How to Smoke Beef Ribs in a Smoker

Smoking beef back ribs is different from pork ribs in many ways. Do you have an idea on how to smoke beef ribs?

In spite of the succulent taste of smoked beef ribs, still it is not as popular as pork ribs. Likewise, beef ribs are cheaper than pork ribs, thus you can get more for your money.

How to Smoke Beef Ribs

If you’re thinking to smoke beef ribs, the first thing to consider is to buy a rack of beef ribs. It should be cut from the steer’s rib cage next to the tenderloin. This part will give a tender and flavorful treat of smoked beef ribs.


The ingredients needed in smoking beef ribs vary depending on individual preference. You may need ingredients that you will use in making marinade or dry rub. Likewise, the ingredients that you may use for smoked beef ribs depends on the flavor that you want to obtain.

You can also make a sweet sugary basting sauce, a mopping sauce or barbecue sauce. The sauce can enhance and make a big difference with the taste of the smoked beef ribs.

Check out: 5 Best Wood Chips For Smoking

Step by Step Process to Smoke Beef Ribs

Smoking beef ribs involves different steps. Make sure to follow carefully if you want to end up with a delightful treat.

  1. Purchase the right ribs: Before you rush to buy beef ribs you must know which part to choose. Never compromise the quality of beef ribs over its price. Select the meatiest slabs and not the one in which the meat has been scraped or cut from the rib bones.
  1. Prep the beef ribs: This step takes a lot of time as you need to remove the fatty membrane covering the ribs. It’s essential to remove the fell or membrane to make the smoked beef ribs appetizing. Likewise, the membrane prevents the smoke flavor and spice to absorb directly to the meat.After removing the fell, you should also remove the fat deposits from both sides of the beef ribs. Make sure that the silverskin is exposed so that it will be easier to cook the meat and make it tastier. Rinse the meat before applying dry rub or marinating the beef ribs.

Smoke Beef Ribs in a Smoker

  1. Season well: The next step is to soak the beef ribs in a marinade or coat it with dry rubs. If you prefer to marinade the ribs, you must use acidic marinade that will make the ribs more tender and enhance the flavor. You can make a mixture of lemon juice or vinegar with herbs and spices for your marinade. If you will use dry rub, let the ribs to set so that the seasoning will penetrate into the meat.
  1. Smoke for hours: Beef ribs have tough connective tissues, thus requires some time to cook to melt and break down the tissues. Make sure that the ribs are tender so that you can enjoy its flavor.

Using aluminum foil to wrap the ribs after 2 hours can reduce the cooking time.  Place the wrapped ribs back into the smoker for three hours or until the smoked ribs are done. The good thing about wrapping the ribs with foil is that the sauce is preserved.

Beef Ribs Smoking Time

There are three variables that affect the smoking time for beef ribs such as weather, temperature and how often you open/raise the lid.

The temperature plays a big role in smoking any meat, but since beef is tougher than other meats, the smoking time may run from 4-6 hours or until the desired tenderness is meet.

If you don’t want strong smoke flavor, the best thing to do is to smoke the beef for less time and allow the heat of the smoker to finish the process. You can also shorten the cooking time if you will choose young beef ribs.

To know if the smoked beef ribs are done, you can try if the meat easily tears while pulling two bones in opposite direction.

Another way that can help to tenderize the beef ribs fast is to wrap them in foil after 3 hours of cooking. After two hours, you can remove the foil and bring them back into the smoker to make the crust crunchy.

Back Ribs
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 4-5 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 185-190°F
Notes: Cut apart before cooking for best results.
Short Ribs
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 6-8 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 190-200°F
Beef Country Style Ribs
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 3-4 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 175-180°F
Notes: Done when tender


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