Barbecue Beef Short Ribs

February 5th, 201317 Comments

Barbecue Beef Short Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I’ve often been asked how to barbecue beef ribs because beef ribs taste delicious when you know how to cook them into a succulent tender mess. The word’s out that I know how to cook these delectable beefy morsels well as I’ve won first place several times when beef ribs were included as an extra category in barbecue competitions. In sanctioned contests, points awarded for the beef rib entry do not count towards the cumulative points from the chicken, pork ribs, pork butt, and brisket scores that determine the Grand Champion. Nevertheless, winning first place in the beef rib category has won me extra mullah numerous times to help cover my contest expenses. Besides, beef ribs are super yummy and are a welcome change to the standard pork ribs I usually cook in competition. The beef rib that’s legal for contests are back ribs which don’t have a lot of meat so for this recipe, I’m going to teach you how to make competition-grade beef short ribs which is the meaty version. In California, beef ribs are often sold Flanken-style which is prized by the Korean culture as it is used to make Galbi, a delicious grilled short rib that is soaked in a pear-soy marinade. The Flanken-style is a cross section cut about half-inch thick of the short rib exposing about 3-4 bones (see pic below).

For barbecue beef short ribs, I prefer not to use the Flanken cut as they are too thin for barbecue and better suited for grilling. Uncut beef short ribs are not that easy to find in the Southern California area and I found some at specialty butcher shops, Restaurant Depot, and Korean markets. In the Korean markets, you have to ask them for the uncut version as they usually cut them Flanken style in saran-wrap already for their customers. The short ribs I used for this recipe were Angus Choice-grade short rib with some fat cap on them. I trimmed some of the fat cap off and left a little on top to render. I like to cook my beef ribs around 275 degrees as I’ve found that lower pit temperatures doesn’t render the fat as well and the rib sits too long causing them to dry out. Temps hotter than 275 have a tendency to burn the surfaces before the connective tissue in the rib has a chance to soften and tenderize in the heat. I also cook my ribs in my Weber Smokey Mountain without water in the water pan to maximize the crust formation.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
  • 3-bone piece of Choice-grade Beef Short Rib (about 3 ½ lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons Best Foods Mayo
  • 4 tablespoons SYD Hot Rub
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 can Kearn’s Mango Nectar
  • ½ cup Grandma’s Original Molasses All Natural
  • Cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  1. Trim excess fat cap from the beef short rib.
  2. Rub all the surfaces with Best Foods Mayo. This will help ensure a tacky surface for the rub to stick and it also helps to tenderize the meat
  3. Apply enough SYD Hot Rub on all exposed surfaces until you cannot see the meat underneath (about a medium-heavy coat)
  4. Let sit uncovered in refrigerator for about ½ hour.
  5. Heat up your smoker to 275 degrees. Once it gets to temp, add three tennis-sized chunks of hickory wood and three tennis-sized chunks of apple wood
  6. Smoke the short ribs until the crust or bark is formed, about 2-3 hours. Once the crust starts to form (about 90 minutes), spray the ribs with plain tap water from a spray bottle. Repeat the spraying every 15 minutes.
  7. Once the crust has set, remove ribs from smoker and place in the middle of a sheet of aluminum foil
  8. Sprinkle dark brown sugar evenly on the ribs. Drizzle some Kearn’s Mango nectar (about 2 tablespoons) over the ribs. Turn ribs over and repeat the brown sugar and Kearn’s on the other side
  9. Wrap the ribs tightly in foil and return to the pit.
  10. Check for tenderness using a bamboo skewer after 45 minutes by opening the foil. The skewer will go through like a muffin when it is done. If not yet tender, close the foil and check in 15 minutes. Keep checking until the meat is probe tender
  11. Remove when done and open the foil to vent (this step is very important else the ribs will overcook).
  12. Once ribs have cooled a bit, remove from the foil pouch. Mix some molasses with the au jus in the foil and brush the molasses/au jus on the ribs. Then apply a thin coat of your favorite barbecue sauce. Give it a dust of cayenne pepper before you slice and serve. Enjoy!


17 comments... read them below or add one

  1. tbbbq says:

    Great looking Beef Short Ribs.

  2. cspirou says:

    I have actually found uncut short ribs at costco and I buy them on a regular basis. The only thing is that they are boneless.

  3. CarlosG says:

    Easy to find in my local Oakland meat market …I get them uncut and they are huge …I’m talkin’ 10" long huge. I use SYD rub and the 3-2-1 in my WSM 22.5. Come out killer everytime.

  4. JerryA714 says:

    Harry, I got 4th in Beef Ribs @ Wildomar using your recipe!!

  5. KenfromOC says:

    Harry –
    I would have thought you would use mustard rather than mayo – And would the mayo trick work for pork ribs as well?

    I do use mayo as the "glue" for oven-fired chicken, then coating with a mix of bread crumbs and crushed corn flakes (ala Cook’s Illustrated). I also use may instead of butter the outside of a grilled cheese as butter releases to much moisture which can get the bread soggy.

  6. sherrell najman says:

    Can you suggest a recipe for barbecued short ribs – oven roasted or in a crock pot, slow cooked ?
    Thank you

  7. vince says:

    they look serve the judges a three rib portion or are they seperated

  8. SR says:


    When cooking in oven when do I wrap them?


    • Harry Soo says:

      Hey S, you want to wrap them once you see that the crust or bark has formed on your meat. Takes about 90 to 120 minutes. Good luck!

  9. SR says:


    I finally got to try it. I sprayed the ribs every 15 minutes after waiting the 90+ minutes, then had it covered for another 45 minutes..the meat ended up good but not fork tender..what couldve gone cook time was close to 4 hours.

    Thank you!

  10. Michael M says:

    Hi Harry:

    I did these last night and really liked them. I used chuck ribs (which may be the same thing I would guess, sometimes the assorted names confuse me!) but they were your traditional bone in chuck short ribs, about 3.5 lbs worth. I think because of their cut and thickness they needed the extra time I gave them but I really enjoyed them using your method. Foiling with the brown sugar and (in my case since I didn’t go with the nectar) some honey really gave them a depth I hadn’t previously enjoyed in my own cooking sessions. I know you are serious about foiling. I am now sold! Thanks so much for posting this. Would you recommend using chick ribs generally for this or should I look for another cut?


  11. Dave l says:

    The cut is called full plate short ribs. Put a knife cut on the membrane side the length of the rib before smoking. When they are finished, the bones slide out and you can slice across like a brisket.

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