Enjoy the rich and smoky flavors of our mouthwatering smoked beef ribs recipe (AKA dino ribs). These succulent, tender ribs are expertly seasoned with a special blend of spices then slow-smoked to perfection, creating a tantalizing dish that will leave your taste buds craving for more. Get ready to savor the ultimate barbecue experience with this epic BBQ classic.
Smoking beef ribs is an art form that combines patience, flavor, and technique to create tender, juicy, and mouthwatering results. Whether you’re a barbecue enthusiast or trying it for the first time, this comprehensive guide will take you through the best way to prepare and smoke beef ribs to perfection. From types of beef ribs to the smoking process and serving tips, we’ve got you covered.
Why This Recipe Works:
This Smoked Beef Ribs recipe works for several reasons:
- Low and Slow Smoking: The slow-smoking process at a low temperature allows the collagen in the beef ribs to break down gradually, resulting in incredibly tender and juicy meat that falls off the bone.
- Flavorful Seasoning: The careful selection and combination of spices and seasonings enhance the beef’s natural flavors and create a harmonious balance of smokiness and spice while building that signature BBQ bark we all know and love.
- Stunning Presentation: The beautifully smoked beef ribs make for an impressive centerpiece at any gathering or barbecue. While smoked brisket is always a solid choice, there is something so incredibly cool about eating it right off of a giant bone instead!
Types of Beef Ribs:
There are various types of beef ribs available at your local grocery store, each with its unique characteristics. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Short Ribs: These are smaller in size and contain less meat, but they are packed with flavor.
- Beef Plate Ribs: Also known as “Dino Ribs,” these are larger, with a thick layer of meat on top of the bones (this is what you want to smoke in this recipe).
- Beef Chuck Ribs: These ribs are known for their rich marbling and tenderness.
- Rack of Beef Ribs: This includes a series of individual bones, often seen as the best choice for smoking.
For this recipe, you want to use”beef plate ribs,” also known as “Dino rib,” which refers to a particular cut of beef ribs that is known for its impressive size and meatiness. These ribs come from the lower chest area of the cow, specifically the plate or primal cut.
Dino ribs are characterized by a thick layer of meat on top of the bones, and they are often much larger than other types of beef ribs. The name “dino ribs” is a casual and affectionate term that is often used because of their substantial size, resembling something that might belong to a dinosaur. These ribs are prized by barbecue enthusiasts for their rich marbling, tenderness, and the generous amount of meat they offer, making them a favorite for smoking and slow-cooking to achieve a succulent and flavorful result.
Purchasing Beef Ribs:
When purchasing beef plate ribs, keep these key points in mind:
- Shop at a reputable butcher or well-stocked grocery store.
- Look for ribs with a substantial meat-to-bone ratio, indicating a quality cut.
- Opt for ribs with good marbling, as fat enhances flavor and tenderness.
- Choose ribs with a consistent, vibrant color, avoiding any discolored or off-putting cuts.
- Consider asking the butcher to trim the silver skin from the bone side for convenience
- Sharp Knife
- Paper Towels
- Meat Thermometer
- Spray Bottle
- Basting Brush
- Butcher Paper
- Remove the Silver Skin: Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the tough silver skin from the bone side of the ribs to ensure tenderness and even cooking. You can decide if you want to leave the fat cap on or not (I have done it both ways and it really depends on the cut of meat you have).
- Dry Rub: Create a flavorful dry rub by mixing ingredients like kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Rub this mixture generously onto the meat side of the ribs, allowing the flavors to penetrate. You can keep this really simple and just use salt and pepper or salt, pepper, and garlic powder like you would on a brisket.
- Yellow Mustard: For a nice bark and flavor adherence, consider brushing a thin layer of yellow mustard onto the ribs before applying the dry rub.
The Smoking Process:
- Get Your Smoker Ready: Preheat your smoker to a temperature of around 265-275 degrees F, and add your favorite wood or pellets for that smoky goodness. A water pan will help maintain moisture if you’re in a dry or colder climate and won’t be opening the grill often. I like a mix of mostly oak and a little cherry wood for color.
- Place the Ribs: Lay the seasoned ribs on the grill grates, bone side down, and smoke them using indirect heat. Depending on your grill, always place the thickest part of the beef ribs towards your heat source. This helps render the fat and connective tissue, resulting in tender beef.
- Slow Smoke: Smoking beef ribs takes time, so be patient. Plan for a cooking time of several hours, depending on the thickness of the meat. A good meat thermometer is essential to monitor the internal temperature of the ribs. I usually let the bark set up for 3-4 hours before spraying and slightly softening the outside lightly.
- Wrapping: You can choose to wrap the meat between 165-175 F. if you need to finish the cooking in a faster amount of time, but often I will leave beef ribs to go until around 190 F. Wrap tightly in butcher paper with a spray of beef broth (or apple cider vinegar) or some beef tallow and place it back onto your smoker until they are tender.
- Check for Doneness: Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the ribs reach a bone-tender temperature of around 195-203 degrees F at the thickest part of the meat. Temperature is always just a guide, but the probe will allow you to check the meat for tenderness.
- Resting: If you truly want the best ribs, let them rest for at least an hour, wrapped in a towel and warm place (like a cooler). I prefer at least two hours to ensure a decent carryover cook time that allows the meat to relax, stay juicy, and for any other fat to render.
Serving and Enjoying:
- Slicing: Using a sharp knife, slice between the individual bones to serve up your perfectly smoked beef ribs.
- Side Dishes: Beef ribs pair wonderfully with sides like my smoked corn bread, grilled broccoli salad, or smoked mac and cheese!
- Storing Leftovers: If you happen to have any leftovers (which is rare), wrap them in airtight containers or pink butcher paper and store them in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. You can also remove the meat from the rib bones, chop it up, and freeze it. Use it in dishes like my leftover brisket chili or as a nacho or BBQ sandwich topping with BBQ sauce.
More Smoker Recipes To Try:
- How To Slow Smoke 3-2-1 Ribs
- Smoked Hot and Fast Ribs
- Smoked Beef Shank Recipe
- Smoked Pulled Beef Recipe
Smoked Beef Ribs
- 6-8 lb. Beef Plate Ribs
- 1/4 cup Binder olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce
- 1/2 cup Beef Tallow melted
Dry Rub Ingredients
- 2 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp Black Pepper
- 1.5 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1.5 tbsp Onion Powder
- 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- Remove the beef ribs from the packaging and pat the outside dry with paper towels to remove the excess moisture.
- Leave the membrane on the back of the bones, but trim down some of the fat cap on the top to about 1/4-1/2 inches thick. Remove any accessible silver skin.
- Coat all sides of the beef ribs in the binder (olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce work great here)
- Combine all the spices into a small bowl and mix well. Coat the beef ribs on the top, sides, and bottom of the beef ribs in an even layer. Leave the meat to sit at room temperature to jump start some of the smoking process.
- Preheat the smoker to 265 F. Use a stronger wood or pellet to help amp up the smoke flavor.
- Place the beef ribs onto the smoker meat side up. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the rib meat. Let it smoke for 1 hour.
- Place beef broth or diluted BBQ sauce into a spray bottle. Mist the meat every hour for three hours to help build the bark on the ribs and enhance the smoke flavor.
- When the beef ribs begin to stall and hit a temperature of around 175-180 F. remove them from the smoker.
- Coat the outside in beef tallow by lightly brushing it over the bark. Spray the butcher paper with some beef broth and tightly wrap the beef ribs into the paper tightly. Replace the thermometer and place the ribs back onto the smoker.
- Allow the beef ribs to continue to smoke. Begin checking for doneness when the internal temperature begins to hit around 195-206 F. Use a meat thermometer to probe the meat and feel if it's soft and tender (like softened butter).
- When the beef ribs are tender, remove them and place them in a cooler to rest. Leave the thermometer in the meat and let them cool to around 175-180 F. before unwrapping. This takes about 2 hours. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
- Remove the beef ribs from the butcher paper or wrapping and slice them into individual bones. Serve with your favorite BBQ sides and brush with more beef tallow if desired.