Although not as popular as pork ribs, beef ribs are a great alternative and cook similarly to a rack of pork ribs. The secret to mouthwatering beef ribs is to cook them low and slow over indirect heat; this not only makes them tender and very flavorful, but it helps prevent them from drying out.
A good marinade will also help create fall-off-the-bone meat, and this very simple one adds flavor from garlic, thyme, red wine, and soy sauce. Some people wonder if you need to boil ribs before grilling, wrap them in foil during grilling, or follow other barbecue rib-related tips, but none of these steps are necessary for this easy and effective recipe.
There are two cuts of beef ribs: back ribs and short ribs. For this recipe, you want to use back ribs, as short ribs (with the bone) benefit from a different cooking method, such as braising. As a bonus, back ribs are also less expensive.
Gather the ingredients.
In a medium bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Mix well.
Place the ribs in a shallow, non-metal baking dish and pour the marinade over them. Make sure the ribs are evenly coated.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours.
Preheat the grill to 250 F and prepare for indirect grilling.
When the grill is hot, remove ribs from marinade and place on the cool side of the grill to cook indirectly. Discard marinade. Close the lid and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, turning every 15 minutes.
Once ribs reach an internal temperature of 165 F (make sure to check several ribs), remove from heat and serve.
You can apply barbecue sauce during the last 15 minutes of cook time if you like. Make sure to keep a close eye on the ribs so they don't burn.
What's the Difference Between Beef Back Ribs and Short Ribs?
- These two parts of the cow cook very differently from each other. The back ribs remain when the boneless rib-eye steaks and roasts are removed, so they will taste very much like steak. They cook similarly to a rack of pork ribs.
- The short rib is from a part of the cow's ribs called the plate, which makes up only about 13 percent of the entire rack of ribs. It does have more meat than the back ribs and is, therefore, a more expensive cut. Short ribs benefit from a cooking method that includes some kind of liquid; if you want to grill them, it is best to buy boneless.
- If you don't see beef ribs in the meat section of your supermarket, ask the butcher, who may have a rack of frozen or fresh beef ribs that can be cut up.
- When grilling, use a drip pan under the grill grates to prevent flare-ups because beef ribs have a lot of fat that will burn quickly. Keep an eye on the ribs and move them around the grill if flare-ups occur.
How to Store and Freeze Beef Ribs
- Beef ribs will keep well in the fridge, wrapped in foil, for 3 to 4 days.
- To freeze, wrap them in foil and transfer to an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months.