How To Cook BBQ Beef Short Ribs

Follow my '10 Things To Remember For The Ultimate BBQ Beef Ribs' tips and you'll be smashing these bad boys in no time at all. Over the years and through my many beef short rib failures and success, I compiled a list that I wish I had when I smoked my first lot of beef ribs.

Smoked Beef Ribs are every carnivores dream. They look impressive, meaty and satisfying. Are they easy to make? Absolutely! BUT read my tips first and gather some patience... then have a rib-a-licious time cooking these beauties.

Beef short ribs are marbled with fat which makes them super tasty but due to the connective tissue and sinew they need to be braised in liquid or better still smoked low and slow using a BBQ or smoker. Low and slow beef short ribs need at least 5-6 hours if not more to be tender. They're not something you should attempt when you're in a rush. They'll test your patience but once mastered, you'll keep cooking these dinosaur bones and loving them!!

10 Things To Remember For The Ultimate BBQ Beef Short Ribs

  1. Ask your butcher for Trimmed Plate Short Ribs with 3 - 4 bones.
  2. You don't have to remove the membrane on the back of beef short ribs (as you would do on pork ribs). The thin membrane helps keep the ribs intact, making them easier to eat when they're ready. Sure, the membrane wont be something you'll rush to nibble on when it's time to feast on the beef ribs but it will make them easier to dig into.
  3. Cook ribs at around 250f (121c) in a charcoal BBQ, Smoker or Pellet Grill. In an indoor oven, cook them at 302f (150c).
  4. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  5. Big cuts of meat (roasts, brisket, ribs etc) usually 'stall' at around 160-170f (71c-76c). The "stall" can happen when you cook a big piece of meat low and slow. I had no idea what was happening the first time I experienced a brisket stall. The temperature stayed at 160f for just over an hour! A stall can put a big pause on a cook and the only way I have found to overcome it is to wrap the meat in foil and be patient!
  6. After the first hour, spray (spritz) ribs every 45 minutes or sooner if you feel they are starting to dry out. Use a 50/50 mix of beef stock/water, apple juice/olive oil or plain water. Keep spraying them every 45 minutes until you reach an internal temperature of 170f-180f (71c-76c).
  7. Wrap the ribs in foil or butchers paper when the internal temperature reaches 170f-180f (71c-76c).
  8. Never cook by time! Remove the ribs when the internal temperature reaches 205f (96c). Measure the temperature using the thickest part of the ribs. The probe should insert into the meat without resistance and like it would into butter. Allow for 5+ hours in time.
  9. When ready, rest ribs in foil for 30 - 60 minutes. Most people rest ribs wrapped in a towel, in a cooler to retain the heat.
  10. For saucy ribs, brush them about 30 minutes before you are ready to remove them or when they reach an internal temperature of around 200f (93c) and keep brushing every 5 minutes until they reach 205f.

raw ribs 01Beautifully trimmed raw plate short ribs from Ashburton Meats in Melbourne

Beef Short Ribs Recipe

  • Prepare BBQ for indirect cooking, use a smoker or an indoor oven. Set the temperature of your BBQ kettle, pellet grill or smoker to 250f (121c) or your indoor oven to 302f (150c).
  • For gas BBQ's with 3 or more burners, set for indirect cooking (middle burner turned off) at 356f (180c).
  • Hood/lid/door will need to be closed for the entire cook whether you use a BBQ kettle, smoker, pellet grill, indoor or gas.
  • You can add 2-3 chunks of wood (such as hickory, maple, apple etc) to a BBQ Kettle for a smoked flavour.

3-4 bone-in trimmed beef short ribs (minimum 1.5kg)
Olive oil (enough to cover entire ribs)
Enough 50/50 mix of beef stock/water, apple juice/olive oil or plain water to spray the ribs throughout the cook

For the seasoning:
1 tablespoon ground sweet paprika (can be substituted with smoked paprika)
2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
3 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon of light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

Triple the seasoning ingredients and place in a jar, store in the pantry for 2 months.


Step one - Combine the sweet paprika, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, pepper and sea salt in a bowl. Set aside until needed.

Step two - Trim ribs of excess fat and pat dry with paper towel.

Step three - Cover the ribs entirely (be generous) with olive oil and the rub seasoning. Refrigerate for 2 -4 hours if you have time. Allow the ribs to reach room temperature before starting the low and slow cook. Coat the ribs again right before placing them in your preferred heat/cooking source.

Step four- Place the ribs (bone side down) on grill grates.

Step five - Spritz the ribs every 45 minutes.

Step six - Cook the ribs until the internal temperature reaches 205f.

Step seven - Rest ribs for 30-60 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Notes: Place the ribs in your heat/cooking source the following way:

Charcoal BBQ - Indirect cooking. Place the ribs on the grill grate opposite to the charcoal. See here.

Pellet Grill/Offset Smoker - In the center of the gill.

Gas BBQ - Turn the center burner off and use the outer burners set to med/low. Use a roasting tray/rack designed for the BBQ which will keep the ribs elevated and off the direct BBQ grill grates. Add a little water to the roasting tray.

Indoor Oven - Use a roasting tray and place the ribs on a cooling rack (on top of the tray) to keep the ribs elevated. Add a little water to the tray.

Be sure to tag me on social media Come Grill With Me, so I can check out your Beef Short Ribs. Love, Irene XO