Smoked Beef Short Ribs – The Ultimate Comfort Food

There are different ways to smoke ribs into tender, nutritious and tasty treats. Short ribs from different types of meat can be smoked using given recipes, to produce a delicacy.

Short ribs are cut into smaller pieces as compared to long ribs. The bone attached to the meat measures about 3 inches or shorter, so that the fleshy part surpasses the bony one.

Quality meat is a delicacy with magical flavors when smoked. For this reason, always go for Wagyu cuts. Other cuts to choose from include Choice and Prime.

Having a reliable supplier of quality short ribs is an added advantage. For high-quality and tasty beef short ribs, Double R Ranch and Snake River Farms are where to shop at. They supply all types of ribs online and they are also available locally through retailers.

Beef Ribs Types

Beef ribs are available in two different types: Plate or short ribs and Back ribs.

Plate/ short ribs

Short ribs, also known as plate ribs, have a distinct similarity to the spare ribs found in pork.

They are referred to as plate ribs because they appear like flat meat held together by plate-like bones. The bones of plate ribs measure below 3 inches, hence the name short ribs.

Back Ribs

There are 13 beef ribs connected to the spine. These ribs are long and they hold meat between them.

Out of those 13 back ribs, 7 appear at the bottom while 5 appear at the top. The latter is also referred to as chuck ribs.

Preparation of Beef Short Ribs before Smoking


When selecting beef short ribs, pick the ones that are cut in equal measure and are similar in size. This ensures that they all get smoked evenly under the set temperature.

Big-sized or fleshy short ribs require a higher temperature for proper smoking. Likewise, small-sized short ribs need less temperature for smoking.

Ribs have thick silver outer skins. This membrane hinders proper penetration of the smoke into the inner flesh of the ribs. To counter this and ensure easy navigation of the smoky flavor into the short beef ribs, the tough skin ought to be peeled off.

Use a boning knife or a filet with sharp edges to remove the thin layer of the short ribs. Skin it in a gentle way to avoid cutting into the actual flesh and causing wastage.

The short ribs are prepared to take in the seasoning and braising before aligning them in the smoker.

Seasoning the Beef Short Ribs

Granulated garlic, Kosher salt, and black pepper with coarse granules make up an ideal SPG beef rub. Seasoning can either be carried out some hours before smoking or one day before the activity.

The dry brine on the short ribs is the result of the seasoning you did the day before. Smoking with this rub enhances the taste of the short ribs. In addition, this method facilitates the ribs’ absorption of the seasonings. When the seasoning is applied just before smoking the short ribs, the flavor stays on the meat longer.

Another way to add flavor to the short ribs is by using Spritz. Unlike seasoning, Spritz is sprayed on the ribs while they are in the smoker. It is a solution stored in a spray bottle. The solution consists of water and vinegar made from apple cider, mixed in equal proportions. This flavored mixture is sprayed onto the short ribs after the first one and a half hours of smoking them.

Brown sugar, sweet paprika, and Chile powder are among other recommendable seasonings for ideal short ribs dry rubs. Use them according to your taste and preferences.

Short ribs can also be marinated and covered with foil paper hours before smoking them. This is done to allow the flavors from the marination to seep into the ribs.

When it comes to seasoning short ribs, there are no rights or wrongs, as long as your taste buds blend well with the additional flavors.

Steps to Follow While Smoking Short Ribs

The requirements for smoking beef short ribs may differ from those of pork or other types of short ribs. Different time and temperature configurations are set for each type of short ribs.

Oak chips or wood from a fruit tree are the most recommended smoking agents that create the best smoke flavors. The temperature set for smoking beef or pork short ribs should be between 225° and 250° F.

Smoking time may be more or less depending on the thickness of the short ribs, desired tenderness, and the type of ribs being smoked.

A thermometer such as Thermoworks MK4 Thermapen is important. It helps determine whether the ribs are smoked to the right temperature. The internal temperature of 200° F to 205° F shows that the ribs are well smoked. To achieve these temperatures, the short ribs should smoke for at least 6 hours.

Recipe for Smoked Beef Short Ribs



  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 3 chunky and evenly cut beef short ribs (about 1¼ pounds)
  • ½ tablespoon of each part of beef rub (Ground pepper, granulated garlic, brown sugar, salt among other seasonings)

Smoking Instructions

  1. Place cherry wood in the smoker box. Set the smoker burner at a temperature of 225° F. Leave it to preheat.
  2. Skin the outer silver-like tough membrane surrounding the short ribs.
  3. Sprinkle the seasoning ingredients in equal measures around the beef short ribs. Rub in the olive oil together with the rest of the beef rub evenly.
  4. Arrange the short beef ribs on the smoker grill on the opposite side of the smoker box. Close the top of the smoker.
  5. While waiting for the ribs to get smoked, mix the apple cider vinegar and water to make a spritz.
  6. After smoking the short ribs for 90 minutes, open the smoker top and spray the spritz on every side of the beef short ribs.
  7. Continue smoking until the temperature inside the smoked ribs reads 200° F.

After smoking the short ribs for about 6 hours, they should have a rich brown mahogany color and a tender texture. The meat on well-smoked ribs appears to be falling out of the bones. That’s a sign that they are ready to be served.

This recipe creates 2 servings. The ingredients can be increased or reduced in equal proportions to make enough servings for the people who are present.


If you like your smoked beef short ribs braised, then you can do that 3 hours into the smoking activity.

Braising adds a wine or beef-broth flavor to the short ribs, as well as increases their tenderness.

To create a braising bath, put wine or beef broth in a deep metal basin or tray. Place the basin on the smoker grate and add the beef short ribs that you have been smoking for about 3 hours.

Leave the ribs to braise until the temperature inside them hits the 200° F mark.

Any type of red wine that suits your taste is recommended for this activity. You can also braise using beef broth or leave the beef in the tray to get braised in its own oils and smoked seasonings.

How to Set the Smoker Up for Smoking Short Ribs

Weber Smokey Mountain is the smoker of choice for many smoking champions. There are other cookers and grilling equipment that can be turned into smokers if you don’t have an actual smoker.

A gas grill, for instance, can be modified to make a smoker by following a few easy steps.

There is a different way to set up each different equipment used for smoking. The setup for a charcoal smoker is different from that of a gas grill smoker.

If you are using a charcoal smoker, place coal blocks inside the chimney starter then light them up.

Set the temperature at 225° F if the short ribs that you’ll be smoking are not very thick on the meat part. Increase this temperature to 250° F when smoking thick short ribs. This ensures that the thick ribs are well smoked and the smokey flavors get seeped into them.

If you are using a two-burner gas grill as a smoker, put a smoker box inside it first. Many gas grills are not originally designed for smoking, hence they don’t come with an inbuilt smoker.

Place wood pellets or wood chips inside the smoker box to create smoke. An alternative to the smoker box is the pellet smoking tube. For this one, you’ll be required to put in pellets up to the second last inch, before lighting it up to provide smoke.

Arrange the seasoned short ribs on the grate and smoke them for the recommended time.


The length of a rack of short ribs may deceive you. The meat is cut into large portions, and the only thing short about them is the bones.

To achieve the best results, it is essential to employ the appropriate temperature and seasoning levels. This aids in creating the desired tastes.

Depending on the butcher you get them from, beef ribs might range in tenderness. To get the greatest tastes, you need high-quality short ribs, smoking wood, and spices.

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