BBQ56/17: Beef Short Ribs:
I have tried to cook beef ribs a few times in the past and haven’t had much success as they always came out tough and dry. It was good quality meat I had bought each time so I think my technique was just wrong. Thinking back to how I cooked them I just left them unwrapped for 8+ hours which a lot of recipes do suggest but maybe I took it off too soon or maybe there wasn’t enough fat in the meat, maybe both (but I think I took them off too soon!)
A few guys in the Twitter group I am in posted pics of beef ribs which looked really good and very juicy. The beef ribs were all Irish beef from Sherwood Foods bought from Mark at Bob’s butchers and the recommended technique seemed to be to cook them at 225F unwrapped for 3 hours then wrap them with some juice for another 3 hours. I ordered the beef ribs as part of a larger order and got ready to try and cook some good beef ribs (at last!).
The Grillstock book had a good recipe for a beef rub so I made that: Sea salt, garlic powder, celery salt, oregano and ground black pepper. Using the spice shaker I applied this liberally to the beef ribs and left them to sit for an hour. I actually split the beef ribs into 2x 2 bone sections rather than 1x 4 bone section. This was a tip from Marcus Bawdon as it increases the amount of bark you get from the extra exposed sides!
I got the smoker ready with 1x 4kg bag of heat beads (space in the middle) and poured half a chimney of lit lumpwood into the centre. I left the smoker base exposed to the wind for 10 minutes to allow the heat beads to take then built the smoker up and leaving it for 30 minutes to settle at 225F before I put the beef ribs on and a few chunks of hickory wood from Smokewood Shack:
I went back each hour to add more smoking wood and started adding Oak chunks after the first hour.
After 3 hours the bark was starting to form but looked quite brown rather than black. Knowing I was going to wrap these I wasn’t sure the bark was going to go black as I wanted.
After 4 hours exposed the ribs were around 150F internal I wrapped the ribs in tin foil to push through the stall and added some apple juice before sealing the foil to keep the steam in. I stuck one of my probes in to monitor the internal temperature of the ribs. I was planning on 4 hours exposed and 2 hours wrapped but 6 hours in the ribs looked to have hit a second stall at 180F. I was getting hungry so I ramped the smoker up to 275F and after half an hour they started climbing. I kept probing the ribs with my Thermapen every 15 minutes to check the temp and also the softness of the meat. 7.5 hours in the ribs were probing around 200F internal and feeling “soft like butter” so I took them off to rest (still wrapped) for half an hour. Once they had rested I took them out the foil and sliced them:
I was really happy with the colour of the bark, nice and dark but with a sheen from the melted fat also:
Nice smoke ring on the cut shot, they look a little dry towards the top in the photo below but you can see the juice oozing out in the middle.
With slight pressure the juice really did fly out! I had a good feeling about these ribs!
I also cooked some mac and cheese as the smoker was on, nice taste from the oak smoke. The mac and cheese recipe is in a previous post here.
I really enjoyed the beef ribs. The meat was good quality, they cooked well and were very moist/juicy which was great to finally achieve! The oak smoke really added to the taste but also smelt fantastic as it was cooking! There was a difference between the 2 sets of ribs as one set was definitely softer than the other. The softer ones were in the foil without the probe and weren’t probed right until the end so I think when I was probing the first set I was letting the steam/moisture out the foil so they might have needed a little longer. One to test next time I think but overall I was really happy to finally cook some good beef ribs!
The heat beads were great again. Sat solid at 225F and raised to 275F with no issue, there was still about a kilo left unlit when I shut the smoker down so 3kg for 7.5 hours.
Things to change next time:
- Don’t probe too early and keep the steam/moisture in the foil. Wait till the fixed probe hits 199/200 before probing with the Thermapen. Take them up to 203F if need be.
- Start the cook earlier as it might take 8 hours not 6 😉
Overall, really happy with this one and definitely recommend the beef ribs from Bob’s butchers.