Competition Butter and Cola Basted Beef Shortribs

September 1st, 201714 Comments

5.0 from 4 reviews
Competition Butter and Cola Basted Beef Short ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I love it whenever I compete and there is an “anything butt” entry involving beef short ribs. These Flintstone sized ribs are fun to cook and this recipe helped me with first place at a KCBS sanctioned barbecue contest in Wildomar, California.

The secret was the butter-cola basting liquid I used during the smoking and foiling processes. Beef short ribs, as opposed to skinny beef back ribs, are meaty, flavorful, tender morsels of beef heaven. I cook them meat-falls-off-the-bone for family gatherings and it always draws Ohhs and Ahhhhs.

I like Angus Choice-grade short ribs with some fat cap on them. Trim any excess fat cap off and leave a ¼ inch of fat on top to render. I like to cook my beef ribs around 275F as I’ve found that lower pit temperatures doesn’t render the fat as well, and the rib sits too long in the pit causing them to dry out.

Temps hotter than 275F have a tendency to char the surfaces before the connective tissue in the rib has a chance to soften and tenderize in the heat. The ribs cook well in my Weber Smokey Mountain without water in the water pan as I find not using water helps to maximize the crust formation. Try these ribs with some mashed potatoes or polenta and you’ll take a trip to beef heaven with your feet still on the ground.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 3
  • 3-bone piece of Choice-grade Beef Short Rib (about 3 ½ lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestershire
  • 4 tablespoons SYD Moola Beef Rub
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 can Cola or Root Beer
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

  1. Trim excess fat cap from the beef short rib.
  2. Rub all the surfaces with Worcestershire. This will help ensure a tacky surface for the rub to stick and it also helps to tenderize the meat
  3. Apply enough SYD Moola Beef 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 (optional).
  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. After about one hour, start basting the ribs with melted butter with a silicone brush.
  8. Once the crust has set, remove ribs from smoker and place in the middle of a sheet of aluminum foil
  9. Sprinkle light brown sugar evenly on the ribs. Drizzle some cola or root beer (about 2 tablespoons) over the shortribs. Turn ribs over and repeat the brown sugar and cola/root beer on the other side. Pour leftover butter all over shortribs.
  10. Wrap the ribs tightly in foil and return to the pit.
  11. 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
  12. Remove when done and open the foil to vent (this step is very important else the ribs will overcook).
  13. Once ribs have cooled a bit, remove from the foil pouch. Mix some melted butter with the au jus in the foil and brush the butter + 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!




14 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Bill says:

    I can’t wait to try these. Thank you Harry! Congrats on your win.

  2. Tom Sykes says:

    Going to make these this week. If I want less heat can I just leave off the Cayenne Pepper?

  3. Thank you for your sharing.I will try it tomorrow.I suggest you can use the grill to try it.
    I’ve written a few articles about how to use grills, and you can read and give advice.You can also refer to it.

  4. Earl Click says:

    On point number 7 is that one hour after the start or one hour after the 90 minutes or something else I am missing?
    Much love, earl

    • Harry Soo says:

      Hey Earl:
      Yes, start one hour from the time you put the ribs in the smoker. Be careful not to disturb the rub. I often use a spray butter like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
      Love back to you.

  5. Kevin Wong says:

    Hi Harry,

    Are you pre-cutting the beef ribs individually prior to smoking?



    • Harry Soo says:

      You can cut them if they are big or cook them uncut.
      They cook faster cut and will have a smoke ring on either side of the bone versus none on the side meat if it’s a middle bone piece

  6. Tremayne Myles says:

    Quick question. You say in point seven to baste with butter after an hour. How often are you basting with the butter in addition to spraying with water every 15 minutes?

    • Harry Soo says:

      Yes, start spraying with water and basting with butter after you notice crust beginning to form.
      I would alternate the water and butter every 15 mins.

  7. Tremayne Myles says:

    Hello Mr. Harry

    Wanted to know if i could get clarification on a couple steps. Is the butter basting in the beginning a one time baste at the hour mark? Also, if it’s not how often do you keep basting it with the butter?

    • Harry Soo says:

      Start basting with butter once you see crust or bark beginning to form. Baste every 30 mins until ready to wrap in foil. Good luck.

  8. John S Leyendecker says:

    Harry, what is the temperature (more or less) when you should wrap the ribs and what is the finish temperature (More or less)?


    • Harry Soo says:

      Hey John:
      I don’t measure temps as I cook based on the crust setting on ribs. If I had to guess, I would say around 165F is when the crust usually sets. Your mileage will vary depending on the meat choice, smoker type, fuel, ambient temps, and moisture.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  9. John S Leyendecker says:

    Your beef ribs are excellent (5 Star)! I wrapped at 170 deg. and finished at 203 deg. I used butter as you suggested prior to wrapping & water alternating every 15 min.

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