A Beginner’s Guide to Smoked Beef Ribs
Everything you ever wanted to know about how to smoke beef ribs, all wrapped up into an easy-to-read article. We will cover the types of beef ribs, how to smoke them, and what you will need for the perfect smoked beef ribs.
If you have ever wondered how to smoke beef ribs, today is your lucky day. In this beginner’s guide to smoked beef ribs, we will be covering everything you need to know about how to become a pitmaster at home and impress your friends.
What Are Beef Ribs?
If you’re going to learn how to cook the perfect beef ribs, you should probably start by understanding what they are. In recent years, beef ribs have become increasingly popular in the barbecue world. More and more people are realizing that this primal and wildly photogenic cut of beef is also incredibly delicious, when cooked the right way.
When smoked at a low temperature over a long period of time, beef ribs become the most succulent and mouthwatering cut imaginable. If you’ve ever heard of the saying ‘melt in your mouth delicious,’ they were probably talking about beef ribs.
Many people ask, what is the difference between beef ribs and pork ribs? Well, to state the obvious, they come from two completely different animals. Beef ribs are much larger than pork ribs and can differ in both flavor and texture, depending on which part of the cow they come from. This brings us to our next section.
Types of Beef Ribs
Many people don’t realize that not all beef ribs are created equal. There are actually three different unique types of beef ribs: plate short ribs, chuck short ribs, and back ribs. Let’s take a moment to go over these different types of beef ribs so you know what to look for at the butcher.
Plate Short Ribs: If you’ve ever seen a photo of pitmaster-quality beef ribs that had you drooling over your computer, there’s a good chance they were plate short ribs. These are the biggest, baddest, and beefiest ribs out there. It’s said that a single plate short rib bone can weigh up to 2.5 pounds.
Chuck Short Ribs: While chuck short ribs are similar to plate short ribs, they tend to be much smaller. Because of this, they are easier to find at the grocery store and are therefore cooked more commonly at home. Chuck short ribs can be found at the store in both bone-in and boneless varieties.
Back Ribs: If you’ve ever enjoyed a prime rib roast, it was likely made with beef back ribs. Unlike plate and chuck short ribs, back ribs come from higher up on the cow. Because prime rib is one of the most expensive cuts of beef, most butchers will keep as much beef on the roast as possible. This means that beef back ribs often have little meat on the bones, with most of the meat being between the bones instead.
What to Use if You Don’t Have a Smoker
Don’t have a smoker? No worries. You can still cook fork-tender smoked beef ribs that are so smoky and delicious, no one would ever guess that you didn’t use a smoker. If you don’t happen to have a smoker lying around, there are a few methods you can try instead.
How to Smoke Meat on the Grill: If you are using a grill to smoke ribs, you will need wood chips and a homemade aluminum foil bag to hold them. All you have to do is secure your wood chips between two sheets of foil, twist the ends into a bag, and poke some holes for venting. Make sure to cook the ribs over indirect heat, since low and slow is the goal.
How to Smoke Meat in the Oven: To smoke ribs in the oven, you will need a roasting pan with an elevated rack to keep the ribs from soaking in their juices. Line the pan with foil, place your wood chips over the foil, then top them with the rack. Your beef ribs will sit on top of the rack with a tented sheet of foil over the pan. Again, keep the low and slow method in mind. You will also want to baste at least once an hour to keep the meat from drying out.
With any smoking method you use, it’s important to check the temperature throughout the cooking process to prevent the beef ribs from overcooking. To check doneness before removing the ribs from the heat, we recommend using an instant read meat thermometer.
What Temperature To Smoke Beef Ribs At
When it comes to smoking, most people opt for the low and slow cooking route to ensure mouthwatering results. This is the best way to cook beef ribs in order to get that ideal texture where the meat is so tender that it practically falls off the bone.
For perfect beef ribs, you want to keep your smoker in the 225–275°F ballpark. As long as you keep the temperature of your smoker in this range, you will be in good shape. It’s true that low temperatures translate to a longer cooking time, but the resulting flavors will be well worth the wait. For reference, you can expect to smoke beef ribs for around 3-5 hours.
To ensure that your smoker stays in the desired temperature range and that your beef ribs do not wind up raw or overcooked, it’s important to always use a meat thermometer. This is how you will be able to both monitor your smoker’s air temperature throughout the cooking process and determine when your beef ribs have finished cooking.
Regardless of which type of beef ribs you plan to smoke, the low and slow method is everything. This is the key to getting ultra tender and flavorful smoked beef ribs. As with any type of meat you cook, it’s essential to use a reliable meat thermometer to ensure that the ribs are fully cooked before taking them out.
Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to get cooking. Barbecue season awaits!
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