Pit Smoked Beef Short Rib

Pit Smoked Beef Short Rib

Big, meaty hunks of succulent, smoky beef on the end of comedy dinosaur size bone that wouldn’t look out of place in the Flintstones. What’s not to like? These are meat lollipops at their very best.

This recipe relies on wrapping the ribs in foil after several hours to keep the moisture locked in and help render down the fat and connective tissue. If you prefer, instead of foiling you can pit-braise the ribs by placing them in a foil tray half submerged in liquid. Either way, it’s important to do one of the other to end up with the juiciest and best result.

Beef short ribs usually come in rack sizes of 4 to 5 bones. A decent portion would be 2-3 per person.

Like pork ribs, there’s a tough old membrane covering the bone side that you need to get rid of. Tease in a small sharp knife just under the membrane and work it loose. Once you have something to get hold of, use some kitchen roll to grip the edge and carefully peel back. Seems like a bit of a faff but needs to be done or you’ll end up with a mouthful of what feels like bits of baking parchment. There tends to be quite a few lumps and pockets of fat that you should carefully trim off. Some fat is fine, but get rid of the excess.

I like to gently score the meat side. Just enough to cut through the fat and membrane. It helps prevent the ribs wanting to curl and warp whilst cooking. Also gives you a guide to slicing into even size bones for serving.

Prep time – 1hr

Cook time – 6hrs plus 30 min rest

  1. Season the ribs generously with the B1 rub (recipe below) and let them stand for an hour or two
  2. Set your BBQ / Smoker up to cook indirectly at around 120C (240F)
  3. Lay down the ribs, bone side down, on the grill.
  4. Add some wood chunks – hickory or oak are both good with beef, don’t add anything that adds a sweet flavour.
  5. After 3-4 hours the meat should have shrunk up the bone a bit and now is the time to foil. Internal temp at this point is around 65C. Wrap and seal up the ribs in strong foil and pour in some liquid – wine, beer, cider, stock – anything will work. Double foil if you are worried about the bone piercing through. We want a sealed package.
  6. Once foiled, place back on the barbecue for another two hours. We’re looking for the meat having drawn well back up the bone, most of the fat having rendered away and the meat looking succulent and fall apart. Internal temp here is around 88C.
  7. Take off the heat and allow to rest for 30 mins in the foil pouch
  8. Sprinkle with some salt flakes before slicing carefully into individual bones to serve.
  9. You can flash back on a hot grill for a few minutes each side to liven up and bring back the crust if you like.
  10. Serve with freshly made green sauce and home made pickles

B1 Rub

  • 2 tbsp flaked sea salt (Maldon is my favourite)
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container. Make more than you need – it’s also good on steaks, chicken and potatoes.

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