Whether you’re preparing to make BBQ beef ribs for a special occasion with hundreds of guests, or a family of four, you’ll want to be sure to have all the essentials to set yourself up for success in cooking the best BBQ beef ribs out there.
But where to start?
What Are Beef Ribs?
Beef ribs come from the shorter section of rib that’s located across the lower part of a cow’s rib cage. They’re between 3 and 6 inches long. When buying the meat to create your BBQ beef rib recipe, you’ll want to look for the more expensive cuts as they will come from chuck, which is a better cut of meat. Ribs are notorious for becoming too tough when cooked incorrectly, though, so paying attention to timing and temperature is very important.
Temperatures And Times
These two ‘T’s’ are of utmost importance in cooking tender and rich smoked short ribs that don’t become too tough. For the internal temperature of the meat, you’ll want to aim for 201°F. Since ribs will soften at a higher temperature than other cuts, the smoking of beef ribs should be done at a temperature higher than 225°F.
The key to a higher temperature is to allow your ribs to reach their target internal temperature slowly, as getting there too quickly can ruin your meat. At the end of the cooking process, you should be able to cut through your meat as easily as cutting through butter.
Timing is also a key factor in achieving perfect short ribs. In most cases, short ribs will take between 6 and 8 hours to cook. Of course, different variables will affect this timing, like the thickness of the meat or quality of the smoker. The internal temperature of the meat is going to tell you it’s done more accurately than any time constraint will.
There are quite a few wood options available for smoking ribs, including:
- Fruit woods, like cherry or apple
When it comes to smoking beef particularly, the most common and highly recommended options are cherry or apple, as they’re less likely to overpower the taste of the ribs.
There are also different levels of seasoning that can be used when smoking short ribs. Some prefer to use only salt, which is applied across the meat and then allowed to rest. This helps bring the meat’s juices closer to the surface.
Then there’s the option of adding a few more seasonings, like black pepper and garlic powder.
And finally, there are recipes that allow for a bit of kick or extra flavor from a dry rub. That’s a little more complex, and adds ingredients such as white pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, etc., to the mix.
It would be difficult to make delicious BBQ short ribs without the BBQ. So, what kind of BBQ sauce is best to season your ribs with? You could go the store-bought route, but for best results, there are endless amounts of homemade BBQ recipes that can take your short ribs to the next level.
Most basic BBQ sauces contain:
- Cider vinegar
- Tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce
- Brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
However, there are many other ingredients that can be added, or taken away, in order to create a new and different BBQ sauce.
Sides To Pair With BBQ Beef Ribs
Any good meal needs plenty of sides, and when you’re making a meat as delicious as BBQ beef ribs, sides are a very important accent. Here are 10 sides that make a great pairing for BBQ beef ribs:
- Collard Greens
- Macaroni and cheese
- Sauteed broccoli
- Potato salad
- Corn fritters
- Baked cheese grits
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Macaroni salad
- Fried green tomatoes
Of course, the options for sides are virtually endless, but these staples can be a great place to start.
Kinds Of Smokers
Of course, great short ribs can be made in an oven alone, however, some of the best short rib recipes are made in a smoker. If the smoking route is what you choose, the smoker you purchase is very important.
There are three different kinds of smokers: electric, gas, and pellet. Of those options, here are some of the best smokers on the market today:
- Cookshack AmeriQue Electric Smoker
- Smokin Tex 1500-C Electric BBQ Smoker
- Cookshack SuperSmoker Electric Smoker
- Lynx Sonoma 30-Inch Gas Smart Smoker
- Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Gas Smoker
- Memphis Grills Beale Streat Pellet Grill
- Traeger Timberline 1300 Pellet Grill
Electric and pellet smokers will need to be plugged into an electrical source in order to be used, while an electric smoker runs off of electricity. Different grill masters and chefs will have different preferences when they smoke their rib. Those preferences can guide you about which kind of smoker will be the best choice.
Sometimes the utensils used in the kitchen, or by the grill, are overlooked. But when you think about it, utensils are some of the most essential items when it comes to cooking your meals. When it comes to smoking spare ribs, here are some of the utensils you’re going to want to make sure you always have on hand:
- Tongs: These are perfect for turning food over with a grip similar to using your own hands.
- Spatula: This will be used less when making ribs, but can still be beneficial.
- Meat Thermometer: Is perfect for checking the internal temperature of your meat, allowing you to know when it’s close to done.
- Mop Brush: Necessary for applying extra layers of BBQ sauce throughout the smoking process.
- Cleaning Tools: Having a clean grill will make for better tasting food in the long run, so be sure to not forget your cleaning utensils, like wire brushes, when making your grill purchases.
There’s no one best way to make BBQ short ribs, but as you experiment and work toward creating your own personalized recipe, keeping these essentials in mind can ensure you’re set up for success.
Between ingredients, recipes, a grill setup, and all the required utensils, there are a lot of details that go into creating the best BBQ beef rib recipe—make sure you’re prepared with all the essentials before firing up the grill for the first time.