Beef short ribs are all the rage these days and it seems like every food truck and trending restaurant is serving them. For the last few weeks, I have been eyeing the great looking short ribs I’ve been seeing at Doris Italian Market, our local butcher, and been itching to try them. However, you typically only find them in one of two styles.
Korean-Style, which are butchered like a rack of ribs and cut across the bone, and often served on tacos, sandwiches and are favorites of the food truck scene.
The typical restaurant-style short ribs are seasoned and braised and can be served on or off the bone.
What you don’t see a lot of are smoked short ribs and that is exactly what I wanted to try with mine.
The overall method I used follows the same principles of Robyn’s Better Than Sex Brisket recipe, but for the short ribs, I pulled inspiration and guidance from a few of my go-to sources including Steven Raichlen and Chris Grove, aka Nibble Me This. In the end, I made it my own and relied on past experiences and a smokers instinct to come up with an amazing finished product.
These ribs are not to be missed and invite a welcome addition to the classic, and sometimes repetitive repertoire of smoked butts, briskets and pork ribs.
Start with good quality, large bone in beef ribs. They shrink down significantly in size, so shop for large ones and try to keep the sizes as consistent as possible. Ask your butcher to trim away silver skin if present.
- Apple juice (for spritzing)
- 30% Kosher Salt
- 40% Coarse Peppar
- 10% Chipotle Powder
- 10% Paprika
- 10% Garlic Powder
- Yellow Mustard
Texas Crutch/Foil Stage/ Broth
- 2 Shallots – Diced
- 2–3 Garlic cloves – crushed
- 1–2 Tbps Beef base
- 2 Cups water
Prepare the ribs and rub
- Mix the dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Rather than specifying the exact amounts, focus on the percentages and make a proportional amount to the number of ribs you are smoking. I don’t like to run short on my rub and have to either skimp or make a second batch so I always err on the side of having some extra.
- Trim off any excessively large or loose pieces of fat or meat to the ribs. However, be sure to leave a nice even layer of fat on the topside so you end of with a trim and tidy shaped rib. Set all the ribs in a cookie sheet.
- Score both sides of the ribs in a 1” diamond shape pattern. Since the fat layer isn’t that thick, watch your depth and don’t score it as deep as you would on a brisket.
- Evenly smoother the yellow mustard on all six sides of each rib.
- Generously sprinkle the dry rub onto the ribs and work it into the score marks so that all six sides are evenly covered. See photos. Now take a photo and post it to Instagram to make your friends jealous.
- Cover the ribs with plastic and let the ribs setup in the fridge for at least one hour. Remember to pull them from the fridge and let them come up to temperature before they go onto the smoker.
Prepare the smoker
I used my Big Green Egg, but the overall procedure works on whatever smoker you are using. Always start with a clean smoker and good quality lump charcoal.
- Load your smoker with enough charcoal to sustain about a 4 hour cook. In the large BGE, this was about just under the ½ mark to the line.
- Start a small fire and get the smoker up to 225. Keep a close eye on the size of the fire as it warms up so that the smoker doesn’t get too hot. At this stage it’s much harder to cool the fire down than it is to bump it up a few degrees.
- Open first beer.
- Add your wood of choice, which in this case was 2-3 chunks of Hickory.
- If you are using a BGE, add the plate setter and a water tray with hot (not cold!) water. I use medium size aluminum plans.
Now you’re ready to put the ribs on the smoker. You did remember to take them out of the fridge before you started the fire right?
Smoking the ribs
- Load the ribs, bone down, fat side up on the grates, leaving about an inch between the ribs.
- Smoke the ribs at 225 for about two hours until the internal temperature gets to 180-185. I used a Flame Boss so I just dialed in the two probes and let the Flame Boss do the work. If you’re curious what internal temp any protein you’re cooking should reach, be sure to check out our BBQ Calculator!
- After about 165, occasionally spritz the ribs with Apple juice to keep them moist.
- While the ribs are smoking, prepare the Texas Crutch/Foil Stage broth. Do this well in advance of the ribs reaching their target temperature so that everything is done ahead of time. Somewhere around beer number 3 is a good time to shoot for.
Texas Crutch/Foil Stage
- Mix all of the broth ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes.If you are using an outdoor burner on your grill, watch the temperature so that it doesn’t get to a boil.
- Allow the broth to cool to room temperature and set aside covered.
- Set aside two large pieces of tin foil sized to the number and size of your ribs. Fold the edges up on one of them to make a shallow tray to receive the ribs and broth.
- Once the ribs have reached 180-185, place them in the foil tray, and gently, but generously spoon the room temperature (not cold) broth over the ribs.
- Fold all of the edges up and then cover it with the second piece of foil, overlapping any seams.
- Return the wrapped ribs to the smoker until the internal temperature reaches 200-205, about one hour. I bumped up the temperature slightly on the smoker at this point, but you will need to use your own judgement there.
Final: Set Stage
- Return the smoker temperature to 225 or lower.
- Once the Texas Crutch phase is over, return the uncovered ribs to the smoker.
- Let the ribs set for 30-60 minutes. We pulled them a little early simply because we wanted to eat before Hunter woke up.
- Place the ribs on your serving platter of choice and tent the ribs for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Sit down and prepare to enjoy some great beef short ribs!
We served our smoked beef short ribs with smoked squash and a caprese salad. I recommend pairing these with a nice fruit forward Zinfandel blend. Gnarly Head for a great bargain or Angels and Cowboys to step it up a notch.
Keywords: braised, ribs, red meat, shortribs
**Note: This is my husband Scott’s first blog post EVER! Scott is an amazing cook and I’ve been bugging him to blog about his recipes for ages (I’ve had this blog for 7 years!!!), to which he would retort, “I don’t need to read your blog, I live your blog every day.” Finally, he got inspired to write one of his recipes down and this one’s a beauty. Here’s hoping there are many more to come!
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