baby-backs with great success, but these were the first short ribs I’ve tried.

    I spritzed at 3hrs, but incurred a 145F stall for the next 3hrs. Finally had to wrap in foil to get to 160F and they were great for dinner (and done) even if it wasn’t the desired 203F.

    Question: Have you seen stalls like this when using this recipe? Is it possibly related to the spritzing?

    1. There is always a chance for your meat to stall out between 145 and 175, it happens pretty frequently no matter what type of meat I’m smoking. The stall can be drawn out if you’re smoking on a grill that loses temp really easily when the lid opens. If you find your grill takes a bit of time to get back up to temperature after opening the lid, maybe skip the spritz.

  11. Hey there, this recipe sounds awesome. I’m quite new to smoking but love your recipes. Just curious, you didn’t mention how long to leave the mustard and dry rub set before putting on the smoker. Should I leave them overnight or go right on the smoker after preparing them?
    Thanks and keep up the great work.

    1. You can do it either way but I usually mustard and rub pretty close to the time it goes on the smoker!

  12. Susie, although this is off topic I didn’t know how else to reach you. It is difficult to find food safe spray bottles in the stores so I thought you might consider adding them to your store items. I really enjoyed seeing you on the Bobby Flay contest. We will be smoking two slabs of chuck ribs tomorrow using your recipe.

  13. Clea
    Have the big green egg, going try your recipe this Friday my guest is arriving around 6:30 pm. I was planning be done at approximately 4:00 ish. You advise wrapping in non wax parchment paper and beach. Will beef ribs still be warm enough to serve.

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