01 of 08
BBQ Beef Ribs
Beef ribs can be both tough to eat and difficult to prepare. Cooked improperly they are too chewy to enjoy. Cooked properly they are tender and delicious. The secret with BBQ beef ribs, like all barbecue, is to cook them low and slow. By smoking your beef ribs, you are going to get the best-flavored ribs possible. This process will take about 6 to 7 hours to produce a flavorful batch of ribs. Once complete, you won't regret a moment of the work that goes into preparing them.
The supplies you will... need for this are:
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02 of 08
BBQ Beef Ribs - Preparing the Smoker
Start by firing up your smoker. From here, build a big enough fire to hold a temperature between 225 and 250 degrees F for the whole cooking time. Beef ribs have plenty of fat so we won't worry about wrapping these ribs like we would with pork ribs. If you do choose to wrap them (to get the meat to fall off the bone) then do so for the 4th and 5th hour of cooking time. You'll want a good dose of smoke, particularly in the first two hours, so have plenty of wood chunks on hand. Try a... fruit wood like apple or cherry, but what you have on hand will work fine.
Beef ribs tend to be cut rather creatively by many butchers, but they're typically cut into 4 to 5 bone sections running about 8 inches in length.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
BBQ Beef Ribs - Examine the Ribs
Familiarizing yourself with the ribs is going to help a lot as you prepare them, smoke them and ultimately serve and eat them. Take a moment to inspect the beef ribs. Loose hanging pieces of meat and fat can be cut away. Sometimes they are cut up with small pieces of bone on the ends. It's best to remove these small pieces. Try to trim them up nice and neat, but don't cut away the fat from the ribs. The fat will keep the meat moist while it cooks and add sweetness to the ribs.
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04 of 08
BBQ Beef Ribs - Removing the Membrane
The membrane is a thin skin-like layer on the bone side of the ribs. The membrane keeps out the flavor of the BBQ rub and the smoke, turning the ribs into a hard material that even the sharpest teeth won't be able to penetrate. Removing the membrane can be a bit of a challenge but it really improves the quality of your beef ribs.
It is easiest to remove the membrane if you can keep it intact. This means no sharp knives. Use a blunt knife, like many kitchen knives, or a butter knife (some people... use a screwdriver). Slide the knife between the membrane and the bone gently. Work it around to loosen the membrane as much as possible. Once some of it has loosened, grab the membrane with a paper towel and start working it away from the meat and bones. Some racks will give up the membrane easily and others are more difficult. You just have to work with it.
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05 of 08
BBQ Beef Ribs - Beef Rib Rub
The best and easiest way to add flavor to beef ribs is by applying a BBQ rub. This mixture of spices will sit on the ribs the whole time, sinking in and making the meat flavorful. The rub you choose is entirely up to you. Consider one of these fantastic rub recipes. You can pick a sweet, spicy or savory rub, but avoid anything with too much sugar. At 265 degrees F, sugar burns, and if your smoker hits this temperature for just a few minutes, the burnt sugar can ruin the flavor of the ribs.
With... the beef ribs trimmed and the membrane removed, you are ready to apply the rub. You don't really need to "rub" it into the meat, but you want a good coating over every square inch of the ribs. The amount of rub that will stick to the ribs is exactly how much you want.
Handle the ribs gently from this point forward so that you don't lose any of the rub. The more you handle the ribs, the more rub will fall off.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
BBQ Beef Ribs - Putting the Beef Ribs on the Smoker
The more familiar you are with your smoker, the better the quality of barbecue you can produce. It is important to lay out the rib racks in such a way to let air and smoke flow between each rack.
If your smoker is hot on one side you may need to rotate your beef ribs or switch them around to get an even heat. This is important since, otherwise, you don't want to move them during the whole cooking time. There is no flipping with these ribs.
Place the racks of beef ribs bone-side down and press them... together from the ends. This compacts the rack. During the cooking time, the meat is going to shrink and you do not want to slow this process by spreading the rack out on the cooking surface.
Beef ribs will take about 6 hours to cook properly at a temperature between 225 and 250 degrees F. The best way to tell when your ribs are close to done is by the tenderness of the meat. Properly cooked meat will be fork tender.
If you don't have a smoker, learn about cooking barbecue ribs on the grill.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
BBQ Beef Ribs - Adding BBQ Sauce
It's ideal to put a barbecue sauce on your beef ribs. While pork ribs are great with or without sauce, beef ribs benefit greatly from a good barbecue sauce. Again, it would be a good idea to avoid a sauce with too much sugar, like those from the grocery store.
You can add sauce at any point during the smoking, but it's best to wait until the last hour. This will give you time to apply several thin coats of barbecue sauce. This way you get a nice, sticky layer of sauce that will make the beef... ribs delicious. If you want to add some real smoke flavor to the sauce, throw a few extra chunks of wood on the fire to build up the smoke.
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08 of 08
BBQ Beef Ribs - Cutting and Serving your Beef Ribs
Once the beef ribs are completely cooked and you have applied the barbecue sauce, take them off the smoker. Like any meat, you should let the ribs rest before carving. Resting meat allows the heat and juices to even out and the meat to relax, making it more tender. Let beef ribs rest, covered in a sheet of foil, for 5 to 10 minutes.
When the resting time is complete, it's time to carve. The easiest way to cut beef ribs is to stand them up on their ends and to slip a knife down between the... bones. If the ribs are cooked properly, you can easily cut through the meat without it tearing away from the bones. Ribs are best eaten on the bone. While fall-of-the-bone ribs sound good, it's a little more difficult to eat.
The last part is to take note of your ribs. Too tender? Not tender enough? Too sweet? Too spicy? If you record your process, the next time you smoke a rack of ribs, you can make the necessary adjustments to produce the desired result.