- June 16, 2022
Smoked Beef Ribs
Learn everything you need to know about smoking beef ribs (aka Dino ribs) for a crowd-pleasing and showstopping cook you can throw down on your pellet smoker or charcoal grill.
Chances are you have made and enjoyed your fair share of low and slow-smoked pork ribs in your lifetime.
Pork ribs are a popular cook for BBQ and backyard grillers, but maybe you’re looking to try your hand at something a little more substantial and honestly, a lot more epic.
BBQ beef ribs are an incredible cook to take on but can sometimes be intimidating. It’s loved amongst the BBQ community because it’s like eating beef brisket off of a bone (but with half the smoking time).
Whether you’re a pro or this is your first time making this smoked beef ribs recipe, you’re in the right place! Use my guided culinary notes below to help walk you through this cook from start to finish.
Below I break down everything you need to know about what beef ribs are, purchasing, the preparation, dry rub, smoking, wrapping, and of course the final rest. Let’s dive in!
- Carving Knife
- baking Sheet
- Paper Towel
- Butcher Paper or Aluminum Foil
- Spray Bottle
- Instant-Read Thermometer
Welcome to my virtual classroom! Use the guided notes below where I often answer commonly asked questions I get from readers and cooks just like you.
This information is meant to help you have a stronger understanding of this recipe and the process so you can find success all on your own.
Ready to begin cooking? Simply jump to the recipe below and begin.
What Are Beef Ribs (AKA Dino Ribs)?
Beef ribs are becoming a more popular cut amongst passionate backyard pitmasters.
Before you start the smoking process, it’s important to understand what beef rib cuts are and which ones work best for this recipe (not all beef ribs are the same).
Different Cuts of Beef Ribs:
- Beef Chuck Ribs
- Beef Plate Ribs
- Beef Back Ribs
- Beef Short Ribs
Plate ribs and chuck ribs are usually better options for smoking. They have a lot more meat over the top and that meat will shrink as the connective tissues break down during the smoking process.
Avoid beef short ribs for this cook because they contain little meat (and are better for smoking and braising).
Finding beef ribs can be a little harder to find at a local grocery store. I have found individual ribs from Whole Foods that have been very good quality (I used these in my smoked beef birria).
The next option you have is to talk to your local butcher to get this cut or order them online from the many retailers that can ship them directly to you.
Find chuck or plate ribs with 3-4 long bones for this recipe. It should have a nice fat cap layer over the top as well.
Smoked Beef Rib Rub:
You can use any seasoning blend you like for this cook. I often mix up my own spice rub recipe that usually consists of-
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Smoky Paprika
- Chili Powder
- Brown Sugar
Mix everything together into a bowl or make it finer by using a spice grinder. Try my Cajun BBQ dry rub recipe too for something different,
Preparing Beef Ribs For Smoking:
Beef ribs are fairly similar to traditional pork ribs (something most home grillers have probably made a time or two) but also have characteristics of beef brisket as well.
The rack of beef ribs contains a tough membrane across the rib bones. Unlike pork ribs, I do not recommend removing this.
There is little to no meat on the bottoms of the bone side and doesn’t impact the final flavor or eating experience.
Additionally, the top of the ribs contains a thicker fat cap. Trimming down the fat cap slightly and removing any silver skin helps with this cook and exposes more of the meat to the seasoning to help it penetrate through.
In order to have your dry rub stick to the meat, you need to prep the surface of the ribs with a binder. Binders like olive oil, hot sauce, or mustard all work really well.
Once the binder is on all sides of the ribs, sprinkle an even coating of the beef rub onto the top of the bones, sides, and even underneath the bones to be thorough.
Leave your beef ribs out at room temperature to help the rub sweat and give you a little bit of a head start on the smoking process.
What Temperature Do You Smoke Beef Ribs At?
I recommend smoking your beef ribs at a little higher temperature than many people would traditionally use for a low and slow cook. Preheat your pellet grill or smoker of choice to 265 degrees F.
Set the grill for indirect heat and allow it to fully preheat and level out.
Use a stronger wood for this cook like you would with a brisket. I like oak or even mesquite to get a stronger smoky flavor into the final product.
Steps for smoking, wrapping, and resting:
Your goal for this cook is to let the fat deposits in the beef melt down and for the connective tissues to become fall off the bone tender while creating a beautiful bark in the process.
Here are the steps you should follow to achieve the best ribs possible:
- Place the beef ribs onto the smoker with the meat side up and insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the ribs to read the internal temperature. Cover and let it smoke for an hour before misting the outside bark.
- Use a spray bottle filled with beef broth or diluted BBQ sauce mixed with some apple cider vinegar to spray the outside of the meat. This is what helps build the bark and increases the smoke flavor in the first few hours of the smoking process. This needs to be done every hour for the first three hours.
- The beef ribs will hit a stall (when the internal temp begins to level out or drop for a long period of time) and should hit a temperature of 165-170 F. before wrapping.
- To wrap the beef ribs, I recommend switching from beef broth to beef tallow to moisten the outside of the bark, while adding fat and flavor. Coat the beef ribs in a thin layer of melted tallow and lightly spray your butcher paper or foil with some additional beef broth. Place the beef ribs onto the paper and wrap tightly.
- Reinsert the thermometer and place the beef ribs back onto the smoker to finish smoking until probe tender. Begin checking the ribs for tenderness and doneness around 195-206 F. The internal meat should feel like softened butter when you insert a thermometer probe.
- The final step is crucial for the best end result of smoking beef ribs. Wrap the beef ribs in a towel and place them in a cooler to keep warm and let the meat rest. Remove it once it hits a lower temperature internally to around 180 F. This should take around two hours or so, plan this into the cooking process.
- Remove the ribs from the butcher paper or wrapping and then use a large serrated knife to slice the bones apart.
How long will beef ribs take to smoke?
The time can take around 8-12 hours approximately depending on the size and thickness of the meat.
It’s important to use time as a guideline but always allow your BBQ to be done when it feels physically tender to ensure the connective tissue has fully broken down. Use a temp probe to check for doneness always allow extra time for resting your meat.
The best way to serve your beef ribs is right on the bone.
These dino ribs are so epic so make sure to take a photo. Include some delicious sides of smoked mac and cheese and a serving of small batch cowboy candy to go with them.
If you love this cook, also check out my recipe for Smoked Beef Shank too! Another EPIC BBQ recipe that is a fun and delicious smoking experience.
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.
“Avoid beef short ribs for this cook because they contain little meat (and are better for smoking and braising).”
Curious what the smoking should say as this is a recipe for smoking and you’re telling me to avoid the short ribs because they are better for smoking. Lol.
Haha ok fair, that’s not worded the best. I meant to say they’re better if you plan to first smoke and then braise in liquid. The ribs featured are smoked only. I appreciate you bringing this up and will definitely edit to be less confusing. Thanks!
Thank you for the reply!