Of course I’ve had them. But I’ve never attempted to make them myself. The under appreciated beef rib. Smoked no less.
There they are in all their beefy glory. I went out and bought a vacuum packed slab to give some of my beef rib smoking theories a shot. I’m thinking, “let’s just apply all of the things we know from years of smoking pork spare ribs.” Yeah, right…
How about a little smoking music. I was listening to this 1972 flashback when I was doing some rib prep. Being originally from Chi-Town I have a soft spot for Chicago (the band). And, Chicago V is one of their better offerings. Thought you would like a trip back too. Enjoy!!
I split the slab into two fairly equal size pieces. Skinned them and trimmed them up. The same as I would do for pork ribs. Gave them a good dose of my pork rib rub (Cook’s Illustrated July/Aug 1994). You could (and should) really use YOUR favorite dry rub. People seem to like my spare ribs, so, I figured I would go with a proven winner. Oh, I did add a little extra cayenne pepper to the mix. The thinking here is the beef could handle the extra boldness of the additional pepper.
I like to let my rubbed ribs rest in the fridge overnight. That way the meat really absorbs the flavors of the dry mixture. Take them out of the fridge about an hour before cooking to let them warm up a bit.
The experiment continues. When the ribs were coming up to room temp I decided to inject them. Just to give them a little added flavor boost. I do this with my pork spares. So, I figured what the heck. For the injection I used a combo of beef broth, beef bullion and Worcestershire sauce. I got this from Wicked Good Barbeque. It’s essentially a 1-1-1 ratio. Beef broth, 1 TBS Worcestershire, 1 cube beef bullion. Bring to a simmer, then cool before using. This is a GREAT injection for beef. I’ve also used it on my Smoked Beef Brisket with delicious results.
Time for the smoke. I use a vertical Meco smoker. I’ve had this one for 20+ years. Still performs every time.
In case you’re wondering what’s in the water pan? I pretty much use whatever is handy. Today, I got lucky. One can PBR, one apple quartered, one yellow onion quartered, 8 cloves of garlic smashed. Then filled 3/4 full with hot water.
I like to smoke ribs at 250º. So, I’m going to use the classic 3-2-1 rib smoking method. 3 hours smoking, 2 hours wrapped, 1 hour sauced and back on the grates. I also like to let my smoker come up to temp before I add the meat.
They’re looking pretty good at this point. Now, off to wrap.
Yes, that’s an actual picture of the super-secret wrap mixture. OK, it may not be a national security secret. You can probably find this semi-mysterious concoction on any BBQ show that has Johnny Trigg as a competitor. This is his favorite trick (modified a little). Oh, you want me to tell you what that is? Come on do a little work for yourself. Life ain’t that easy.
Wrapped, and back on for another 2 hours.
Here’s where I made a game time decision. Usually, I would unwrap, glaze with sauce and put the racks back on the smoker for another hour. But, I decided to leave them on and wrapped for another half hour. Then I would, unwrap, re-wrap with some fresh foil and paper bag them for thirty minutes.
Here’s what happened…
Of course served with the first sweet corn of the season.
Verdict. I’m probably a little more harsh on my own efforts than others would be. I thought they turned our pretty well. Maybe, a 7 on a 1-10 scale. My pork spare ribs are a 10+. So, that may have been part of the issue. The bar may have been a tad on the high side. They were moist and cooked. As you can tell from the photo. Maybe a little too cooked. That was probably the result of the bagging.
The trouble with a beef rib. At least these beef ribs is that they’re not quite as meaty as a pork spare. So, the expectation is for a tender and meaty bite. They’re certainly tender. But, lacked on the meaty side. Great, complex BBQ flavor though.
If you’re going to fire up the smoker. AND, you want to give something new a whirl, this may be a great slate for you to write your own recipe on. I may just toss some short ribs on next time. Hhhmm…
ALSO OF INTEREST…
Saw this recently on Food 52. I think it more than deserves some of my special attention. Love Kevin’s cooking. So, probably a home run. We shall see…
Kevin Gillespie’s Barbecue Chicken with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce
Keep your eyes, ears and mouth wide open!