The Art of Beef Ribs: A Texas BBQ Delicacy

When it comes to BBQ, there’s nothing quite like the taste of Texas. Growing up on sweet, pork BBQ in the South, I never knew what I was missing until I fell in love with the smoky, succulent goodness of beef ribs. These bad boys are the kings of BBQ for me, and once you sink your teeth into them, you’ll understand why.

Unveiling the Beef Rib Magic

In the heart of Texas, when you order BBQ, you’re usually served what’s known as short ribs or plate ribs. These beefy delights, also known as 123A or 3 bone beef ribs, are trimmed from the mid-section of ribs 6 through 8. Finding them outside of a butcher shop can be a challenge, but fear not! There’s a good alternative available at grocery stores like Costco. They’re called 130 beef chuck short ribs, or 4 bone beef ribs, originating from the mid-section of ribs 2 through 5. They’re as tasty as their 123A counterparts, and you won’t have to go on a wild goose chase to find them.

For those who are more adventurous, there’s another option: 124 beef ribs. These heavenly cuts come from the most dorsal section of ribs 6 through 12 and can be found easily at many grocery stores. This part of the ribs lies directly ventral to the ribeye roll. Since the ribeye roll is highly sought after, these back ribs have little to no overlying tissue on the dorsal side. Talk about a BBQ jackpot!

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To showcase the marvel of beef ribs, I recommend watching the Meat Church How To YouTube video here. Meat Church truly knows their way around BBQ, and you’re bound to pick up some expert tips.

Unlocking the Flavor

Now that we’ve uncovered the secrets of beef ribs, it’s time to dive into the mouthwatering details. Here’s what you’ll need to make these savory delights:

  • 1 rack of Beef Short Ribs
  • Meat Church Holy Cow BBQ Seasoning

Make sure you have these essential tools on hand:

  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Unwaxed butcher paper (alternatively, you can use aluminum foil)

Preparing for BBQ Greatness

To create BBQ magic, you’ll need to start by preparing your smoker at 250 degrees. For an authentic Texas BBQ experience, opt for a heavy smoking wood or pellet like oak or mesquite. The traditional flavors of post oak will transport you straight to the Lone Star State.

Begin by trimming any hard fat or silver skin off the meat side of the ribs. Now, let’s talk about the infamous membrane. Removing it is optional, and personally, I prefer leaving it intact. Beef ribs cook beautifully with the membrane intact, and unlike pork ribs, they don’t have that unpleasant chewiness. However, if you choose to remove it, simply flip the ribs meat side down and use a paper towel to peel it away.

Once your ribs are ready, generously coat the top side of the meat, as well as the sides, with the Meat Church Holy Cow seasoning. Let the seasoning work its magic for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

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The Smokin’ Process

Now it’s time for the main event – smoking those luscious beef ribs! Place the ribs on the smoker, meat side up. To add an extra burst of flavor, you can spritz the ribs every couple of hours with liquids like cider vinegar, beef broth, or even water. The cooking time for 3 bone beef short ribs is typically 8 to 10 hours, depending on their size.

While some people choose to wrap their beef ribs, like a brisket, I prefer to maximize the bark. However, if you crave a tender, juicy result, you can wrap them tightly in unwaxed butcher paper or foil when they reach an internal temperature of about 170 degrees. This should be around the 6-hour mark.

Keep smoking the ribs until the meat between the bones becomes probe tender. Instead of relying solely on temperature, I like to use an instant read thermometer to feel the tenderness. Once the ribs are “jiggly,” they’re ready. Unlike brisket, which I take to an average temperature of 203 degrees, beef ribs reach their peak tenderness at around 208 to 210 degrees.

Beef Ribs

The Moment of Truth

Once your beef ribs have reached the pinnacle of smoky perfection, it’s time to remove them from the smoker. Allow them to rest and cool at ambient temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. If you need to hold them for longer than an hour, you can keep them in a dry cooler.

Now, it’s time to decide how you want to enjoy these delectable treats. You can make two long cuts to serve the ribs whole, or for larger gatherings, slice the meat off the bone and cube it up so everyone can savor the deliciousness.

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Meat Church Beef Ribs

Remember, the art of beef ribs is something truly special, and thanks to the Texas A&M Meat Science Section, Department of Animal Science, we have a deeper appreciation for these incredible cuts. So fire up your smoker, embrace the essence of Texas BBQ, and enjoy the unrivaled pleasure of sinking your teeth into tender, smoky beef ribs.

To learn more about the art of BBQ, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.