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Smoked Beef Back Ribs

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These fantastic smoked beef back ribs are tender, smoky, and spend a mere 3 1/2 hours on the grill.

smoked beef ribs being brushed with BBQ sauce

What are beef back ribs?

Beef back ribs, similar to baby back pork ribs, are located near the animal’s spine. They are the leftover rib section once the prime rib and ribeye steaks are removed. Because of their location, they contain less meat than beef plate ribs. The latter contains a thick layer of muscle and fat above the bones, while the meat on beef back ribs is located between the bones. These ribs are available in racks of 7 bones or sometimes split into shorter racks.

Rack of meat with seasoning rub.
derrickriches.com

We recommend using cherry or pecan wood for this recipe. While oak and hickory are great, cherry and pecan will produce a moderate smoke flavor that will not overwhelm the natural beefiness of the meat.

How long to smoke beef back ribs

Plan to smoke these beef back ribs for 3-3 1/2 hours at 275 degrees F. Please keep in mind that each rack of ribs will cook differently. While one might cook in 3 hours, others could take up to 5 hours. We’ve tested this recipe on a pellet grill and an XL Big Green Egg. They turned out great both ways!

Equipment

  • Pink butcher paper or aluminum foil (see below)
  • Clean food-safe spray bottle
  • Basting brush (for sauce, optional)
  • Wood chips, chunks, or pellets (cherry or pecan wood recommended)
  • Instant-read meat thermometer or meat probe
  • Large tongs
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Grill or smoker
  • Sharp knife for carving

Do you wrap beef back ribs in pink butcher paper or foil?

You can use either, however, wrap with foil if you prefer a tender, fall off the bone rib. Use pink butcher paper to retain a consistent bark throughout the cooking process.

raw meat on bones with seasonings
derrickriches.com

Recipe Ingredients

smoked ribs

How to make smoked beef back ribs

  • Prepare your pellet grill or smoker to 275 degrees F. If using kamado or similar equipment, set up for indirect cooking, then add wood chunks to the fire 5 minutes before the ribs go on.
  • Blot the rack dry with a paper towel.
  • Slather beef back ribs with Worcestershire sauce (or mustard if preferred), then apply seasoning rub. Do not worry about removing the membrane from the underside of the rack. You can do so after the rack has cooked if desired.
  • Place ribs on the grill bone side down on the grates, or on the cooler (indirect) side if you’ve set up for two-zone cooking. Insert the meat probe, close the lid, and smoked beef ribs for 1 hour undisturbed.
  • After an hour, you will notice a nice bark forming. If there are dry patches on the bark, that is an indication that the ribs need to be spritzed. Spray lightly with juice, broth, or our signature BBQ spritz. Close the lid and continue cooking until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Spritz once more, then wrap the ribs with aluminum foil or pink butcher paper. Place them back on the smoker or grill, close the lid, and continue cooking until they reach 190 degrees F.
  • Wearing heat-resistant gloves, remove ribs from the grill. Carefully unwrap smoked beef back ribs and place them back on the grill, bone side down. Brush with BBQ sauce every 10 minutes until the ribs reach an internal temperature between 203-205 degrees F. Saucing is optional.
  • Remove ribs once more and place them onto a clean cutting board. Loosely tent with foil, and let them rest for 20 minutes before carving.
ribs on a smoker

What to serve with beef ribs

Smoked beef back ribs are quite versatile and pair well with traditional BBQ sides. Here are a few of our favorites.

beef-back-ribs-carved

Storing leftovers

Store individual smoked beef back ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days, or store in vacuum-sealed bags for 2 months in the freezer. Thaw them in your refrigerator for 8-12 hours before rewarming in a 300-degree oven.

Can you marinate beef ribs?

Yes! In fact, we have recommended it for beef back ribs, flanken ribs, and country-style ribs too! Try beef rib marinade recipe for fantastic flavor!

Beef Back Ribs Carved

Smoked Beef Back Ribs

These fantastic smoked beef back ribs are tender, smoky, and spend a mere 3 hours on the grill.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: BBQ beef back ribs, beef back ribs, smoked beef back ribs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 230kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Equipment

  • Pink butcher paper or aluminum foil (see below)
  • 1 Clean food-safe spray bottle
  • 1 Basting brush (for sauce, optional)
  • Wood chips, chunks, or pellets (cherry wood recommended)
  • 1 Instant-read thermometer or meat probe
  • 1 Large tongs
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Grill or smoker

Ingredients

  • 1 rack of beef back ribs (7 bone)
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons Beef Rib Rub (SPG Rub or, your favorite beef rub)
  • 1 1/4 cups Texas Barbecue Sauce (your favorite bottled sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Apple juice low sodium beef broth, or Bourbon BBQ Spritz (see post above for details)

Instructions

  • Prepare your pellet grill or smoker to 275 degrees F. If using kamado or similar equipment, set up for indirect cooking, then add wood chunks to the fire 5 minutes before the ribs go on.
  • Rub beef back ribs with Worcestershire sauce, then apply seasoning rub. Do not worry about removing the membrane from the underside of the rack. You can do so after the rack has cooked if desired.
  • Place ribs on the grill bone side down, or place the ribs onto the cooler (indirect) side if you’ve set up for two-zone cooking. Insert meat probe, close the lid, and cook undisturbed for 1 hour.
  • After an hour, you will notice a nice bark forming. If there are dry patches on the bark, that is an indication that the ribs need to be spritzed. Spray lightly with juice, broth, or our signature BBQ spritz. Close the lid and continue cooking until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Spritz once more, then wrap the ribs with aluminum foil or pink butcher paper. Place them into the smoker or grill, close the lid, and continue cooking until they reach 190 degrees F.
  • Wearing heat-resistant gloves, remove ribs from the grill. Carefully unwrap them and place them back on the grill, bone side down. Brush with BBQ sauce every 10 minutes until the ribs reach an internal temperature between 203-205 degrees F. Saucing is an optional step.
  • Remove ribs once more and place them onto a clean cutting board. Loosely tent with foil, and let them rest for 20 minutes before carving into individual ribs.
  • Store ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days, or store in vacuum-sealed bags for 2 months in the freezer. Thaw them in your refrigerator for 8-12 hours before rewarming in a 300-degree oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 1032mg | Potassium: 308mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 207IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

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