Alright guys, I thought I had better do a food blog for you guys this time. If you are after a cost-effective and delicious cut of meat I have the perfect one for you. I think this one is definitely better bang for your buck for beginners – the mighty Beef Short Rib. When I think of these bad boys, I am taken back to my childhood and watching one of my favourite Saturday morning cartoons The Flintstones. Fred and the fam roll into the Bronto Burgers and Ribs drive-in and order a rack of ribs so big that it tips the car on its side. While our modern bovine friends aren’t quite the size of a Brontosaurus, look hard enough and you might just find a rack of ribs that will make you feel like a caveman.
Beef ribs can be fairly forgiving when learning to smoke with beef cuts, especially if you haven’t got the budget or nerve of cooking a full-size brisket. They are a succulent cut of meat that is full of flavour that will keep you smacking your lips from start to finish. They are also versatile and can be eaten in a number of different ways. My personal go-to is in a big juicy burger, or even sliced and served in bao buns just for something a little different and more easily managed when eating.
Ideally, you want to choose the best cut of meat that your budget can afford. We aren’t talking the shitty ribs in the Pak n’ Save freezer here. Head to your local butcher and ask them if they are able to supply something for you. What you are looking for is something that ideally has some marbling throughout the meat. What this means is small veins of fat that run through the meat itself. This is what will render down during the cooking process leaving your meat succulent and tender and super juicy.
- Preheat the smoker to somewhere between 250-285°F.
- While the smoker is coming up to temp, prep your meat – trim the ribs if needed by removing any hard fat deposits (the hard white fat) as this won’t render down during the cooking process. Also, it is a good idea to remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs (this can become tough and chewy).
- You can choose a binder on the outside of the ribs to help your rub stick but this isn’t a necessity. You could use oil, mustard, hot sauce or anything that might tickle your fancy.
- Apply your preferred rub, something like equal parts kosher salt, coarse black pepper and garlic powder/granules (SPG Rub). Otherwise, this comes down to your own personal taste and the possibilities are endless so give different combinations a try. Or just grab a pre-made rub off the shelf at your local.
- Place the ribs on the grill meat side up, and add a water pan to the cooking chamber. This will help to keep the cooking humid which helps to prevent your meat from drying out. You can also add a digital meat probe to keep an eye on your ambient cooking and internal temperatures throughout the cook.
- Add your wood chunks to your fire to start the smoke rolling (remember, aim for a nice thin blue smoke). Manuka does a good job, I have also used applewood which is a bit sweeter but again, it is all down to your personal taste.
- Once the smoke is rolling, generally you want to let it do its thing, don’t open or fuss with the smoker otherwise, you will blow out your cook time.
- After around an hour, it’s a good idea to check on the ribs and make sure they are doing ok. This is also a good time to give the ribs a spritz to keep the meat moist. Some like to use beer, beef stock, or vinegar but can be just plain water. You could try different combinations and again (I’m sounding like a broken record here), it comes down to your taste! Just remember to keep the spray to a fine mist otherwise you might wash off that delicious rub you applied earlier. Repeat your spritzing hourly or whenever you need to top up your fire to maintain your temperature of 250-285°F.
- After 3-4 hours of smoking, you could take the time to pull the meat off and wrap in peach/butchers paper. This isn’t necessary with short ribs, but it can help to lock in moisture and help render the fats down. Be careful as this may also reduce your cooking time so pay attention to your probe temps.
- After around 7-8 hours your ribs should be pretty much done. To check for doneness, stick a probe or skewer into the meat, what we are looking for here is “probe like butter” meaning that the skewer or probe should enter straight into the meat with no resistance. The internal temp should be around 195-215°F – again, internal temp here is just a guide, you are looking for that “probe like butter” feel to the meat.
- Once the ribs are done, pull them from the grill and you can set them aside to rest, 15-30mins and then you can tuck into them! If you want to serve them at a later time, you can wrap them in butchers paper and cover with a towel and place into a chilly-bin. They will hold their temp for a while ready for serving.
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Above is a throwback to my first attempt at beef short ribs. I took a few lessons out of my first cook with them and the importance of cooking them to that probe like butter feel. While these were not quite where I wanted them, they were still absolutely outstanding! Juicy as hell, tender and still had a great bite and delicious flavour.
Get out there guys and give them a go, you won’t be disappointed.
Kial – Fupa’s Barbecue