Smokey, beefy deliciousness is what you can expect from a rack of smoked beef plate ribs. Also known as “brisket on a stick”, beef plate ribs are a BBQ staple. And similar to brisket, they do take quite of bit of time to cook, especially when cooked on a smoker.
But the process is very simple. And only requires a few basic ingredients.
The hardest part, really, is finding a local source that has these in stock.
These are usually sliced into thin strips and sold as short ribs. When cut this way, the cook time is greatly reduced. But we want the full rack! We want the beef! The best way is to call around your local butcher shops and ask if they stock or if they can order beef plate ribs or a full, uncut rack of short ribs. A rack is usually sold with 3 bones, and 1 bone is plenty to feed 1 person.
The rack will have a meaty side and bone side, similar to pork ribs. I start by removing ALL the fat from the meaty side to expose the meat. This not only removes excess fat that’s not needed, but it also exposes the meat where that deliciousness that’s known as BBQ bark will form during the smoking process. For those new to BBQ, bark is the outside crust that’s formed when cooking with smoke.
On the bone side, there is a thick membrane which also needs to be removed. Some like to leave it on, but I pull it off, to again, expose more meat and allow more of the seasoning to stick.
Once the ribs are trimmed, they are ready to be seasoned.
For true Texas style BBQ, I like to stick with a 50/50 mix of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. This mix will make the beefy flavor shine through, as well as help with the tasty bark that we want on the outside. Before any of our rub hits the meet, however, I like to use a binder to help it stick to the meat. The binder acts as a glue for the rub. And for beef ribs, I always go with hot sauce for the binder.
The hot sauce adds a little kick, and I do mean a very little kick, to the flavor. Coat the outside with a thin layer of hot sauce, making sure to the get the underside as well. After they are coated, apply an even but generous coating of the salt/pepper mix all over the ribs. Since this is a big cut of meat, don’t be shy with the seasoning! The ribs can take it. After the ribs are seasoned, let them sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. This will bring up the temperature of the meat and allow the salt and pepper to start penetrating the meat.
Now’s the perfect time to fire up that smoker!
These particular ribs were smoked on my Jess Pryles Signature Pitts and Spitts offset smoker. But worry not, you can use any type of smoker to cook these. Fire it up and bring the temperature up to between 250-275 degrees. That will be our cooking temperature range for the duration of the cook.
Place the ribs on the smoker, meat side up, insert your temperature probe into the thickest part of the meat and let them smoke. Oh yeah, you will need a meat thermometer to cook these. These and pretty much anything else you make. Cooking your proteins to temperature and not to time will ensure that everything is cooked properly and not over or under cooked.
I like to use Thermoworks products. These are high quality tools and are very accurate. My 2 favorite leave in thermometers are the Thermoworks Smoke and the Thermoworks Signals . The Smoke is a 2 channel alarm while the Signals is a 4 channel alarm. Both are very accurate, durable and will last a long time.
And now the wait begins…..
Cooking low and slow has one big downside….the slow part. Good bbq takes takes and this will be no different. For an average 3 bone rack of beef plate ribs, you’re looking at a cook time of anywhere between 6-8 hours. All you have to have to do during this time is just make sure the smoker temperature stays in the 250-275 range. We won’t be wrapping the ribs, we’ll cook them straight through until finished.
And the ideal finished temperature for beef ribs is anywhere between 205-210 degrees. Once they hit 205, you can start checking for tenderness. What’s that mean? It means that when you take your temperature probe and insert it into the meat, it should go in without any resistance. Check a few different spots and make sure they are very tender.
Pull the ribs from the smoker, now wrap them in pink butcher paper, and let them rest in a room temperature cooler for about an hour. So why the wrap now? The wrap will help keep the meat warm while still allowing it to breath so that beautiful bark on the outside won’t soften up on us. And the meat needs the time to rest to stop the cooking process and to allow all the juices inside to redistribute. You’ve waited this long, you can wait another hour!
And the moment of truth
After the rest, take the ribs out of the cooler, slice between the bones and enjoy! One bone is plenty enough for 1 person. Remember, these are called dino bones for a reason. The best part is taking that first bite of the beefy deliciousness. The meat should just fall apart and be super tender and juicy.
Smoked Beef Plate Ribs
- 1 rack Beef plate ribs
- 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
- 1/4 cup Black pepper
- 1 tbsp Hot sauce
- Trim the fat from the meat side of the ribs
- Remove the membrane from the bone side
- Apply a thin layer of hot sauce all over the ribs
- Season both sides with a 50/50 mix of salt and pepper. Apply an even amount all over the beef
- Smoke for at 250-275 degrees until the meat is probe tender, anywhere between 205-210 degrees internal. Approx 6-8 hours
- Wrap the ribs in pink butcher paper and rest for 1 hour in a cooler before slicing
Check out the Recipe for other tasty dishes.