Smoked Beef Short Ribs

r_2013-08-02 09.39.53

Beef short rib is a beautiful cut of meat that is very popular in restaurants and growing in popularity with home cooks.  It’s a tough cut with a big beef flavour and a lot of internal fat marbled throughout.  I’ve made it before in a braise, and it’s one of my favourite cuts.  Smoked beef short ribs sounded like they would be delicious, so I decided to give them a try.

I was browsing the butcher’s case at Nations Fresh Food, when I saw some really nice looking slabs of beef short rib.  They were 4 bone slabs, and about 9 to 10 inches long.  I really love the taste of beef back ribs, but it’s tough to find them without all of the meat gouged out, so I picked up a slab of beef short rib to try them on the smoker.

1 of 2 slabs, before trimming

1 of 2 slabs, before trimming or removing membrane

I asked the butcher to cut them in half length wise, so I had 2 pieces with 4 bones each.  I find that beef can stand up to smoke, so I decided to cook these without foiling, and with beef, I like to use a simple rub that consists mostly of just salt and pepper.  For beef, I like to use a stronger wood smoke, so I used a mix of hickory and pecan wood chunks on my BBQ.

Recipe: Smoked Beef Short Ribs


  • Beef short ribs, cut in half length wise, 2 pieces with 4 bones each, approximately 4-5 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper – coarse ground
  • 1 tablespoon mexican chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic granules


  1. Prepare a BBQ / smoker to smoke at 225 f, with enough fuel to run for 6 hours of cooking and with a mix of hickory and pecan wood for smoke.
  2. Mix together everything but the ribs to make the rub for the beef short ribs.
  3. Remove the membrane from the bone side – this is a bit harder than removing the membrane from pork ribs.  It won’t render well, and will shrivel up and generally be gross and unappetizing on the finished rib.
  4. Trim the beef short ribs.  There’s a layer of hard fat on the top with silverskin underneath.  This stuff is gross and won’t render well on the smoker, so I remove as much of it as possible.  Don’t worry if it seems like you’re removing a lot from the rib.
    Beef short ribs, trimmed

    Beef short ribs, trimmed – you can really see the marbling here

  5. Coat the beef short ribs on both sides with the spice rub.r_2013-07-28 13.34.55
  6. Put the rubbed beef short ribs on the smoker, and cook at 225 f for about 5-6 hours, or until the internal temperature is at about 180 f – 190 f, and the meat has pulled back considerably from the bone.
On the smoker with some duck

On the smoker with some duck

Once the ribs were cooked, I let them rest for about 20 minutes, then I sliced each slab between the bones into four individual pieces.



Smoked beef short ribs sliced up!

Smoked beef short ribs sliced up!

The end result was 8 big chunks of hickory and pecan smoked beef short rib with a really nice smoke ring.  They had a nice bark, great smoke flavour, and were very tender and juicy.  One of these was enough for a meal, although it’s hard to stop at just one!  My wife said it was one of the best things I’ve ever made, and I think I have to agree with her.

With it being this easy to get nicely cooked and thick beef ribs, I don’t know if I’ll ever bother with beef back ribs again.

Leave a Reply