Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Beef short ribs are one of the most flavorful cuts of meat available on a cow. Although it can be cooked with or without smoke, smoking really brings out the flavor in beef short ribs. Smoking a whole slab of short ribs can be a lot of work, and there is always some waste.

In this article, I will introduce you to smoked beef short ribs by showing you how I smoke them.

What are beef ribs?

Beef ribs are the ribs from a large steer or heifer. Beef ribs are cut from the lower part of the rib cage behind the last rib, and they contain a portion of more than one rib. The meat is flavorful, but there isn’t as much meat on beef ribs as pork spare or baby back ribs.

Smoked Beef Short Ribs

What are the types of beef ribs?

Beef ribs are further divided into categories, based on location and anatomical structure.

Rib-Eye Steak Bones: These beef bones come from the rib section of the steer or heifer, where the most meat is located. The meat on these bones is generally not cooked as long as other beef ribs because there is so much tender meat on this bone, but they are just as tasty. 

Short Ribs: Short ribs come from the middle part of the rib cage where ribs six through twelve would be found on a steer or heifer. Short ribs vary in size depending on how old the cow was when it died. If your butcher cuts short ribs for you, you can ask him to cut thin-cut or thick-cut short ribs. The bones on these beef ribs are usually not more than 1 inch in thickness, and the meat is well-marbled (interspersed with fat). I prefer to use thick-cut short ribs when cooking because there will be much less rendered fat when the short ribs are done smoking.

Short Plate Ribs: Short plate ribs come from the lower chest area of a cow, where rib 13 would normally be found. This part of the animal does not see as much activity as other parts do, so there is less meat here than on other types of beef ribs. These beef ribs tend to have an unappetizing layer of hard cartilage just under the surface that needs to be removed before cooking. Short plate ribs are a good choice for braising because the meat has a lot of connective tissue, which breaks down when cooked for a long period of time.

Chuck Short Ribs: These beef ribs come from even lower on the cow than short plate ribs. They tend to be very fatty, but they make really tasty ribs if you like lots of fat in your diet. Chuck short ribs are also known as 7-bone steak bones or English Style Beef Ribs.

What are the health benefits of beef short ribs?

Beef short ribs are one of the richest cuts in protein that you can find in any grocery store. Organic or grass-fed beef is even better for you because it contains higher levels of vitamins A and E than meat labeled “feedlot-finished” (the stuff they give to cows when they’re in a feedlot). These two antioxidants keep your immune system healthy so you can fight off viruses, bacteria, and fungi with ease.

Less fat: Unlike other cuts of beef, beef short ribs contain very little saturated fat per serving size. This means that smoking them won’t lead to weight gain like some delicious meats do. Since most people will eat too much if their food tastes good, the leanness of short ribs will keep you from eating too much and packing on extra pounds before your next birthday!

Less cholesterol: Beef short ribs are lower in cholesterol than other types like a porterhouse steak, strip steaks, T-bone steaks, ribeyes, or top sirloin. Since high levels of cholesterol have been linked to heart disease, switching out any red meat with low-cholesterol beef cuts may help you live longer!

How to choose good short ribs?

When choosing short ribs, there are things to look for and things to avoid.

What to look for:

Good marbling: Look at the beef ribs, and make sure there is a nice web of fat running throughout the meat. The rib bones should have a little bit of white on them. If you are using short plates or chuck ribs, examine them closely for any hard pieces of cartilage that need to be trimmed away before cooking.

Freshness date: A lot of butchers will put an expiration date on their beef products. If possible, choose beef short ribs with the farthest expiration date because they are likely more fresh than those with an upcoming expiration date.  

Packaging: If you are buying your beef ribs in Cryovac packaging, make sure there isn’t too much blood in the package, and the plastic is still clear.


Excess water: Examine your beef ribs to make sure there isn’t a lot of water in the packaging. If you see large amounts of water surrounding the meat, choose another package or ask your butcher to drain away excess liquid before weighing them.

Discolored meat: Beef rib should be red-pink, and should not look brown around the edges (if it does, it may be too old). Make sure there isn’t any green meat visible either. Green spots usually indicate that bacteria have been growing on the meat for some time now which can lead to food-borne illnesses if you eat it raw. Cooked beef short ribs are safe from e coli bacteria.

Good cooking methods for beef short ribs:

Smoking: Beef short ribs are really tasty when they are smoked low-and-slow on a smoker. I personally like to use oak wood when smoking beef ribs, but any type of hardwood will do the trick.

Grill: Short ribs can be grilled as is, or if you have a grill basket, you can cut them into pieces to make them easier to handle. Beef short ribs take a long time to cook on the grill. If they are too fatty, put a small pan under the rib rack to catch any rendered fat that drips down.

Cook low and slow: One of my favorite ways to cook beef short ribs is in an oven at 250 degrees for five hours. It’s okay if you need more time than that – they will still taste really good. Cover the short ribs with a liquid-like apple juice, wine, or even water, and cook for as long as possible. After they’re done cooking, let them rest until they are cool enough to handle, then cut the bones off the meat and serve it up with some sauce on top.

Sous Vide: This method yields the most tender beef short ribs, but takes a long time to do. Put your short ribs in a vacuum-packed bag and cook them for 72 hours at 137 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat will not overcook – you can leave it in there until it’s time to serve dinner! When they come out, sear the meat quickly with a blowtorch or place them into a very hot oven just until they caramelize.

Simmered: You can use beef stock or red wine as a liquid to simmer your beef short ribs for about two hours before slicing and serving them up like barbecue sandwiches.

What are the benefits of smoking beef short ribs?

Beef short ribs are often called the most flavorful cut of beef. They are great for smoking, grilling, or slow cooking because they take on both smoke and liquid flavors really well.

Smoking beef short ribs is an excellent way to prepare them because it tenderizes the meat while making it tastier than ever. The fat in short ribs melts while they cook so there is very little shrinkage to worry about when you’re done! I like to put smoked, barbecued beef short ribs into tacos with some coleslaw for a delicious treat that’s perfect for summertime parties.

Short ribs can be tough if overcooked or cooked too quickly, but after hours in the smoker at low heat, they become moist and succulent without a lot of effort. Smoking beef short ribs is a great way to prepare them in bulk so you can eat this flavorful cut for days afterward, and the process even allows you to preserve some for later!

How to smoke beef short ribs?

Prepare beef short ribs for smoking:

You should always remove the membrane from the back of beef short ribs before you put them in your smoker. This skin-like material tends to melt and come off during cooking so it’s easier to take it off beforehand.

Cut through the thick layer of fat on each side of each short rib with a sharp knife, then grasp the fat between fingers and bend it away from you until you can feel where the membrane begins.

Slide a butter knife or other thin blade under the membrane and cut toward yourself to slice away this layer of connective tissue from every beef short ribs. It shouldn’t be too difficult if you’ve already removed a little bit of fat first.

Once all membranes are gone, season beef short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides before placing them in your smoker or slow cooker. Since you don’t have to worry about the meat getting tough, you can cook beef short ribs at a higher temperature than most other cuts of beef without worrying about drying it out.

Smoke for five hours using low heat:

Put the seasoned beef short ribs into your smoker or slow cooker and smoke at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for five hours! If they are thick, put them over indirect heat so that all parts of the meat get hot enough to break down connective tissue while protecting them from direct heat.

If you like thicker pieces of barbecued beef short ribs, it’s okay to keep them in the smoker for up to eight hours. You should make sure there’s no pink on the inside, otherwise, they aren’t done yet!

If you do have a thermostat for your smoker, keep it around 230 Fahrenheit to ensure that the meat cooks slowly over time. If you don’t have a thermometer, use a remote one so you can check the temperature without leaving the house!

Sauce and serve:

When beef short ribs are finished smoking, pull them from your smoker or slow cooker and brush with barbecue sauce. At this point, I cook them on indirect heat (no coals under the meat) until the sauce gets nice and smoky and clings to all sides of each rib. You can also finish these bad boys by putting them onto direct heat if you like crispy parts on your barbecued beef short ribs!

Slice and serve, either on their own or in tacos with slaw. The sauce from the smoker will have dripped from the meat as it is cooked so you can just pour that into a bowl to go alongside beef short ribs if you want an extra treat.

Serve these delicious smoked beef short ribs with baked beans and cornbread for a real Southern meal! If you don’t have a smoker but still want good barbecue, smoke them over indirect heat in a slow cooker instead. It won’t be quite as effective at tenderizing the meat, but it’s a great alternative if you need something quick.

What types of smokers can you use to smoke beef short ribs?

You can use virtually any smoker to smoke beef short ribs.

Pellet smokers – Pellet smokers are very good at maintaining a consistent temperature for long periods of time. This means they cook meat slowly and gently, which is perfect for beef short ribs.

Ceramic smokers – These types of smokers are often more expensive, but they use an electric heater to generate smoke rather than wood chips. This allows you to set the smoker at low heat even when the weather isn’t cooperating! That’s great if you don’t want to go outside just to fire up your smoker.

Gas smokers – Gas smokers work by pumping propane into a chamber that heats up enough to produce smoke from the wood inside it. The benefit of gas smokers over the pellet or electric ones is that they’re very cheap and easy to use without requiring any special knowledge. They’re especially useful if you want to smoke beef short ribs in the winter when pellet or electric smokers aren’t worth using.

Charcoal smokers – As the name suggests, these smokers heat up wood chips or chunks using coals that you can make yourself. The main benefit of charcoal smokers is simplicity: they don’t require electricity and are very easy to use. However, charcoaling takes longer than other methods so it’s best if you keep it for shorter barbecue sessions rather than long ones.

Smoked Beef Short Ribs

What types of wood can you use to smoke beef short ribs?

You can use virtually any type of wood to smoke beef short ribs.

Cherry – This is a great option for beginners as it has a low density and a mild taste.

Hickory – If you’re cooking beef short ribs with hickory, you need to be careful not to let them burn. Be sure to soak your wood chips or chunks before using them too!

Oak – Like cherry, oak has a low density which means that the heat given off by your smoker will be more consistent. Oak may have an unpleasant tang if misused though so choose it over other options for beginner smokers who want more control over their food!

Mesquite – Mesquite produces very dense smoke so be careful when using it. It has a very strong flavor, so it’s best to mix it with other types of wood for better results.

What spices can you use to season beef short ribs?

There are so many different spices out there that it can be hard to pick just one! That said, you should experiment with a variety of flavors until you find the perfect blend for your tastes.

Here are a few suggestions:

Paprika – This is a great base for beef short ribs which you can mix with cayenne pepper, chili powder, and salt.

Chipotle powder – If you’re not sure whether you want spicy or smoky flavors on your meat, try chipotle powder! It has a subtle smokiness that goes really well with BBQ sauce if you choose to use that as well.

Lemon zest – This simple seasoning will go very nicely with beef short ribs. Just be careful not to overcook the meat so it doesn’t turn dry!

Garlic – Garlic is versatile enough to work with almost any spices so throw some on if you love the flavor of this useful ingredient.

Cinnamon – Who knew cinnamon would be so well suited to beef short ribs? It provides a wonderful spice without overwhelming your mouth with too much heat.

Sumac – For the Middle Eastern BBQ lovers out there, this is an excellent option for beef short ribs! Sumac has a sour, tangy flavor that’s not quite like anything else.

Oregano – This herb will add depth and complexity to your meat without making it too spicy. Perfect if you’re cooking for kids who don’t like hot food!

Rosemary – If you want something that goes really well with potatoes (which can be served as a side dish) try rosemary! Be sure to avoid burning the leaves or they’ll lose their flavor entirely.

Sage – Beef short ribs are a great match for sage thanks to their savory, earthy flavor. It’s not as spicy as other spices but it will leave you feeling very satisfied nonetheless!

Can you use marinades when smoking beef short ribs?

Yes, you can! Marinating your beef short ribs before smoking them is a great way to make sure they retain flavor and moisture even as the heat of the smoker causes them to dry out.

Here are some marinade ideas:

BBQ sauce – Add this to your beef short ribs after marinating them and before placing them in the smoker.

Soy sauce – This will give your meat a strong flavor that goes well with Asian-inspired dishes.

Beer – Beer acts like an acidic ingredient in marinades so it will tenderize your meat without making it dry or tasteless! Another win for beer lovers everywhere.

Lemon juice – If you’re looking for something tangy, lemon juice is the way to go! It doesn’t overpower other flavors in the same way that vinegar does which makes it perfect for beginners who need to learn how to balance their seasoning properly.

What dishes can go well with smoked beef short ribs?

There are so many different dishes that can go well with smoked beef short ribs. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Smoked beef short ribs pasta – A combination of fettuccine and parmesan is perfect with smoked beef short ribs while the red pepper flakes add just enough spice to keep things interesting!

Smoked beef short ribs rice bowl – This is a great dish for people who like their food spicy but don’t want to overwhelm their companions. The shallots make it fresh while the soy sauce makes sure everything tastes delicious!

Skillet cornbread (with smoked beef short ribs) – If you can find smoked gouda, this pan-fried cornbread is even better than traditional versions because it goes so well with smoky meat.

Smoked beef brisket burger – Thanks to the pickles cheddar cheese and bacon, this burger will be one that people remember for a long time.

Smoked beef short ribs lettuce wraps – These are the perfect low-carb alternative to dishes like fried rice when you want something tasty but not too heavy. Plus, it’s super easy to make!

One thing is clear: if you’ve never tried smoked beef short ribs before, now is the time to do it! They’re an incredibly easy way to make sure your tastebuds stay satisfied while still being healthy and beneficial for your whole body. Just follow these tips and whatever dish you choose will be delicious!

Sauces for smoked beef short ribs:

There are so many different sauces you can use to top off your smoked beef short ribs. Here are just a few of our favorite combinations:

Cranberry sauce + horseradish – This is the perfect combination for people who like something sweet to accompany their meat. It’s almost like cranberry sauce was made to go with beef!

Horseradish mustard – If you’re looking for something spicy but not too overpowering, this mixture is perfect. Plus, it will work regardless of whether or not you want your food sweet or sour!

Béarnaise sauce + sautéed mushrooms – Béarnaise has an incredibly rich taste thanks to all its buttery goodness so adding some mushrooms will make it seem lighter without losing its original flavor.

Strawberry pepper jelly + cream cheese – If you’re looking for a dip to keep things fresh, look no further! You can eat this one with chips or bread and it’ll be the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.

Soy sauce/hoisin sauce + Sriracha chili sauce – This is an incredibly flavorful dipping sauce that’s great for people who like their food hot but not overwhelming. Make sure to mix it well before using it!

Smoked beef short ribs are easy to cook if you don’t mind waiting several hours for them to finish cooking so they retain their tenderness and moist flavor. Just remember these tips and your favorite smoky meat dishes will never go out of style!

Drinks to go with smoked beef short ribs:

There are so many different drinks that will go great with any type of smoked meat. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Bloody Mary – If you want something spicy and savory, this is the drink for you! It’ll definitely wake up your taste buds and make them ready for an amazing meal.

White wine (preferably dry) – Dry white wines like Chardonnay and Riesling can pair quite well with beef regardless of what preparation method is used. They’re not too overpowering or rich but they still provide a full flavor that complements food perfectly.

Cabernet sauvignon – While this red wine isn’t as flavorful as its white wine counterpart, it’s still a great option for smoked meats. A lot of people enjoy the robustness of red wines with beef so don’t be afraid to give them a shot!

Vodka cranberry juice – This is definitely one of our favorite drinks because it provides an easy way to get rid of hangovers while still enjoying delicious food! Sometimes all you need is tart cranberry juice and vodka to feel refreshed.

Tips for smoking beef short ribs?

Take your beef short ribs out of the fridge an hour before you want to smoke them. If you keep them in a cold fridge, they won’t take as long to heat up and this will impact how moist the meat ends up being!

Season your beef short ribs generously before smoking them.

Be sure not to overcook your beef short ribs- check by cutting into one with a sharp knife or testing it with a fork after about 5 hours in the smoker!

Use tongs instead of utensils when placing your meat on the smoker racks to avoid damaging it.

Try using apple juice instead of water in your smoker’s water tray if you’d like to add more flavor to your dish without altering the consistency of its texture too much.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! There are literally hundreds of different ways you can season your beef short ribs so there’s no reason not to try something new every time you smoke this meat.

No matter what, your beef short ribs will turn out great if you keep these tips in mind. Just make sure they don’t dry out while cooking and check for doneness using a sharp knife or fork (or some other tool that lets you test the texture of the meat without piercing it). Once it looks like it’s done, take it off the smoker rack and serve it up your dinner guests will love it!

Things to avoid when smoking beef short ribs:

There are a few things you should avoid when smoking beef short ribs to ensure that your meat tastes as good as possible. Even the most amazing smoked meat can go bad if it’s not stored or presented properly so just follow this advice and you’ll be fine:

Do not rinse your meat – It might look like all the ingredients used to season smoked beef short ribs might lead to some tough and stringy results but, if anything, they’ll make it taste better than ever! Avoid rinsing off any of the spices before cooking and you won’t even notice them.

No bitter flavors – If you plan on serving your smoked beef with sauces or other types of toppings, make sure that those aren’t made from bitter products such as coffee or anything else that might leave a sour aftertaste.

No fishy flavors – If you want your beef to taste as fresh as possible, avoid smoky ingredients such as fish and seafood until the very end of cooking time. Those types of foods will make your meat taste funny so save them for last!

Smoked beef short ribs can be cooked with a wide range of different spices and ingredients to create a huge variety of dishes that are equally delicious. Just remember these tips and tricks to get started on smoking some amazing ribs today!

Recipes for smoked beef short ribs:

Smoked beef short ribs are one of our favorite cuts of meat but they can be difficult to prepare since there are so many different types of meats that can go into their composition.

If you’re still stuck, try checking out some of these recipes for smoked beef short ribs to get started:

Smoked Beef Short Ribs With Sriracha Sauce – Spicy and sweet is a great combination for meats such as these! The ingredients blend together to create an amazing meal that has just the right amount of everything.


3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed, 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste, 4 pounds beef short ribs

Cooking Directions:

Combine brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl then rub all over your beef short ribs on both sides. Place ribs in a large resealable bag then add 1/4 cup of water to the bag. Seal the top tightly then refrigerate overnight so that it can marinate properly. The next day, remove ribs from the bag and place them on a baking sheet so they’ll fit inside your smoker. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour then preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F (107 degrees C). Place ribs in the smoker then smoke until tender, about 5 hours. Remove from heat and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Balsamic and Cherry-Smoked Beef Short Ribs – This recipe is a great way to experiment with different flavors since it combines cherry preserves and balsamic vinegar along with traditional seasonings such as onion powder and garlic. There’s no doubt that these will become one of your go-to dishes whenever you smoke meat!


3 pounds beef short ribs, 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste, 4 ounces cherry preserves (about 1/2 cup), 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 


Combine all ingredients except for the cherry preserves and vinegar in a bowl then rub over both sides of your short rib meat. Place ribs in a large resealable container then add cherry preserves and vinegar. Seal the top tightly then refrigerate overnight so that it can marinate properly. Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before smoking. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F (107 degrees C). Place ribs in the smoker then smoke until tender, about 5 hours. Remove from heat and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.



Are beef short ribs expensive?

Yes, beef short ribs can be a bit pricey depending on where you buy them since the price varies from grocer to grocer. A good way to find out if they’re affordable in your area is by checking through local ads and stores before making a decision.

How many calories are in beef short ribs?

3 ounces of cooked beef short ribs contains approximately:

Calories: 323, Fat: 20g, Saturated fat 9g, Monounsaturated fat 8g, Cholesterol 120mg, Sodium 468mg, Potassium 291mg, Carbohydrate 0.5g, Protein 23g

If I choose not to use my smoker, do these beef short ribs still turn out? 

Yes! You can cook them in the oven at 175 degrees F (80 degrees C) for about 4 hours but it’s important to check often so they don’t overcook or burn. Keep an eye on your meat every hour or so during the cooking process and remove when they become tender enough so that you can easily shred with a fork!

How much beef short ribs per person?

An average serving of beef short ribs usually weighs about 3 ounces per person. You can increase or decrease this amount depending on your needs and what type of dish you’re preparing! For example, if you purchase a whole rack of beef short ribs then it could serve up to 12 people. In contrast, a single pound may only be enough to serve 2 people as part of an entrée.

Do you cut beef short ribs before cooking?

No, you don’t have to cut your short ribs before cooking them which is convenient for those who are on a time crunch or simply prefer throwing everything into one pot! However, if you’d like to separate the meat from the bones then it’s best to use kitchen shears to cut along each of the bones after they’ve finished smoking. Afterward, remove the bones and discard them.

Can you smoke beef short ribs without liquid?

Yes, there’s enough moisture given off by your beef short ribs during the smoking process that you don’t need to add any liquid before cooking. A water pan can help speed up this process but it isn’t necessary if you’re low on time since they’ll gradually release their own juices as they cook.

I basted my beef short ribs too early, is this okay?

It’s best to only apply your barbecue sauce towards the end of the cooking process so that it doesn’t become sticky and burn. If you do decide to brush it on earlier then it may cause flare-ups which can char the meat! Keep an eye on your smoker during this time and remove before applying any more sauce or glazes to prevent burnt food or dry meat.

How to check if beef short ribs are done?

The best way to check if your beef short ribs are done is by using a meat thermometer and checking that it has reached an internal temperature of around 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). If you don’t own one then cut into the center of your meat and check for any sign of pink. If it’s still intact and raw in the middle, place it back in the smoker and try again in 15 minutes or so after making sure all vents on your smoker are fully open! Cleaning up the grill afterward will be easier too without all those burnt bits stuck on there.

How to store beef short ribs?

It’s best to consume or freeze your beef short ribs as soon as possible so that they don’t dry out and turn freezer burn. If you’re storing them in the refrigerator then keep them stored in a sealed container with foil tightly wrapped around it to prevent any unwanted odors from getting into your food.

How to make beef short ribs tender?

You can make your beef short ribs tender by adding them to a pressure cooker or slow cooker and cooking them for an extended period of time. Alternatively, you can use a braising technique and simmer them in a liquid such as beef broth, wine, beer, or water with other ingredients like onions, garlic, and bay leaves for added flavor!

How long do beef short ribs take to cook?

The amount of time your beef short ribs will take to cook solely depends on the thickness of your meat. For example, thinner pieces may only need 1-2 hours while thicker pieces should be cooked over low heat for 4 hours at least. If you use a higher heat then they will burn quickly so be sure to keep the temperature low during this time!



Smoking beef short ribs is a great way to transform an inexpensive cut of meat into something that’s tender, moist, and full of flavor. You can also smoke different types of ribs including beef back ribs which are larger in size! Read this list again to remember the tips for smoking them so you’ll have a delicious finished product ready to serve any time your guests want mouth-watering barbecue!

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