Competition Butter and Cola Basted Beef Shortribs

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Competition Butter and Cola Basted Beef Short ribs

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 Ahhs.

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.

  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 mins
  • Yield: 3 1x


Units Scale
  • 3-bone piece of Choice-grade Beef Short Rib (about 3 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 tablespoons SYD Moola Beef Rub
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 can Cola or Root Beer
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 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!

  • Author: Harry Soo
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: American