These fall-off-the-bone-tender BBQ Beef Short Ribs are a favorite summer time meal. They’re seasoned with a homemade dry rub, baked in the oven on a low heat, and then slathered with BBQ sauce. They only take one pan, which makes clean-up easy.
Let’s talk ribs. Specifically, beef ribs.
Have you ever had beef ribs? From conversations we have with our customers, most people have had pork ribs, but many people aren’t familiar with beef ribs. Here’s what you need to know and why you should try them (hint: they’re amazing!)
What’s the difference between beef ribs and pork ribs?
The most obvious difference between beef and pork ribs is we’re talking about two different animals — steer vs. pig.
Other obvious differences are that beef ribs are much larger and have much more meat on the bone. They also have more marbling than pork rib, which gives them flavor and makes them more tender when cooked.
Types of beef ribs
There are three basic types of beef ribs: short ribs, back ribs and chuck ribs. They’re very different from each other, but all can be great if cooked properly.
As you read this, please keep in mind that butchers cut beef differently and they have a variety of names based upon geographic region. So, we’re keeping it as basic as possible in this blog post.
On a steer, there are 13 pairs of ribs and they come from three different primal sections: short plate, rib and chuck. It’s easiest to see where the three primal sections are located on a beef cut chart.
Short ribs are the most popular type of beef ribs. They are usually about 12-inches long, and have 1 to 2-inches of meat on top of them. They’re delicious!
When purchasing a quarter, half or whole beef from our farm, you get ribs with larger orders. If you’re looking for short ribs at retail, you’ll notice that they’re generally more expensive. That’s because a full rack of beef ribs weighs about 30 pounds. Of that, only 4 pounds is considered short ribs.
Back ribs are cut from the rib primal section, which is the same section that prime rib steak and prime rib roast come from.
In most cases, these ribs have less meat on top of the bones because butchers leave the meat on the ribeye steaks and rib roast. However, there are chucks of delicious meat between the bones. These ribs are 6 to 8-inches long with a curved bone
Often times, Chuck ribs are called flanken short ribs. These are the easiest to find at retail stores. They have some meat, but not nearly as much as short ribs. Chuck short ribs are usually 3-6 inches long.
How to cook beef short ribs
Ribs come from well-used muscles in the steer. That means there is lots of connective tissue that must be broken down by long, slow cooking times. Although short ribs need to cook for an extended period of time to get tender, it’s definitely worth the wait!
For this recipe, you lightly coat beef with olive oil and then season both sides generously with a beef rub.
After rubbing in the dry rub thoroughly on all sides of the beef, place ribs in covered dish or Ziploc bag and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
Next, remove ribs from refrigerator and place on foil lined baking sheet. Cover ribs completely with another piece of foil and seal the edges so that no steam can escape. Bake for 3 1/2-4 hours. Carefully open the foil. Using a meat thermometer, take the temperature in between the bones. The connective tissue will start to melt at 170°F and your desired end temperature is around 200°F for them to be fall-off-the-bone delicious. The only way to know these temperatures is with an accurate meat thermometer (here’s our favorite).
After cooking, drain the excess fat. Then, if desired, you can slather the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce and cook for another 5 minutes under the broiler. Below is our favorite homemade BBQ sauce. It’s quick and easy with only a few pantry ingredients. Or, you can use your favorite store-bought sauce.
Clean-up is easy since everything is one pan. If you want to make it even easier, cook the ribs in a disposable pan.
BBQ Beef Short Ribs
- 4 lbs Beef short ribs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp kosher salt
BBQ Sauce (if desired)
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked
- Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl, set aside
- Lightly coat beef short ribs with olive oil
- Generously season both sides of beef short ribs with dry rub mixture
- Place ribs in covered dish or ziploc bag, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 250F
- Remove ribs from refrigerator and place on foil lined baking sheet. Cover ribs completely with another piece of foil and seal the edges so that no steam can escape
- Bake for 3 1/2-4 hours. Carefully open the foil. Using a meat thermometer, take the temperature in between the bones. Ideal temperature should be about 200°F. (see above)
- Remove from oven and drain excess fat.
- If desired, lightly brush ribs with favorite BBQ sauce or homemade BBQ sauce recipe (above). Place back into the oven and broil on high for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the short ribs to a platter, leaving the cooking liquid behind, and slather with the reserved BBQ sauce.
BBQ Sauce Instructions
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Favorite kitchen tools:
One more thing!
Interested in learning more about beef from someone who raises beef? Check out our ebook.
If you’d like to keep up with our farm, we have a weekly e-newsletter where we share about farm happenings, beef recipes, and when our next beef will be available to order. When you sign up, you’ll get a cheat sheet with 9-must-ask questions before buying beef directly from a farmer.
Beef posts you may like:
- Prime Rib with Garlic Herb Butter
- What Everybody Ought to Know About Beef Cuts
- Dry Rub or Marinade for Steak? Know What’s Best
- 10 Best Beef Rub Recipes
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