BBQ Beef Ribs: How to Smoke ’em to Perfection

BBQ beef ribs are often the step child of BBQ ribs and smoked meats. In my early days I tried to grill beef ribs and wasn’t prepared for the fat content and flare ups that come from a faster sear and cook. I charred my first bout and decided I’d stick to pork spare ribs and loin back ribs. Again, my mistake was grilling and the equation changes when you go low and slow to create BBQ beef ribs smoked to perfection.

Here’s a great bbq beef rib recipe and how-to video from the guys at BarbecueWeb with a video on how to BBQ beef ribs smoked to perfection with a great side of smoked potatoes.



The team at shared this simple and easy recipe for smoked BBQ Beef Ribs that’s another great guide and technique. What’s great about both recipe’s is they focus on the simplicity of the flavor profile for beef. Salt and Pepper really is all you need. But the HowToBBQRight team has a rub and marinade combo that kicks up your flavor profile a notch if that’s what you want.

In my area it is rare to find good beef ribs. People just don’t eat them. And when you do find them, most of the meat is trimmed off. What’s left is good… but there’s just not much of it (I’m talking about the meat between the bones). This is prime eating when cooked right… after all the best cut of beef came off those bones…the Ribeye Steak.

Beef Ribs are fattier than pork ribs and require a little trimming. Some of the fat will render and provide you with flavor, but if there are any thick deposits, I always remove it.

Just like any other type of meat, I want to build layers of flavor while it’s cooking.


Dry Rub Ingredients (equal parts):

Black Pepper
Garlic Powder
Then the beef ribs go into a marinade. I keep the marinade pretty simple, but I always suggest experimenting with different flavors (just let me know if you find one that is really good).

In the Beef Ribs Marinade:

4oz Worcestershire Sauce
4oz Soy Sauce
4oz Olive Oil
Place the beef ribs in a large ziplock bag or roasting pan and pour the marinade over the meat.

Let the beef ribs soak for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

After 2-3 hours in the marinade, drain any excess liquid and lay them on a flat surface. You can see how the marinade has worked into the meat.

The next layer of flavor is a dusting of each:

  • Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning

I like to use some of the same flavors on beef ribs that I use on brisket, and what I really like is the bark. To recreate this on the beef ribs I use a course ground Montreal Steak Seasoning. Hit each rack with a little Montreal on both sides and pat that into the meat.

Cover the beef ribs loosely and fire up the smoker.

Once the smoker is in the 225-250 range, throw a couple chunks each of cherry and apple wood on the coals and place the beef ribs on the cooker.

The beef ribs need to smoke for 1 ½ – 2 hours, after that, they take on too much smoke flavor and can taste bad.

To prevent this, take them off the smoker and wrap in aluminum foil. But don’t forget to add some moisture to the foil. The liquid not only helps the meat tenderize, but also brings more flavor to the table. You can use beef stock, apple juice, or even red wine. This time I chose to use a Port Wine sauce mixed with beef broth. (I found the sauce I used on sale at Williams Sonoma and wanted to give it a try – but any port wine sauce will work)

Place the wrapped slabs back on the smoker and continue to cook for another 1 ½ hours.

At this point you need to open the wrap and see how the beef ribs are doing. Once the bones start to feel a little loose and the fat is rendered, they’re pretty much done.

The next step is to drain the liquid from the foil into a bowl and carefully return the beef ribs back to the cooking grate. Skim the fat off of the liquid and baste it back over the ribs.

You can use a bbq sauce if you like. I wanted to give the beef ribs a brisket like flavor, so I used the drippings and port wine sauce as a glaze.


The beef ribs only need about 30 more minutes at this point.

Once the glaze has set, they’re ready to bring inside and eat.

Author: Staff

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