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 as you scroll through your feed. This beef ribs recipe post is sponsored by GrillEye, but the recipe and all opinions are completely my own.
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 a bit intimidating, so I’m just gonna tell you to skip it altogether and walk straight up to the butcher counter. 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 papery membrane or you can do it at home, but either way that bottom 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 and pull the membrane 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 and just let the meat and the smoke do the talking. That said, I did add a little unexpected element of heat to keep everybody on their toes. Not spicy, just warm and amazing melt in your mouth beefy smoked beef plate 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 my standard beef rub 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.
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 and enough time to render that fat and tough connective tissue to get these ribs 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 thermometer is absolutely crucial. For this recipe, I used the GrillEye remote thermometer. 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.
The GrillEye is pretty ahead of the thermometer game right now, because they give you the ability to remotely monitor your meat AND your grill temperature (with up to 6 available probes) from your cell phone. Through the GrillEye app, you can set time and temperature alerts, as well as customize the alarms for whatever you are cooking on your grill. The thermometer helps take an intimidating cut like smoked beef chuck ribs and turn the process into a simple Saturday meal. When the alarm goes off and 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).
Beef Ribs Recipe
Smoked Beef Plate Ribs
- 1 4-bone section beef chuck ribs about 4-5 pounds)
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard with horseradish
Simple Beef Rub
- 2 Tablespoons coarse Kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons coarse black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup hot sauce
- Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F for indirect cooking. Set up the GrillEye to monitor your smoker temp and clip the probe onto your grill grates. Use a hardwood, like oak or hickory, to generate the best smoke for these ribs.
- Slather your ribs with the Dijon mustard. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Season the ribs liberally, on all sides with the rub mixture. It's OK if you don't use it all, just make sure the entire surface area of the meat is covered.
- Place your ribs on the smoker and insert the GrillEye 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 together the vinegar and hot sauce. After the initial 3 hour smoke, begin spritzing your ribs every 45 minutes to an hour. Continue smoking the ribs until the GrillEye alerts you that 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.