BBQ Short Ribs for Dummies...

First off, I’m not an expert bbq-er…don’t have the fancy rigs, or the time to slow smoke something all day. I want to smoke some bone in beef short ribs, but don’t have the time, or a smoker that can keep optimal temp, to smoke them for 5hrs. So…what I was thinking about doing is a dry rub overnight, then smoked(charcoal/wood) for a couple hours, probably at 350 down to 250…again…I have hard time keeping the temp…indirect heat with a drip pan of water underneath. Then after a couple hrs or so, put them in an aluminum tray and wrap with foil…put in oven at what 200?..for another 1-2hrs? Will this work? Will I still get that good smoked bark, as well as the tenderness? What about the reverse…oven first, then smoked? Or…just suck it up and smoke for the 5hrs…it’s the only way for great bbq?

What are some of your expert tips here?


3/2/1 method is full proof. Smoke for 3 hours at 250, wrap for 2 at 250, then sauce on grill at 250 for as long as it takes to get the color you want. They will be fall off the bone tender.

When I wrap I put them meat side down and some butter and apple juice in the package for moisture.

BBQ short ribs are the only thing I can do consistently and perfectly on my big green egg. Marinate overnight in Roy choy’s kalbi marinade (Sweet-and-Salty Korean Barbecued Short Ribs Recipe - Roy Choi). Then on indirect heat at 225 for about 6 hours until temp hits 200. Wrap in butcher paper and a towel in the cooler until ready to eat, then put them back on the grill with some fresh marinade for a few minutes. I use the full long dino ribs and they don’t seem to dry out enough to necessitate wrapping

This is your friend, no need for a dedicated smoker. Add smoke to any food while grilling.

Your meat really only needs a couple of hours of smoke up front to get the smoky flavor. If you get better temp control in your oven, I would do two hours on the smoker, then foil and up in the oven. You aren’t necessarily going to get a smoke ring, but the flavor will be there.

For which style cut of beef short ribs do you use this method?

3-2-1 would only work on beef back ribs, not plate or chuck short ribs

Being form Texas, I smoke a lot of meat — brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, pork butt, sausage, and pork belly. If you are using the large chuck or plate ribs, it’s going to be hard to get the fat to render properly and get the good smoke flavor. The method the OP is suggesting is worth a try, but can’t speak for how it will work. I would set the oven at 225. Key is getting the meat to final temp at 203-205 degrees, then take out of the heat and let it rest (keep in foil in a cooler) for an hour.

Keep the rub simple — coarse pepper and kosher salt. Put a little hot sauce (like Crystal) on the ribs first to hold the salt and pepper in place. If by volume, use 3:1 Pepper to salt, or 1:1 by weight

I didn’t read the post carefully. You are absolutely correct. I basically do the same methods you do for beef ribs.

For what its worth, I would do the following:

  1. Start on your smoker to get some smoker. 1-2 hours should be fine, and don’t worry about getting it down to 225. Lots and Lots of famous restaurants smoke between 275-300. Just go as low as you can get things and remember overstocking leaves your meat bitter tasting while under smoking leaves the meat edible. No one wants to eat smoked meat that tastes like its covered in bitter sawdust.
  2. Remove the meat and transfer to a braising vessel. Aluminum pan, dutch oven, whatever. Add some liquid (BBQ sauce, meat drippings, vinegar, and a bit of apple juice is my go to) and cover. Braise until temps are around 200 (use a thermometer if you don’t trust you instinct/finger poke method).
  3. refrigerate overnight in braising liquid
  4. The next day, put the ribs on a hot grill to warm through and get some color. Take the solidified fat off the top of the braising liquid and reduce it to the thickness of your liking. Baste the meat in this liquid while it is on the grill.

    I know that in BBQ circles this would be sacrilegious advice. I am actually doing the above for dinner tonight for my family for father’s day, the reason being that we have been supposedly getting thunderstorms in the afternoon all week (none of which have actually happened). It was safer to commit to a 1-2 hour smoke rather than 6 hours yesterday.

That looks like a super way to do them!! I love braised short ribs the next…and the next day…

So far I’ve smoked them for 3hrs, took them off and sealed them in foil pan…meat at 175, they look SO good right now! Put in oven for the next 2hrs at 250 or when meat gets 200-10. I’ll see what the bark looks like then…might put back on hot grill for more char? [cheers.gif]

Shocked how good this came out!!! [worship.gif]

I can’t even begin how to describe how wrong this is on so many levels.

Damn those look great. Nice job!


That is why I gave the caveat that it isn’t “true” BBQ. The reality is, not many people have the time any/or equipment to do “true” BBQ. What Brian said in his first post is that he doesn’t have the right rig to do BBQ right, so he’d need to adapt. What I outlined above will make some damn delicious food, even if it isn’t traditional Texas beef BBQ. Would you have rather me given this advice?

  1. Salt your beef a day before you plan on cooking it. If you don’t salt the day before, you just f**cked yourself, so give up now.
  2. The day you are smoking, start your stick burner about 2 hours before you want to get the meat on. Wait until you see a thin blue smoke and you have leveled out between 215* and 230* before you even think about putting your meat on.
  3. Take your meat out of the fridge 3 hours before you want to smoke, whoops this should have been #2, make sure you pat the meat dry and get a nice dry pellicile so that the smoke takes to your meat. Just before you put it on the fire season it with fresh cracked pepper and nothing else. Anything more and it isn’t true BBQ, its just grilling.
  4. Go low and slow at 225* until it’s done. I can’t give you a timeline because…BBQ is done when its done. Don’t let your smoker go below 215* or above 230*, you need to sit and watch it for the next 8 hours. Like a hawk. Don’t even think about leaving the smoker or you may completely ruin your meat.
  5. When you hit the stall, meat temp around 160*, you can wrap it in butcher paper to retain moisture and give yourself a crutch. This might mess up your delicious bark, but will guarantee you hit your 200*+ temp for ultimate tenderness on the meat.
  6. Watch like a hawk. Your meat is still cooking. Drink more beer. Keep an eye on your temps.
  7. Take off the meat at your desired temperature, most likely 203*, but that might not be right, I’ve had beef done at 195 and 210. BBQ is done when its done.
  8. Wrap you meat in some old towels and put it into a cooler to rest for 2-3 hours. This re-integrates the juices and ensures supreme tenderness.
  9. Unwrap your meat from the towels, remove the butcher paper, and plate the meat with a side of pickles, homemade baked beans, and maybe some cornbread with jalapeño jelly.

Did I get it right?

I lived in Texas for a few years, and I can tell you that for every good BBQ place, there are 5 really bad ones.


Those look awesome! Following you in IG!


Meathead Goldwyn does a sous vide 'que short ribs. You probably think that’s wrong too, but between you and Meathead Goldwyn, I know who I’ll listen to… [neener.gif]

So Buzz, I gotta say that your result looks amazing. But, I am not clear on what you ended up using to smoke the short ribs. Can you specify what this allegedly sub-optimal piece of smoking apparatus you used actually was, good sir?

Mission Grill for charcoal and wood…Weber for gas.

I may share with you the way I smoke meat on my backyard. In this case I will tell you about beef ribs.
For 3,3 lb. of beef ribs we will need:
-1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
-2 t.s. ground chili pepper
-2 t.s. ground dry garlic
-1 t.s. ground dry onion
-1 t.s. sugar
-2 t.s. salt
-3 tablespoons ground black pepper
(I cut off excess fat from meat)

For smoking I use hickory chips, water pan and my ordinary grill Weber 741001
We will use indirect heat and smoke at temperature nearly 230°F
After 2 hours of smoking, you may add some more chips, but, please, be careful!

After 5 hours your smoked ribs are ready!

Enjoy your meal.

Nice. Looks like you were able to get some good smoke and crust on it. If you have the time plate ribs are pretty straight forward. Bone side down at 275 until crust sets (~5 hours) then spritz every 30 until done (6-8 hours). No need to wrap. Just don’t smoke it so high that it burns but also not so low that you don’t render the fat.