Smoked Beef Plate Ribs are tender, beefy, and mouthwatering. These flavorful beef plate ribs are seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic and pack a generous helping of meat per bone. Each of these smoked beef ribs will feed two people, as they can weigh 1-2 pounds each. Wow! Get your smoker going; we’re about to have a good time.
What are beef plate ribs?
Beef plate ribs (or beef spare ribs) come from the belly portion of the animal. This cut should not be confused with beef back ribs which are located near the spine. Beef plate ribs are well-marbled, thick slabs of meat nestled around the bone. Butchers will cut these ribs into thin strips across the bone to form flanken ribs (popular in Korean cuisine) or slice them into smaller sections creating short ribs. Beef plate ribs lend themselves well to low and slow cooking. This makes them a great candidate for hot smoke cooking, braising, and fast cooking (especially the flanken ribs).
Beef plate ribs are easier to find here in central Texas, but they are available elsewhere through bulk grocery stores, online meat purveyors like Snake River Farms, or your local butcher.
Beef Rib Success:
- Preparation: Most beef plate ribs come pre-trimmed and packaged. However, if you get one fresh from the butcher, you might need to clean it up. Using a sharp knife, remove the tough connective tissue, or silver skin, covering the meat. Not only does this connective tissue create a barrier to smoke, but silver skin is tough and inedible.
- Next, cut off any hanging bits of fat and flesh from the beef plate.
- Flavor: Choose a simple rub for beef plate ribs. A simple SPG (salt, pepper, garlic) rub will do.
- Binding Agent: Use a binding agent like yellow mustard, oil, hot sauce, or Worcestershire sauce to help the rub stick. Apply a thin layer of your preferred binding agent before applying the rub. A binding agent is not required, so if you prefer not to use one, that is 100% okay!
- Essentials: Prepare for a 6+ hour cooking time. Have enough fuel available, and choose a wood that works well with beef (see below for suggestions).
- 3-bone beef plate ribs
- Black pepper
- Granulated Garlic (substitute with garlic powder)
- Apple juice or Bourbon Spritz
- Spray bottle
Wood Suggestions: Oak, Apple, Hickory, or Alder
How to Smoke Beef Plate Ribs:
- Trim off the fat cap on the meat portion of the ribs. Some butchers will trim it down a bit, but it’s a good idea to trim off the silver skin and any thick knobs of fatty tissue. Fat acts as a barrier to smoke. Unlike intra-muscular fat (marbling), it will not keep the meat moist and can become rubbery.
- If you flip your rack of beef plate ribs over, you’ll notice a thick membrane covering the bones. Now, I do not remove this membrane on beef ribs, but some pitmasters will take it off. The process is similar to removing the membrane on pork ribs but might take a little extra effort based on its thickness. This step is not required, so feel free to leave it on if you’d like to.
- After trimming, blot the rack of beef ribs with a paper towel, Brush with a little oil or slather with 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons of yellow mustard (optional). I like to use hot sauce like sriracha or Yellow Bird to give it an extra layer of flavor.
- Make a simple Texas-style SPG by combining 4 teaspoons of salt with two teaspoons of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic. Season beef plate ribs well with rub. Let the ribs stand at room temperature until your smoker is up to temp. You can also preseason the ribs up to 1 hour before cooking.
- Prepare your grill or smoker for 250 degrees F. Add your choice of wood. See above for wood recommendations. Plan on a 6-hour cooking time, with a rib doneness temperature of 200-205 degrees F. Have a reliable instant meat thermometer or temperature probe handy. You will need it!
- Once your smoker comes up to temperature, place the beef ribs onto the grates, bone side down. If you have room, set a drip pan underneath the grates under where the ribs will be. Close the lid and let the ribs go for 3 hours.
- During this time, the bark will set up. Leave the ribs alone for those 3 hours, but watch the temperature to ensure your smoker is not going above 250 degrees.
- After 3 hours, examine your smoked beef ribs. You will notice that a nice bark has set up. You might also see some dry patches forming. This is a good indicator that you need to spritz the ribs with a little beef broth or your preferred liquid like pickle juice, apple cider vinegar, or apple juice. I recommend using a room temperature liquid to keep the meat temperature stable. Cold liquids will dip the temperature and prolong your cooking time.
- Spritz the liquid (or pickle juice, apple cider vinegar, etc.) onto the ribs. Keep a fair distance from the meat, and do not spray directly into it. Doing so will disturb the bark you’ve worked so hard to create. Think more along the lines of misting rather than spraying.
- Close the lid and continue cooking.
- You’ll also notice that the meat has started to pull back from the bones, and the bones will protrude more. That’s normal!
- Typically, I don’t wrap smoked beef ribs in butcher paper, or at all. Believe it or not, leaving them unwrapped shaves time off of the total cooking time. However, if you’d like to wrap them after they reach the 165-degree mark, be aware that they will take longer to come up to 200 degrees.
- The temperature of the meat will stall during the cooking process. I do not recommend wrapping these smoked beef ribs. Just give them some time. Keep in mind that the cooking process can take 6 hours or more.
- If running close on time, wrap the ribs with peach butcher paper once they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Place them into your oven and finish cooking at 275 degrees F, until done. See below for optimal doneness temperature.
- The smoked beef ribs are done once they have reached an internal temperature of 200-205 degrees.
- Use heat-resistant gloves to remove the beef plate ribs from the smoker. Place them onto a large cutting board and lightly tent with aluminum foil. Let the ribs rest for 30 minutes.
- Use a sharp knife to cut through the ribs and serve. Some folks also like to remove the bones and slice the meat. The choice is yours.
Place your leftover smoked beef plate ribs into an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Reheat in the oven at 300 degrees F. until warmed through. If you liked this recipe, try our Pellet Grill Smoked Brisket!
Serve these amazing ribs with some of our favorite side dishes:
- Pellet Grill Baked Potatoes
- Texas Creamed Corn
- Pellet Grill Hasselback Potatoes
- Funeral Potatoes on the Grill
- Pellet Grill Baked Beans
Smoked Beef Plate Ribs
- 1 beef ribs 3-Bone Plate Rib Rack
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1/2 cup apple juice for spritzing
- Prepare your smoker for 250 degrees F. Add wood of choice.
- Trim away the silver skin and knobs of fat from the ribs. Blot dry, and brush with oil.
- Combine salt, pepper, and garlic. Season ribs thoroughly with the mixture. Both sides and edges.
- Once the smoker is up to temperature, place the ribs bone-side down onto the grates. Close the lid and let it cook for 3 hours undisturbed. Check the temperature of your smoker, and adjust if needed.
- After 3 hours, spritz with apple juice (or liquid of choice). Close the lid and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 hours.
- Once the beef ribs reach an internal temperature between 200-205 degrees F, they are done.
- Remove the ribs from the smoker and place them onto a clean cutting board. Tent with aluminum
Photos by: Sabrina Baksh/derrickriches.com