How to Smoke Beef Ribs for Juicy, Smoky Goodness

Smoked beef ribs are the perfect dish for the barbecue, full of smoky flavor and melt-in-your-mouth juiciness. Like many smoked BBQ recipes, one of the hardest parts of the process to figure out is how long to smoke them, and at what temperature. Here's how to smoke beef ribs for deliciously tender meat and the perfect smoky flavor.

What Are Beef Ribs?

Beef ribs are the meat that come from the lower part of the ribs, and they have a few inches of meat on them. You can typically find beef ribs at the grocery store either as plate ribs, which have three large bones, or chuck ribs, which have four bones and slightly less meat.

Either variety will produce succulent smoked beef ribs, so you can choose whichever you prefer. Another type is back ribs, which have less meat than classic beef ribs, making them less expensive but harder to cook.

How to Prep Beef Ribs for Smoking

Beef ribs. Barbecue table spread. Beef brisket, chicken, pork ribs, beef ribs, Mac n cheese, cornbread, Brussels sprouts, coleslaw & beer. Classic traditional Texas meats & side dishes.
Getty Images/rebeccafondren

Before we get into how to smoke beef ribs, it's important to talk about how to season them for the ultimate flavor and juicy texture. Most recipes use dry rub to make the ribs as flavorful as can be. The prep time is minimal; simply cover your ribs in the dry rub and then preheat your smoker.

Some common ingredients for flavoring your ribs are Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, hot sauce, paprika, and apple cider vinegar. Find whichever flavors work best for you!

Another part of preparing your beef ribs is removing the membrane on the bone side of the ribs. You can either ask the butcher to remove it when you buy it, or do it at home by working a butter knife under the membrane until you can pull it off with either your hands or a paper towel.

How Long to Smoke Beef Ribs

smoked beef ribs
BBQing With The Nolands

Once you've seasoned your ribs, it's time to get to the more important part. When smoking beef ribs, patience is a key part of the process. Smoking them for a long time at a low temperature is the best way to get perfectly fall-off-the-bone meat. Although the total time might take up your whole afternoon, it'll be worth it once you take a bite of your smoky, tender ribs.

Since BBQ beef ribs do well with a strong smoke flavor, you can use whichever wood chips you like best, whether that's hickory, mesquite, cherry or pecan.

Some smoked beef ribs recipes will have you wrap the ribs in aluminum foil, but other grill masters don't feel that this is necessary. Some will also have you spritz the ribs with a spray bottle filled with liquid like vinegar to keep them moist as they smoke.

Smoked beef ribs do best when smoked at about 250 degrees F. Preheat your smoker, and when it's reached the desired temperature, place the rack of beef ribs on the smoker with the meat side up. Smoke the ribs for a cook time of 4 to 5 hours, checking the internal temperature toward the end of this time.

Once the ribs reach 203 degrees F, they're done. Take them off the smoker and let them rest for about 30 minutes, wrapping them in butcher paper if you like. Then, enjoy your smoky fall-off-the-bone smoked beef ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce. Get the full recipe at BBQing With The Nolands.

READ MORE: Here's How Long to Smoke Baby Back Ribs for Perfect Smoky Perfection

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