Smoked Beef Short Ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender with a gorgeous bark on the outside. Make pellet grill beef ribs for your cookout or enjoy them all by yourself!
Impress your guests with this mouth-watering display of smoked beef short ribs — they’ll have no idea it was so easy to make!
Serve them along with all of your favorite BBQ sides.
Don’t have all day? I’ve got an amazing recipe for baby back ribs smothered in homemade bourbon barbecue sauce that you should try!
Smoked Beef Short Ribs
This smoked beef ribs recipe is a favorite summertime BBQ staple. We love them, and make them all year long!
Plus, pellet grill beef ribs are so easy to prepare. All you need are the meat, a BBQ dry rub for ribs, and a bit of patience to wait while the beef ribs smoke to perfection!
And by smoking short ribs rather than baking or grilling, the spices form an absolutely remarkable crust that makes for a beautiful presentation.
But more than that, the outer bark keeps all of the meat juices in the beef!
Keep reading to learn how to smoke beef ribs that are tender, juicy, and so easy to prepare right at home!
What Are Short Ribs?
As the name implies, this type of beef rib is shorter than other types.
Although they come from several different parts of the cow, the best and meatiest short ribs come from the chuck section of the cow. (source)
Meat from the chuck is full of fat and collagen. As a result, smoked beef short ribs have the best flavor after the fat melts away!
When searching for the best cut in the grocery store, keep an eye out for meat with as much marbling and meat as possible.
And, of course, be sure to choose bone-in for extra flavor and even cooking. Boneless short ribs are best for other cooking applications.
Best Dry Rub for Ribs
Our simple dry rub recipe is a combination of salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and paprika.
These flavors infuse the meat with sharp, smoky, and savory flavors all the way down to the bone.
How to Smoke Beef Ribs
Smoking short ribs is all about the cut, the dry rub, and giving the meat plenty of time to cook.
The aroma of the meat cooking might be too much to handle, but I promise it’s worth it when you have silky, juicy beef at the end of the day.
If you’re just learning how to smoke beef ribs, we have a few important tips to guarantee the best results!
- Preheat your smoker. This really is an important step — give it at least 30 minutes to get to 225 degrees.
You want your smoked beef short ribs to start cooking as soon as they’re in.
- Choose the right wood. Now, this really comes down to preference. For example, my favorite wood chips are a blend of oak, maple, and hickory.
If you’ve never smoked meat before, I recommend trying out a few different wood chips to find the flavor you like best!
Fruit woods are a great option if you prefer a less intense smokey flavor.
Internal Temp for Beef Ribs
The safe internal temp for beef ribs is 165°F, though we recommend smoking until it reaches 200°F for maximum tenderness.
It’s also crucial to let the smoked beef short ribs rest so that all of the spices and moisture don’t come leaking out as soon as you slice into them.
Once cooked, wrap pellet grill beef ribs in foil and leave them be for about an hour before slicing.
Add a big bowl of your favorite salad, whether it’s something simple like Caesar or a bit more robust with a variety of toppings.
Fresh dinner rolls and a plate of veggies with dip are usually a winner with this smoked beef ribs recipe as well.
Smoked Beef Ribs Recipe FAQ
Our recipe for smoked short ribs takes a total of 9 hours — 7 hours smoking on low heat, and 2 hours at a higher heat.
Smoking short ribs this way helps the meat cook through and allows a thick, smoky, and crisp bark to form on the surface of the meat.
It also keeps the meat moist and tender, rather than dry and chewy.
The blue color is a membrane, known as silverskin. Butchers often remove it prior to packaging the meat for sale, but they occasionally forget.
If you notice silverskin present on the bottom side of the racks, you will need to remove it yourself.
If you leave it on, it prevents the spices and smoke from properly infusing the meat. Plus, it has an unpleasant texture and no flavor whatsoever.
To remove silverskin:
Slide a butter knife between the membrane and the bones to separate the two.
Then, firmly grip one edge of the skin with a paper towel and peel it away. It should come off in one clean strip.
Cover leftovers and store them in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Reheat in a covered pan in a low-temperature oven with some beef broth or water to help keep the meat moist.
The internal temp for beef ribs is essentially the same when reheating. Warm until the meat reaches 165°F — this is a safe temperature that prevents any risk of food poisoning.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Smoking Recipes
Smoked Beef Short Ribs + Video
- 4 pounds beef chuck short ribs, English cut (not flanken), about 4 bones per rack
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced onion
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Use your favorite wood chip flavor. I use a blend of oak, maple and hickory on my Traeger pellet smoker.
- In a small bowl, mix all the rub ingredients together. Set aside.
- Remove the ribs from packaging and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Sprinkle the rub evenly on top of the ribs. Rub it in well to prevent it from falling off when the ribs are turned over. Repeat on all sides, and for all racks.
- Add ribs to the smoker.
- Cook until you reach an internal temperature of 160°F. In our pellet smoker, it takes about 7 hours. Time may vary if the ribs are smaller.
- When the ribs reach an internal temperature of 160°F, they should have a nice milk chocolate color outer bark. Then, increase the BBQ temperature to 275°F and cook ribs for an additional 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, or when the internal temperature of the beef reaches 200°F, remove ribs from the heat. The bark should be a dark chocolate color.
- Wrap the ribs in foil and let them rest for 45-60 minutes before slicing and serving.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published May 2021, updated and republished June 2023
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