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"Be" Big and Bold Smoked Beef Ribs

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If you visit an Austin, TX bbq joint odds are pretty high you'll find giant smoked beef ribs on the menu. Beefy and smoky with a hella dark and crusty bark, these gigantic bad boys are a thing of beauty and will make you da dude when you serve them up at your next barbecue.

BBQ beef ribs are still relatively new on the barbecue scene, as in like the last 10-15 years. They're definitely not what you would consider a traditional barbecue staple, but likely owe their popularity to their cousins beef brisket and pork ribs. Essentially beef ribs represent some sort of a hybrid in the bbq world.

Even though beef is king in Texas, beyond beef brisket, you don't see a lot of beef items on the menu at bbq spots. Pork ribs and pork-based sausage dominate menus here. The idea of slow smoking a rack of beef ribs can be intimidating but doesn't have to be. The process is actually pretty simple and similar to smoked beef brisket but requires less time.

smoked beef ribs on black plate

What are beef ribs?

Beef ribs in this recipe refer to "plate ribs" which are those caveman, primal-looking beef ribs. Plate ribs are the biggest and meatiest of all ribs by a long shot. One bone weighs more than a pound! The name comes from the fact that they are the plate primal cut behind the forequarters near the belly of a steer. If you can find them they are usually sold in 3-bone portions.

Ingredients Needed To Make Smoked Beef Ribs

For the ribs

Rack of Bone-In Beef Ribs (plate Ribs)

Cassareep Sauce

For the Dry Spice Rub

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Paprika

Allspice

Cinnamon

How To Make Smoked Beef Ribs (Step by Step)

Step 1 Make The Rub

Mix dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl.

Step 2: Prep The Ribs

Season the ribs generously on the meat side with the dry rub. Flip the ribs and repeat for the bone side. Brush the Cassareep over the ribs entirely. Set aside and marinate refrigerated overnight.

Step 3: Smoke the Ribs

Remove ribs from the fridge and allow to reach room temperature before cooking. Pre-heat smoker to 285 degrees F.

Smoke over indirect heat until the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 205 degrees F. Length of time will depend on the size of the ribs, amount of fat, and whether you smoke an entire rack or individual pieces. Plan for 6-8 hours cook time.

Wrap in butcher paper and rest in a cooler underneath a bunch of dry towels for an hour. Top with additional spice rub, serve, enjoy!

See this short video on making individual smoked beef ribs for how to do it.

two smoked beef ribs on white plate

What is Cassareep?

Cassareep is the juice of cassava root (yuca) that is boiled and reduced until it caramelizes into a thick, dark brown liquid referred to as cassareep. It's native to the Guyanese who use it to make Pepperpot. It's the cassareep that gives these smoked beef ribs that incredible beautiful bark you see.

Beats and Eats (music to pair with Smoked Beef Ribs)

Common's song "Be" is a perfect pairing with these beef ribs. "Be" is the introduction to the full album of the same name. Similarly, this beef ribs recipe is a great intro to the world of smoking beef as well as to cassareep which is a highly underrated cooking ingredient.

Smoked Beef Ribs Recipe Tips and Considerations

Keep your dry rub simple. You don't need a high number of different spices, especially given the crazy amount of flavor the Cassareep adds. The rub acts as basically as a dry brine. Use a good coarse grain black pepper for your rub, plus kosher salt which is also coarse and aids texture of the ribs.

Keep a good meat thermometer on hand to determine doneness unless you're pretty experienced. Even then you might want to keep one on hand. I use a simple red Thermopen which is accurate and easy to read.

Plate ribs are not easy to come by, especially at your typical grocery stores and meat markets. You may have to try a butcher shop. You can also substitute with individual beef chuck ribs which are more commonly available.

Avoid back ribs like the plague. They just don't have enough meat on them to make it worth your while.

Fat is extra flavor, but there can be too much fat with some beef ribs. In this case feel free to trim your ribs to get rid of that excess layer of fat

Cassareep is common in traditional Caribbean dishes especially Guyanese cooking. It will also be hard to find in traditional stores. You'll have to visit a specialty market that is focused on African/Caribbean cuisine. You can also order Cassareep online from Amazon. It's worth it! You can use it in other recipes such as traditional Guyanese Pepperpot or Smoked Pork Shoulder. Used on ribs, it provides a natural dark, almost black bark that is delicious! The flavor is complex, interesting, and extra fun!

If smoking individual ribs vs. the normal rack then adjust your cook time. Cooking time will be shorter for individual rib bones vs. cooking a whole beef rib rack.

Allow the beef ribs to rest after cooking. If you have the time let them rest fully for an entire hour wrapped in the butcher paper. A good quality cooler is quite effective and helping the wrapped ribs maintain temperature. I go the extra step and layer a bunch of dry cloth towels on top of the ribs inside the cooler.

Serve smoked beef ribs with classic bbq sides like slaw, potato salad, baked beans, or mac and cheese. Check out my full list of 27 of the best bbq sides for a more comprehensive list of options.

smoked beef rib on a plate

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Smoking Beef Ribs

Are these the same as smoked short ribs?

Kinda but not and you'll absolutely want to avoid using traditional beef short ribs in this recipe. Though short ribs are smokeable, Texas smoked beef ribs refer to large, big ass brontosaurus-type ribs like the ones you see on the old school Fred Flintstone cartoons. They hold up better to the long slow smoking process and are more of a presentation for you social media! show-offs lol!

Do These Ribs Require Barbecue Sauce?

These ribs are so juicy and tasty, they don't need any enhancements for more flavor. Between the rib rub, the cassareep, and wood smoke they are damn near perfect.

Should I Remove The Membrane From the Ribs?

That tough membrane is the connective tissue that runs along the back of the ribs. It's a personal preference thing in terms of whether to room or not.

What Temperature Should I Smoke Ribs?

It depends on the types of ribs you're smoking. For the best smoked beef ribs you want to stay on the lower side. I stayed within the 275-280 degrees range.

How Long Does It Take To Smoke Beef Ribs?

As I said before, you'll want to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. However, you can anticipate smoking the meat between 6-8 hours.

Can I Use Aluminum Foil Instead of Butcher Paper?

Yes, but butcher paper works better. Both will help keep the ribs at temperature, but foil can also create more condensation and create that steam effect impacting the taste and texture.

What Kind of Wood Is Best For Smoking Beef Ribs?

I use the same wood (oak) for smoked beef ribs that I use for brisket. My preferred woods are oak, pecan, or a combo of the two. We have plenty of both here in Texas. They are mild relative to a mesquite or hickory type wood, but still have a very distinct flavor that pairs well with beef. Fruit woods also work well.

Whether you have cherry, apple, pear, etc. go with what is available to you. Just don't use mesquite as that super strong flavor will overpower everything else. Checkout this guide for pairing wood with smoked ribs for more detailed breakdown.

What kind of smoker do you use to make smoked beef ribs?

I use a Kamado Joe Classic as my primary smoker. I'm a big fan of it because of its versatility. You can cook at really high temperatures if you want to make pizzas or you can go to extremely low temperatures if you want to cold smoke foods like cheeses and fish. It also effectively smokes everything in between. The downside is it's expensive, but you pay for what you get. It's built like a tank and lasts a lifetime.

Pellet smokers are another good option. I have a Traeger Pellet Smoker which is what I'd describe as a hybrid electric smoker. It's hybrid in the sense that it has the convenience of a gas grill but the smoking capabilities of a smoker. I like it cause it's so simple to dial up your temperature and it's also low maintenance.

For Other Rib Recipes Try These:

Chicago Style Smoked Rib Tips

Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs

Smoked Lamb Ribs

African Rubbed Pork Spare Ribs

Oven-Baked Spare Ribs

Smoked Jerk Baby Back Ribs

Smoked Rib Sandwich "McRib"

Air Fryer Pork Ribs

Korean Style Flanken Ribs

3-2-1 Smoked Pork Spare Ribs

smoked beef rib on a plate

Smoked Beef Ribs

Caribbean meets Texas barbecue in this unique twist on big and bold smoked beef ribs made w/ cassareep for Guyanese pepperpot flavor.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 696kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

For the ribs

  • 4-5 lbs Bone-In Beef Ribs
  • 1 cup Cassareep

For the Dry Spice Rub

  • ½ tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ tablespoon Black Pepper
  • ½ tablespoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon

Instructions

Step 1 Make The Rub

  • Mix dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl.

Step 2: Prep The Ribs

  • Season the ribs generously on the meat side with the dry rub. Flip the ribs and repeat for the bone side. Brush the Cassareep over the ribs entirely. Set aside and marinate refrigerated overnight.

Step 3: Smoke the Ribs

  • Remove ribs from the fridge and allow to reach room temperature before cooking. Pre-heat smoker to 285 degrees F.
  • Smoke over indirect heat until the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 205 degrees F. Length of time will depend on the size of the ribs, amount of fat, and whether you smoke an entire rack or individual pieces. Plan for 6-8 hours cook time.
  • Wrap in butcher paper and rest in a cooler underneath a bunch of dry towels for an hour. Top with additional spice rub, serve, enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 696kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 1207mg | Potassium: 1215mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 437IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 7mg
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Recipe Rating




LaKita

Monday 18th of April 2022

I definitely prefer beef ribs over pork and this recipe is loaded with amazing flavor and absolutely delicious!

Katie Crenshaw

Sunday 17th of April 2022

Great tip on the butcher paper! This is my first time smoking beef ribs. They came out perfect!

Aya

Sunday 17th of April 2022

Just looking at the pictures made my mouth water, so I had to try this recipe! It turned out amazing and so flavorful. My husband devoured the ribs.

UR

Friday 15th of April 2022

I am very excited about the barbeque season. This will be perfect for father's day!

Leslie

Friday 15th of April 2022

I agree, I think smoking ribs can be intimidating. I appreciate how approachable your recipe is!