Texas Style BBQ Beef Ribs Print

In Texas, barbecue means beef and beef ribs are a favorite of ours. Some people claim beef ribs are tough and fatty when barbecued. If your beef ribs are coming out tough you aren't cooking them long enough. Beef ribs need to be cooked at a low temperature for a long enough time to render the fat and tenderize the meat. Keep the smoker at around 225 degrees and cook them for about 6 - 7 hours and they will be melt in your mouth tender and not at all fatty or greasy.

The ribs that are most commonly available come vacuum packaged in plastic. It may be difficult to find beef ribs that haven't had most of the meat trimmed off. Ask your butcher.

Vacuum sealed beef ribs

These are beef back ribs that have been split. I would prefer to have them all in one piece but this is how these came packaged. This is the inner, or membrane, side of the ribs.

Beef ribs bone side up

This is the outer, or meatier, side of the ribs.

Beef ribs meat side up

The bone side of the ribs has a tough membrane that should be removed before cooking the ribs. Slip a dull knife along one of the rib bones under the membrane to loosen it and get it started. Some cooks like to use a phillips screwdriver. An oyster knife also works very well.

Removing membrane from beef ribs

The membrane is a little difficult to get a grip on. You can use a paper towel to grasp the membrane and get a better grip. Pull the membrane away from the ribs and it should lift right off.

Removing membrane from beef ribs

After removing the membrane and trimming off any excess fat, rub the ribs with our favorite dry rub, Smoke Ring Championship BBQ Rub.

Apply BBQ rub to beef ribs

Sprinkle the rub onto the ribs and then rub it in well.

Applying rub to BBQ beef ribs

Don't put the rub on too thick. A  thick crust of rub on ribs can be overpowering. A thin coating is enough.

Rubbed BBQ beef ribs

The ribs are rubbed down and ready to go. If you have the time, wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before cooking. This isn't really necessary, however, so don't worry about it if you rub them down and put them right on the smoker.

Rubbed BBQ beef ribs

Put the ribs into the smoker. If you are laying them flat, put the membrane side down.

BBQ beef ribs in the smoker

Allow plenty of room for air to circulate around the ribs.

BBQ beef ribs in the smoker

The ribs have been in for about 3 1/2 hours at a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees.

BBQ beef ribs after 2 1/2 hours in the smoker

Notice that the meat has started to pull back from the rib bones.

BBQ beef ribs

Ribs can be cooked either "dry" or "wet". I like them both ways, but I usually make wet ribs. I baste them with a sauce two or three times during the last two hours or so of cooking time. Be sure to use a sauce with a low sugar content or use turbinado sugar in your sauce. It caramelizes at a higher temperature than refined sugar. It also tastes better.

Finishing BBQ beef ribs

After 6 1/2 hours the ribs are ready. Your cooking time may vary depending on your smoker and variations in the meat. The important thing is to cook them until done. They have a nice glaze from the basting sauce. Serve the platter of ribs with a side of potato salad and some barbecue sauce on the side.

Serving BBQ beef ribs

To serve, slice the ribs apart by cutting between the bones. Serve with some smoked hot link sausages for a great barbecue platter.

Hopefully this article will encourage you to try barbecued beef ribs. They are different from pork ribs and make a nice change of pace if you have never tried them.

If you are having problems finding meaty beef ribs, See Beef Ribs Part II, our second installment on cooking BBQ beef ribs that shows how to get meatier ribs by cutting them from a rib roast.