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How to Make Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill

Beef ribs with Avocado Cilantro and Lime Vinaigrette ready to serve

If you’ve wondered how to make beef ribs, you’ve come to the right place. These have become pretty standard on any BBQ platter plate and for good reason. They not only look impressive, but they taste incredible. They take some time to prepare right, but they aren’t difficult and they’re well worth the wait. Today we’re going to learn how to make beef ribs on a pellet smoker, but you can do this on any grill, it’s all about temperature management.

Types of Beef Ribs

If you search the internet for “types of beef ribs” you’ll find several different names depending on how they’re cut. Today we’re talking about beef short ribs, also referred to as beef short plate ribs, plate ribs, or dino ribs. These shouldn’t be confused with the beef back rib.

What’s the Difference Between Beef Short Ribs and Beef Back Ribs?

This question is asked often and it’s a simple one. Beef back ribs are cut from the upper portion of the rib near the spine. They have a slight curve to them and the meat from those ribs comes from between the bones, and it’s scarce. It’s tasty for sure, there just isn’t much of it. Beef short ribs are cut from the same rib but further down on the steer. The meat on these ribs comes from the top of the rib and is usually plentiful.

There is quite a bit of connective tissue that needs to be broken down on the short rib, so for this rib recipe, plan on letting them go low and slow for several hours until the meat is probe tender. That usually means an internal temperature of about 205 degrees. Generally speaking, you can count on about 8 hours of cook time to get these tender. I’ll say it again, it’s worth the wait.

How to Cook Beef Short Ribs

You’re going to be amazed at just how simple this is, especially if you’re cooking beef short ribs on a pellet grill. We’ll get into detail below but it’s really as simple as seasoning your beef ribs, putting them on your grill or smoker, wrapping in butcher paper or foil at some point, resting, and eating. That’s it, folks, this is about one of the most simple cooks in BBQ. Unlike pork ribs, you’re not taking a membrane off the bone side of the ribs. They usually come pretty well trimmed from the butcher and are already squared up.

You might have to trim a bit of fat off these, but not much. Often called “brisket on a stick” the fat on these beef short ribs is going to render during the cooking process much like it will on a brisket. Unlike the brisket, however, these ribs aren’t usually sold with much excess fat requiring a ton of knife work to get them ready for your grill.

Ok, enough small talk, let’s get these beef short ribs prepped and on the grill.

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How to Make Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 30 min | Cooking Time: 8+ hours

Ingredients
1 3-4 lbs rack of beef shortribs
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
2 tbsp soy sauce

For the Rub:
2 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp coarse black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp mustard seeds

Making Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill

Step 1: Start your pellet grill and set temperature for 250 degrees. I like to use oak or hickory pellets for beef short ribs but use your favorite.

Step 2: While the grill is preheating, trim off any excess fat on the beef short ribs. There usually isn’t much, but if there is, just clean it up with a sharp boning knife so they look like this:

raw beef ribs ready to season

Step 3: Whisk together all ingredients for the rub in a bowl. Generously coat the beef short ribs with the rub, ensuring you coat the sides. Don’t worry about getting the bone side of the ribs. You’re not eating that side where the membrane is so seasoning it is a waste.

TIP: Unlike pork ribs where the membrane should be removed, on beef short ribs leave the membrane in place to hold them together while you’re smoking the ribs.

Step 4: Place ribs on a wire cooling rack inside of a cookie sheet. This allows for easy cleanup and prevents your grill from getting filthy with the dripping rendered fat. Place on the smoker and close the lid.

Beef ribs seasoned and on a rack

Step 5: Mix beef broth, hot sauce, and soy sauce and pour into a spritz bottle. After the ribs have been on the smoker for 1 hour, give them a light misting of the liquid. This moisture helps the ribs take on some smoke and builds an incredible bark. Repeat every hour for the first 4 hours.

Step 6: After the 4th spritz, insert a temperature probe for a reliable leave-in thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat, between two ribs. I wait to put the probe in till this point because it allows enough time for the meat to start to pull away from the bones so you can ensure proper probe placement. Don’t get the probe too close to a bone or it will give an inaccurate reading.

Beef ribs on a grill with an internal thermometer

Step 7: Allow ribs to cook until internal temperature reaches 203 degrees and the meat is probe tender. Probe tender means you can slide a temperature probe from a quick-read thermometer into the meat with very little to no resistance. This should be around 8 hours or so depending on the size of the rack of ribs.

TIP: Some people will wrap their ribs in foil or butcher paper about halfway through the cook. I do this for the really big cuts of meat like pork shoulder or brisket but not for beef ribs. The effort isn’t worth the mild benefit in my opinion.

Step 8: Remove beef short ribs from grill, cover with aluminum foil and wrap in an old towel. Let ribs rest for at least an hour, but preferably 90 minutes, before opening up and slicing.

Finished beef ribs ready to serve

Step 9: Serve by themselves, or with your favorite side dish like corn polenta and pickled red onions. For a change-up, add some chimichurri or my favorite avocado, cilantro & lime vinaigrette (ACL). You’ll find the freshness of the ACL balances the richness of the beef short ribs perfectly.

Beef ribs with Avocado Cilantro and Lime Vinaigrette

How to Make Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill

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Beef ribs with Avocado Cilantro and Lime Vinaigrette ready to serve
How to Make Beef Ribs on a Pellet Grill
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 30 mins
 

These beef ribs not only look impressive, they taste incredible.

Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 3-4 lbs rack of beef shortribs
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce optional
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
For the Rub:
  • 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
Instructions
  1. Start your pellet grill and set temperature for 250 degrees. I like to use oak or hickory pellets for beef short ribs but use your favorite.

  2. While the grill is preheating, trim off any excess fat on the beef short ribs.

  3. Whisk together all ingredients for the rub in a bowl. Generously coat the beef short ribs with the rub ensuring you coat the sides.

  4. Place ribs on a wire cooling rack inside of a cookie sheet.

  5. Mix beef broth, hot sauce, and soy sauce and pour into a spritz bottle. After the ribs have been on the smoker for 1 hour, give them a light misting of the liquid. Repeat every hour for the first 4 hours.

  6. After the 4th spritz, insert a temperature probe for a reliable leave-in thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat, between two ribs. I wait to put the probe in till this point because it allows enough time for the meat to start to pull away from the bones so you can ensure proper probe placement. Don't get the probe too close to a bone or it will give an inaccurate reading.

  7. Allow ribs to cook until internal temperature reaches 203 degrees and the meat is probe tender. Probe tender means you can slide a temperature probe from a quick read thermometer into the meat with very little to no resistance. This should be around 8 hours or so depending on the size of the rack of ribs.

  8. Remove beef short ribs from grill, cover with aluminum foil and wrap in an old towel. Let ribs rest for at least an hour, but preferably 90 minutes before opening up and slicing.

  9. Serve just by themselves, or with your favorite side dish like corn polenta and pickled red onions. For a change-up, add some chimichurri or my favorite avocado, cilantro & lime vinaigrette. You’ll find the freshness of the ACL balances the richness of the beef short ribs perfectly.