Cooking Beef Ribs
I learned a thing or two about cooking beef ribs back when I was married to a cattleman. I much prefer pork ribs to beef ribs, but hey – you work with what you have, right? Since my “former life,” I don’t think I’ve purchased beef ribs even once. This past weekend, my daughters went to visit their paternal grandmother, and she sent them home with some beef from a steer she’d had butchered. Included in the stash were some short ribs, which one of the girls gave to me. I decided to cook them tonight, so I had to dust off my memories and tactics of cooking beef ribs. They turned out pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself!
Short ribs of beef are a lot different than pork spare ribs or pork baby back ribs. Of course, the bovine version is much larger, and the meat is usually considerable tougher than you’d find on pork ribs. Depending on how the ribs are trimmed, short ribs can also have huge amounts of fat on them. This was the case with the meat I received from my daughter. Man, that steer was certainly well fed! Along with the fat, however, was a lot of meat. Short ribs, by the way, are much meatier than beef back ribs. They have a rich, beefy taste – almost like prime rib, but not nearly as tender. Short ribs are a combination of bone, fat, meat, and connective tissue.
Cooking Beef Short Ribs
Cooking beef short ribs requires some patience and a little skill. If you’re not careful, you’ll wind up with meat that could serve as shoe leather. If you take your time cooking beef short ribs, however, you’ll get a wonderful entrée that your entire family will enjoy. Short ribs need to be cooked low and slow – at a low temperature for several hours. You can go about this in several ways. You can cook the ribs on a smoker, in a crock pot, or in the oven. Some people like to braise short ribs, while some southerners fry them. The cooking process can include a marinade, a wet or dry rub, a barbecue sauce, or a glaze. You can also let the ribs cook in their own natural juices, with just a sprinkling of herbs and spices.
Barbecue Beef Ribs
Barbecue beef ribs are yummy, but you can’t just toss them on a hot grill and expect them to be tender. All that fat, connective tissue, and muscle fiber needs to be broken down, and the best way to do that is by slow cooking. Beef ribs are often wrapped in foil and cooked by indirect heat on a charcoal grill. If you don't plan on wrapping the ribs, you might want to add a little oil to your rub and sear the ribs before slow cooking on the grill. Some people boil the ribs before grilling. Another method is to wrap the ribs in foil and slow bake them in the oven before finishing them on the grill.
I didn’t have time to fool with the grill today, so I made oven baked ribs. This recipe would be very easy to turn into barbecue beef ribs. Depending on your definition of “barbecue,” you can slather the ribs with sauce before the final step of cooking, or you can finish the ribs on the grill once they’ve been tenderized in the oven. For a smoker that cooks with moist heat, you can use this recipe for beef short ribs without using the oven at all. Just set the smoker to around 225 degrees.
Oven Baked Ribs
I always use BBQ rubs on ribs – pork or beef. This is true even for my oven baked ribs. I also use a little Liquid Smoke in my rub, in order to give the meat the smoky flavor I’m missing by not using charcoal or wood chips. And if you’ve never tried Dale’s steak seasoning on beef, OMG – you don’t know what you’re missing! Seriously, I could drink this stuff. The amount of time you cook the short ribs will determine how tender they are. I don’t like my ribs to fall off the bone. I want them to be tender, I prefer just a bit of “chew factor,” too. If you follow this recipe for beef short ribs, you might want to keep that in mind.
Great seasonings for wet BBQ rubs:
This recipe can easily be turned into diabetic recipes. In BBQ rubs, just substitute Ideal Brown brown sugar substitute for the regular brown sugar. It gives a very nice bark to the exterior of the meat, which surprised me the first time I used the zero-calorie version. Also, Ideal Brown doesn't lose its flavor during cooking like some sugar substitues do. In fact, I almost always use it in my BBQ rubs now, since I'm trying to use mostly diabetic recipes. Those who eat my rubbed meats can never tell the difference!
For barbecue sauces in diabetic recipes, use no sugar versions or reduced sugar versions. Walden Farms is tasty if you tweak it some, and it has no calories at all. Try adding Liquid Smoke, Ideal Brown, mustard, hot sauce, and/or extra spices.
For diabetic recipes:
Rate my recipe for beef short ribs! Thanks!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
3 hours 30 min
3 hours 45 min
- 4 meaty beef ribs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Dale's seasoning, plus more for finishing
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons meat tenderizer
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke, (or more)
- Lawry's garlic salt, to taste
- BBQ sauce, optional
- Trim ribs, if needed. Combine brown sugar, Dale’s, Liquid Smoke, meat tenderizer, dried thyme, onion powder, black pepper, and chili powder. This will make a liquid rub. Rub into ribs, all over. Refrigerate short ribs for two hours, if you have time.
- Place ribs, fat side up, on a baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 250 degrees for three hours. Check for tenderness. If you want the ribs to be more tender, continue cooking for another hour.
- Remove ribs from oven and drain away fat. Douse meat with more Dale’s and sprinkle with garlic salt. For barbecue beef ribs, brush the meat with BBQ sauce. Increase oven heat to 400 degrees. Return ribs to oven and bake uncovered for thirty minutes…OR finish the ribs on a medium grill.
Barbecue Beef Ribs:
Take the poll! Thanks!
Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on June 04, 2018:
These ribs sound and look absolutely wonderful. Since I am diabetic, I appreciate the tips you included for those of us that have a problem processing sugar.
Rosa Brown on January 18, 2018:
My favorite are beef short ribs
Kim Lam from California on May 24, 2012:
Oh wow I haven't seen spare ribs in it's whole form like that. I've only had it with a Korean style marinade but this recipe looks yummy too. I like how you added the substitution sugar marinade for diabetics. You sure know how to BBQ too! Thanks for sharing Habee.
breakfastpop on May 23, 2012:
I have to try this kind of rib. Somehow I always go for the baby-back pork ribs. It's time I branched out.
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on May 23, 2012:
I am so hungry now Habee and since I just got a new oven I just can't wait to do some ribs! Love this.
Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 23, 2012:
Hi, Amy. Thanks a bunch!
Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 23, 2012:
Many thanks, Pamela!
Pamela Dapples from Arizona now on May 22, 2012:
These are great tips and instructions you've provided. And I hadn't heard of Liquid Smoke before. I'll be telling my husband. He's the cook in our family. Voting across the board and Sharing.
Amy Gillie from Indiana on May 22, 2012:
Yum! You made this look easier than I expected! Nice job!