This was just my second ever attempt at cooking beef ribs on the BBQ. The first time using a dedicated smoker. For some reason I thought that beef ribs didn’t take all that long. I was wrong. So before I even get into the ins and outs of this cook I would like to apologise for the less than great photography. Thankfully the food ended up being pretty good so I didn’t mind waiting up until gone 12am. Here are the details.
I bought the beef ribs from local butcher Chris Hayman. Everything I get from Chris is fantastic so I knew there wouldn’t be an issue with the quality. I really didn’t want the beef flavour to be obscured with a thick layer of BBQ rub. I decided to keep things simple and opt for a simple salt and pepper rub. Hopefully this would allow the natural beef flavour from this fantastic meat shine through.
I use the UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker) for most of my low and slow cooks. I find it holds temperature very well if i get it right. I can easily cook for 12 hours or more with a full basket of good quality charcoal. I recently managed a 14 hour cook at 107c for a smoked brisket. This time I managed around 12 hours with just a bit more than half a basket of mixed hardwood charcoal from Resiliant Woodlands. Complimented by some cherry wood chunks for added smoke flavour. I know many people swear that briquettes are better for low and slow cooks but I have decided not to use them. There really isn’t any reason in my opinion. My experience has confirmed to me that there really is no difference in the performance in terms of longevity. However, the lumpwood does impart a better flavour on the meat. Particularly for grilling but also for smoking.
I think the decision not to wrap the ribs contributed to the length of this cook. I did end up wrapping for the last hour to try and speed up the process. It worked but I do wish that I had done that hours ago. Once the ribs had reached around 95c I started probing the meat with my Thermapen for tenderness. When I was happy I pulled the ribs off of the smoker and allowed the ribs to rest for as long as I could practically wait. Around 45 minutes to an hour later I decided to bite the bullet and give these ribs a go.
You’ll have to excuse the sub par photography skills from here on out. After around 11pm I really was more concerned about eating these ribs than trying to photograph them. The ribs look good anyway. The bark was pretty great. I had a small smoke ring. Most importantly the flavour was there. I am pretty sure that I had two muscles on these ribs. The top part had cooked differently but tasted better than the part closest to the rib. The part closest to the bone seemed more gelatinous than I expected it to be. Similar to the texture you might expect from ox cheek or pig cheeks. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but wouldn’t be my favourite.
The ribs were fantastic but I’m not sure that they would be a regular for me. The texture puts it a little down on the list of favourite meats to smoke. Although the leftovers did make a pretty amazing chilli the next day.
I would be interested to hear what your opinions of beef ribs are. Am I doing something wrong or does that look about perfect? Either way I’m always happy to hear your thoughts.
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Written by Tomos Newland-Jones @MrNewland66