These perfectly flavorful Smoked Beef Back Ribs are smoked low-and-slow until they reach the best ever juicy, tender, melt in your mouth texture! Follow this easy 3 step method for effortlessly amazing smoked beef ribs!
Smoked Beef Back Ribs Recipe
One of the best parts of summer has definitely got to be all of the grilled and smoked foods! These super easy smoked beef back ribs are such a flavorful part of a delicious dinner that the whole family will love!
When I look at smoked beef ribs, I see alot of photos of really meaty ribs that are certainly not what I can grab at most grocery stores. Those ribs would require a trip to the butcher and demand a heftier price.
That is why these beef back ribs are the type of ribs that are usually served here in my home. They’re readily available and they’re more economical!
What Are Beef Back Ribs
The ribs come from the same rib primal cut section on the cow as the ribeye. The butchers tend to carve closely to the rib bones not leaving a lot of meat, making this cut extremely affordable.
Since it is the ribeye that the butchers are carving from the bones, the same wonderful flavor from the marbling is found on the ribs!
Where To Get Beef Back Ribs
This type of rib is often available at any big box grocery store such as Walmart in the meat aisle. In fact, other than beef short ribs and the much more rarely seen chuck beef riblets, it is most likely the only type of ribs you have seen in the major grocery stores.
How To Smoke Beef Back Ribs
- Remove membrane – This is typically not already done. You will need to remove the silverskin ( thin membrane ) from the underside of the ribs by working the tip of a butter knife underneath the membrane. Use your fingers or a paper towel to get a good grip and pull the membrane off.
- Rinse – (optional) Rinse the ribs with cool water and then pat the ribs dry using a few paper towels. FYI: It’s not recommended by the USDA to rinse raw meats, but it is something I always do. I can’t stand the little bone fragments occasionally found on ribs. However, if you choose to rinse the ribs you should be extra thorough when sanitizing your kitchen after preparing your ribs.
- Preheat – Preheat your smoker to 225ºF ( 110ºC ) and load your hopper or wood chip box or tray with your favorite wood.
Best Woods for Smoking Beef Back Ribs
Beef ribs can stand up to a heavy smoke taste, so the best wood chips are really going to depend on your own preferences. Here are some of my favorites for smoking beef back ribs for you to choose from!
- Mesquite – is an oily wood that adds a distinctive flavor to your smoked meats.
- Hickory – adds a strong smoked flavor to your smoked meats and is one of the most popular woods used in smoking.
- Apple Wood – adds a great, mild smoked flavor with a touch of sweetness.
- Oak – a great smoked flavor that is not overpowering. Oak chips can be used on their own for longer cook times without needing to be combined with any other wood varieties.
- Pecan – a wood that is wonderful when used in combination with other woods for smoking. I like to mix pecan chips with a fruitwood for the best flavor and to keep the pecan from adding a pungent flavor.
- Cherry – adds a mahogany-like dark coloring to your smoked beef bark. This is a great wood to use in combination with hickory, oak, or pecan.
The Dry Rub for Beef Ribs
Coat your beef back ribs with olive oil and generously apply your rib rub.
As beef ribs are very rich the rub should be heavier on beef ribs v.s. brisket for example. I typically will use about 1/4 cup of dry rub per rib rack.
For the rib rub, I use my steak seasoning which consists of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme, and dried rosemary. I love to add some ground sage too, especially when I am going light on barbecue sauce!
Smoking The Meat
Use the simple 3-2-1 method for a foolproof way to get meat that literally will fall off the bone.
- 3-hour cook, uncovered. Place the beef ribs bone-side down ( or up if your heat source is coming from the top ) in the smoker at 225ºF ( 110ºC ) and cook for three hours. You should have a nice bark established at this point.
- 2-hour cook, covered in foil. Open your smoker and remove the beef back ribs. Spread enough aluminum foil to wrap completely add butter, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar over the ribs. Seal tightly in aluminum foil and return ribs to the smoker bone-side up and cook for two more hours. Wrapping the beef ribs in foil like this is termed the ‘Texas Crutch’ and is a popular method for speeding the cooking time and retaining moisture in low and slow smoked meats!
- 1-hour cook, uncovered and sauced. Unwrap the foil from the beef back ribs, add your favorite bbq sauce, and return them to your smoker bone-side down for one more hour.
What To Serve With Smoked Beef Ribs
Does the 3-2-1 Method Work for Beef Ribs
Yes! It’s exactly the method I like to use with beef ribs. This way I can take a really affordable cut of beef ribs and make sure that they are super tender and fall-off-the-bone good!!
I have also used this method in both an electric smoker and a Traeger. The results are effortlessly wonderful, but the Traeger wins out for smokier beef ribs!
Why Remove the Silverskin (membrane)
Removing the silverskin allows more smoke to penetrate into the meat. Setting your beef back ribs with the silverskin side down ( and in place still ) would block the smoke from really permeating the meat from the underside.
Since the smoke is normally coming from the underside before circulating in a smoker, the best chance of adding a great smoky flavor is blocked by leaving the silverskin on the ribs. Plus, it makes your perfectly smoked ribs much easier to really gnaw on and pull all of the meat off the bone!
Why Use Vinegar During the Cook
The purpose of the vinegar is to keep the ribs moist after the bark has been set. In addition, during the second wrapped cooking time the vinegar adds moisture and breaks down the collagen in the meat fibers.
The added moisture is wonderful for preventing dried out beef ribs, but it also makes it easier for the meat to continue soaking in the smoke while cooking. Wet surfaces make for better-smoked flavor.
Apple juice is a good alternative if you’re worried about the vinegar flavor diminishing the smoked beef or rub flavor in any way. Psst! Don’t worry about that, they taste A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
What Temperature Should Beef Back Ribs Be
You are aiming to have those awesome ribs reach an internal temperature of 205ºF ( 96ºC ). Even though the ribs are safe to eat at 145ºF ( 63ºC ), the higher temperature with the longer cooking time ensures a truly perfect cook on the rib meat.
Smoked Beef Back Ribs
Beef Back Rib Dry Rub
- 2 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 steak seasoning ( 1 portion per rack)
Beef Back Ribs
- 1 rack beef back ribs (silverskin removed)
- 8 tbsp barbecue sauce (pick your favorite)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- Get your ribs ready for smoking by removing the silverskin. Use your fingers or a butter knife to work under the edges and pull the membrane off the underside of the ribs. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C) and load your wood chips or pellets.
- Apply a coating of olive oil and then coat the entire rib rack with dry rub.
- Place the ribs with the bone side facing downward (the side that you removed the silverskin from) and smoke for 3 hours.
- Remove the ribs from your smoker and set on large enough sheets of aluminum foil to wrap the ribs securely. Add the butter, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar to the ribs then wrap and seal. Return to your smoker and continue to smoke another 2 hours.
- Remove the ribs from your smoker. Unwrap the ribs and coat with your favorite barbecue sauce. Return to the smoker and place the ribs bone side down. Smoke for an additional hour, or until an internal temperature of 202-205 degrees F (94-96 degrees C) has been reached. Use a digital meat thermometer to check your meat for doneness.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma’s kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!