If you’ve wondered how to make beef ribs, or how to make beef ribs tender, you’ve come to the right place. These beef plate ribs, sometimes called “dino ribs” for their size, have become pretty standard on any BBQ platter, and for good reason.
They not only look impressive, but they taste incredible. They take some time to prepare right, but they aren’t difficult and they’re well worth the wait. They usually come in racks of three or four, and one rib is plenty for one person.
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Today we’re going to learn how to make beef ribs on a pellet smoker, but you can do this on any grill, it’s all about temperature management. I love making these on an offset smoker, or in my Kamado grill, they key is using indirect heat and time.
Don’t worry about the time though, your backyard is going to smell INCREDIBLE during the entire cook; so be ready for the neighbors to randomly stop by to return the tool they borrowed last summer.
Types of Beef Ribs
If you search the internet for “types of beef ribs” you’ll find several different names depending on how they’re cut. Today we’re talking about beef short ribs, also referred to as beef short plate ribs, plate ribs, or dino ribs. These shouldn’t be confused with the beef back rib.
They can be hard to find at most chain grocery stores, and when you do find them they are usually cut into what’s known as “flanken style”. But, if you have a local butcher, they can usually get them for you, just ask. If you don’t, there are several places online that sell them.
What’s the Difference Between Beef Short Ribs and Beef Back Ribs?
This question is asked often and it’s a simple one. Beef back ribs are cut from the upper portion of the rib near the spine. They have a slight curve to them and the meat from those ribs comes from between the bones, and it’s scarce. It’s tasty for sure, there just isn’t much of it.
This is because the ribeye steaks are cut from this area and butchers go to great lengths to yield as much meat for the steak as possible. Typically, the beef back ribs you find in the store are simply an afterthought and you’re mostly paying for bone.
From a value perspective, I’ve rarely seen beef back ribs priced at a point that make them worth it.
Beef short ribs on the other hand, are cut from the same rib, but further down on the steer. The meat on these ribs comes from the top of the bone and is usually plentiful. I’m the type of guy that can put down some food, and one rib is enough to have me tapping out.
There’s quite a bit of connective tissue that needs to be broken down on the short rib, so for this rib recipe, plan on letting them go low and slow for several hours until the meat is probe tender.
That usually means an internal temperature of about 205 °F. Generally speaking, you can count on about 8 hours of cook time to get these tender. I’ll say it again, it’s worth the wait.
How to Cook Beef Short Ribs
You’re going to be amazed at just how simple this is, especially if you’re cooking beef short ribs on a pellet grill. We’ll get into detail below but it’s really as simple as seasoning your beef ribs, putting them on your grill or smoker, wrapping in butcher paper or foil at some point, resting, and eating.
That’s it folks, this is about one of the most simple cooks in BBQ. And, unlike pork ribs, you don’t even have to go to the hassle of taking the membrane off the bone side of the ribs.
For beef short ribs, the membrane actually helps to hold them together, so leave it one. Add to that, they usually come pretty well trimmed from the butcher, so prep time is minimal.
You might have to trim a bit of fat off these, but not much. Some prefer a closer trim and remove nearly all of the fat. I don’t trim them so close but that’s a personal preference. Often called “brisket on a stick” the fat on these beef short ribs is going to render during the cooking process much like it will on a brisket.
Unlike the brisket, however, these ribs aren’t usually sold with much excess fat requiring a ton of knife work to get them ready for your grill.
Ok, enough small talk, let’s get these beef short ribs prepped and on the grill.
How to Make Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill
Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 30 min | Cooking Time: 8+ hours
1 3-4 lbs rack of beef shortribs
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
2 tbsp soy sauce
For the Rub:
2 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp coarse black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp mustard seeds
Making Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill
Step 1: Start your pellet grill and set temperature for 250 °F. I like to use oak or hickory pellets for beef short ribs but use your favorite.
Step 2: While the grill is preheating, trim off any excess fat on the beef short ribs. There usually isn’t much, but if there is, just clean it up with a sharp boning knife so they look like this:
Step 3: Whisk together all ingredients for the rub in a bowl. Generously coat the beef short ribs with the rub, ensuring you coat the sides. Don’t worry about getting the bone side of the ribs. You’re not eating that side where the membrane is, so seasoning it is a waste.
TIP: Unlike pork ribs where the membrane should be removed, on beef short ribs leave the membrane in place to hold them together while you’re smoking the ribs.
Step 4: Place ribs on a wire cooling rack inside of a cookie sheet. This allows for easy cleanup and prevents your grill from getting filthy with the dripping rendered fat. Place the ribs on the smoker, and close the lid.
Step 5: Mix beef broth, hot sauce, and soy sauce and pour into a spritz bottle. After the ribs have been on the smoker for one hour, give them a light misting of the liquid. This moisture helps the ribs take on some smoke and builds an incredible bark. Repeat every hour for the first four hours.
Step 6: After the 4th spritz, insert a temperature probe for a reliable leave-in thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat, between two ribs. I wait to put the probe in till this point because it allows enough time for the meat to start to pull away from the bones so you can ensure proper probe placement. Don’t get the probe too close to a bone or it will give an inaccurate reading.
Step 7: Allow the ribs to cook until internal temperature reaches 203 °F and the meat is probe tender. Probe tender means you can slide a temperature probe from a quick-read thermometer into the meat with very little to no resistance. This should be around 8 hours or so depending on the size of the rack of ribs.
TIP: Some people will wrap their ribs in foil or butcher paper about halfway through the cook. I do this for the really big cuts of meat like pork shoulder or brisket, and sometimes beef ribs, depending on the size of the rack.
Step 8: Remove beef short ribs from grill, cover with aluminum foil and wrap in an old towel. Let ribs rest for at least an hour, but preferably 90 minutes, before opening up and slicing.
Step 9: Serve by themselves, or with your favorite side dish like corn polenta and pickled red onions. For a change-up, add some chimichurri or my favorite (ACL). You’ll find the freshness of the ACL balances the richness of the beef short ribs perfectly.
How to Make Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill
How to Make Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill
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Prep Time: 30 minutes minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours hours
Total Time: 8 hours hours 30 minutes minutes
Course: Entree, Main Course
- 1 3-4 lbs rack of beef shortribs
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tbsp hot sauce optional
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
For the Rub:
- 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
- 2 tbsp coarse black pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
Start your pellet grill and set temperature for 250 °F. I like to use oak or hickory pellets for beef short ribs but use your favorite.
While the grill is preheating, trim off any excess fat on the beef short ribs.
Whisk together all ingredients for the rub in a bowl. Generously coat the beef short ribs with the rub ensuring you coat the sides.
Place ribs on a wire cooling rack inside of a cookie sheet.
Mix beef broth, hot sauce, and soy sauce and pour into a spritz bottle. After the ribs have been on the smoker for 1 hour, give them a light misting of the liquid. Repeat every hour for the first 4 hours.
After the 4th spritz, insert a temperature probe for a reliable leave-in thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat, between two ribs. I wait to put the probe in till this point because it allows enough time for the meat to start to pull away from the bones so you can ensure proper probe placement. Don't get the probe too close to a bone or it will give an inaccurate reading.
Allow ribs to cook until internal temperature reaches 203 °F and the meat is probe tender. Probe tender means you can slide a temperature probe from a quick read thermometer into the meat with very little to no resistance. This should be around 8 hours or so depending on the size of the rack of ribs.
Remove beef short ribs from grill, cover with aluminum foil and wrap in an old towel. Let ribs rest for at least an hour, but preferably 90 minutes before opening up and slicing.
Serve just by themselves, or with your favorite side dish like corn polenta and pickled red onions. For a change-up, add some chimichurri or my favorite avocado, cilantro & lime vinaigrette. You’ll find the freshness of the ACL balances the richness of the beef short ribs perfectly.
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- Preheat and season. Preheat your pellet grill to 180-200 degrees. ...
- Smoke 'em. For 2 hours. ...
- Turn it up. Turn the heat up to 275° and cook for another ~2 hours. ...
- Turn it up more and baste. ...
- Ribs are done when they are tender!
Set the ribs directly on the grill grates, bone-side down. Close the lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches 205℉, 8-10 hours. Remove ribs from grill and let rest, lightly covered with foil, for 20 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!What temperature do you cook ribs on a pellet grill? ›
What is this? Step Three: Cook the ribs. Once the grill reaches 225°F, place the ribs in the pellet grill. Cook at 225°F unwrapped for 3 hours.How long do beef ribs take at 225? ›
Cover the container and place the ribs in the fridge for 2 hours to dry brine. After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the fridge and allow them to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes (do not rinse off the rub). Smoke at 225°F (107°C) for 4-5 hours or until they get as tender as you like them.Do you flip ribs when smoking on a pellet grill? ›
Do you flip ribs when smoking? Yes, you should flip the ribs after 1 hour of smoking them. You'll flip them every 30 minutes until they're done. The only time you don't have to flip ribs is when you use a rib rack.Does the 3 2 1 method work for beef ribs? ›
The 3-2-1 method of smoking not only works on pork ribs or baby back ribs, but it's also a great way to smoke beef ribs. All you have to do is smoke the beef ribs directly on the grill at 225° F for 3 hours, then wrap the ribs in either foil or pink butcher paper with some liquid and smoke for 2 more hours.What is the best temp to smoke beef ribs? ›
When smoked at 275°F (135°C), beef ribs become tender and well-rendered in record time. You can put them on after breakfast and eat them for a late lunch. Of course, the 3-hour time is a rough guide: the ribs will be done when they have cooked sufficiently and the collagen in them has dissolved enough.How do you keep ribs moist in a pellet smoker? ›
Adding Moisture while Smoking Ribs
A simple rib spritz is equal parts apple cider vinegar and apple juice or water. So for one cup of apple juice you add one cup of apple cider vinegar. The added moisture to the cooking chamber really helps with color on the smoked ribs and keeping the texture moist.
Quick Summary. A few methods to keep ribs moist while smoking include maintaining a consistent heat, using vinegar brine, wrapping it in foil, and marinating ahead for better absorption. Using a plain water pan and allowing the ribs resting time after cooking for the juices to redistribute also help keep ribs moist.How long to smoke ribs at 225 without wrapping? ›
Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Place the ribs bone-side down directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature reaches approximately 200°F, approximately 4 ½ hours. Meanwhile, add the apple juice to a spray bottle and spritz the ribs after the 1st hour and every 45 minutes thereafter.
Most pitmasters agree that 250°F is the ideal smoking temperature for ribs. Lower temperatures take longer to cook and can result in tough, chewy meat.Should I smoke beef ribs at 225 or 250? ›
Try to keep your smoker's temperature at 225˚ F, but no hotter that 250˚F. Higher smoking temps will cause the meat fibers to contract as they cook, squeezing out the juices. The ideal temperature range for smoking beef ribs is from 225˚F to 235˚F.At what temperature should you smoke beef ribs? ›
When smoked at 275°F (135°C), beef ribs become tender and well-rendered in record time. You can put them on after breakfast and eat them for a late lunch. Of course, the 3-hour time is a rough guide: the ribs will be done when they have cooked sufficiently and the collagen in them has dissolved enough.What temperature do you cook beef ribs? ›
As indicated in the chart, the optimal internal temp for beef ribs is 195-203°F or 91-95°C. We recommend removing ribs from the heat source once they're at the lower end of that range. This remains true regardless of your cooking method, with the only exception being the sous vide method.