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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 pork baby back 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 raw beef ribs with seasoning rub.
derrickriches.com

We recommend using cherry wood for this recipe. While oak and hickory are great, cherry wood is moderate enough to provide good smoke flavor without overwhelming the natural beefiness of the meat.

How long do you smoke beef back ribs?

Plan on 3-3 1/2 hours at 275 degrees F. Please keep in mind that each rack of ribs will cook differently, so some might cook in 3 hours, while others might take up to 5 hours. We’ve cooked these on a pellet grill and an XL Big Green Egg. They were wonderful 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 wood recommended)
  • Instant-read thermometer or meat probe
  • Large tongs
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Grill or smoker

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

You can use either. We recommend wrapping with foil if you want a more tender, steamed rib. However, use pink butcher paper if you’d like a consistent bark throughout the cooking process.

raw ribs with seasonings
derrickriches.com

Ingredients

smoked beef 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.
  • 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.
beef ribs on a smoker

What to serve with smoked beef ribs

Beef back ribs are quite versatile and can be served with typical BBQ sides. Here are a few of our favorites.

Storing leftovers

Store individually sliced 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 marinade beef ribs?

Yes! In fact, we have recommend it for beef back ribs, flanken ribs, and country style ribs too! We have an amazing beef rib marinade recipe that we know you’ll love!

smoked beef ribs being brushed with BBQ sauce

Smoked Beef Back Ribs

These fantastic smoked beef back ribs are tender, smoky, and spend a mere 3 hours on the grill.
5 from 1 vote
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
Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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