Friday, October 15, 2010

5 Tips to Spectacular BEEF RIBS 12345 SUCCESS for Everyone!

Beef ribs... Those big hunks of bones, compared to pork spare or baby back ribs, little bits of meat.  Also compared to pork ribs, MUCH tougher, much harder to get tasty.  But, there are a few tricks of the trade to get them their best...

As we say, low and slow.  A whopping 6 hours in a 225 degree smoker and you have a treat.

I used a coffee based rub on these.  Makes a spectacular bark.  No, not burnt, but dark and rich and absorbs and holds the moisture from the rendering beef fat better than most rubs.  The coffee keeps this difficult to cook piece of meat as moist as possible.  I used a Cajun spice rub, then added ground coffee... about 1/6th the volume of the rub 

I mop the meat each hour.  A mop is what it sounds like, using a BBQ "mop" (kind of a cross between a cooking brush and a regular "mop your floor" mop) to baste the ribs.  I used a raspberry chipotle based vinegar mop sauce.

The last hour is spent with a BBQ sauce. the rub adds the flavor of the spice, the mop keeps moisture in the cooking chamber and on the meat.  But a quality sauce will be what people remember.  I used a raspberry chipotle finishing sauce to compliment the mop sauce.  A finishing sauce does not have as much vinegar as a mop sauce, sticks to the ribs.  

And the real "trick", 2 hours spent in the Texas Cheat to soften the bark.  A Texas Cheat, or Foiling is simply removing the meat from the cooker, applying a layer of honey and wrapping them in double layers of aluminum foil.  Pop these in a cooler (no ice).  This gives this notoriously tough piece of meat a chance to relax, loosening the fibers of the beef and tenderizing it.  The honey sweetens the spices, adding a new extra taste to the Cajun/coffee rub.  The foil and cooler will keep everything hot and ready to serve when you unwrap em.

I love my smoker.  Adds the smoke taste, and is fun to use.  But, even if you cook these in an oven, you will still get spectacular, "better than the neighbors" results. The smoke also gets that beautiful pink smoke ring you can see in that first photo.  But really, fire up your oven, and you can get spectacular ribs... 
  1. Low and slow in an oven, 5-6 hours at 225 degrees, until you have an internal temperature of 185 degrees.
  2. Add coffee to your rub.  Sure, I like to make my own, and will give you a recipe at the bottom of this post, but a quality commercially available rub works fine as well.  But if you add a couple TBS of coffee to your rub, especially for beef ribs, the rendered fat will be absorbed into the bark, keeping the meat moist and tender.
  3. Mop each hour.  No need to buy that BBQ specialty mop, use the same technique you use to baste a turkey.  Spooning the mop sauce on works just fine.  I make my own mop sauce, flavored with a raspberry chipotle paste.  But, you can use a mixture of butter and BBQ sauce, or vinegar and BBQ sauce.  A mop sauce should be thin, so a 5 to 1 ratio of liquid to BBQ sauce is what you want.
  4. Add sauce at the end.  Let the meat cook and the rub do it's job before adding the sauce.  Cooking with the sauce just gives it time to be absorbed in the bark and flavoring the meat, without burning.
  5. And finally, that Texas cheat is a pro BBQer's tip.  The honey works as a glaze and a sweetener, giving eye appeal and a new layer of flavors (sweet on top of the heat spice).  The extra two hours of rest allows the meat to relax (more tender) and the bark to soften.  the foil will retain the temperature (I usually only lose 5 to 10 degrees of internal temperature in that 2 hours).
Simple tips anyone can do.  Grilling and smoking are my hobby, but oven cookers can shine with these tips too!

Those are my tips, here's my recipes...


the Big Easy in a Jar

Cajun - Blackening Spice Mix turned into a rub

  • 1 part Garlic Flakes
  • 1 part Onion Flakes
  • 1 part Dried Thyme Leaves
  • 1 part Dried Oregano
  • 1 part Black Pepper
  • 1 part White Pepper
  • 1 part Lemon Pepper
  • 1/2 (one half) part Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 part Ground Bay Leaves
  • 4 parts Sweet Paprika
  • To make into a rub, add 2 parts Brown Sugar
  • To make into a Coffee Rub, add 3 parts ground Coffee


Raspberry Chipotle

Then can be easily made into a mop and BBQ Sauce

2 pints fresh Raspberries, rinsed
1/2 medium Onion minced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, chopped
1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
3/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Salt

  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the Chiles and stir constantly for about a minute.
  3. Add the Raspberries and continue to stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, and finally, add the sugar and salt and bring everything to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook till you get the desired consistency.  Like I said, I wanted a thick paste that I would use for a variety of uses.
  6. Pulse in a food processor to get an even thick paste.
2 TBS of the canned peppers in the Adobo sauce makes this very spicy as is. 

But I was using this as a mop sauce.

I took one rounded TBS of the Raspberry Chipotle paste.

Added that to 1 1/2 cup of Cider Vinegar,
1 sliced Jalapeño 
1/2 Onion sliced and rings separated

And just mix well.  It will be a very thin almost watery consistency.  

And now I was ready to take my new mop sauce and smoke a little Beef bones for some killer ribs!

To make into a BBQ sauce, I just added 2 TBS of the paste to 1 cup of a commercially available sauce.

the paste works great for this!

Think you can make better beef ribs now???


  1. Both of us being lifelong Kansas Citians, my husband and I sure love our ribs. Yours look fantastic!

  2. You're lucky I don't live near you Dave, or I'd be running over to your house for those ribs!!

  3. Well, you know how I feel about coffee and meat! Good stuff.

    Thanks so much for all your support Dave and for your sweet comment. I couldn't have made it as far as I did without you...and honestly. Knowing what a veritable FORCE of people I have behind me is way more important to me than one judge's vote.

  4. These look really quite excellent. Thanks for sharing those helpful tips. My family is big on ribs, but I don't think I've ever tried beef ribs. Sounds wonderful thought, I'll have to give it a try.
    The Raspberry chipotle paste/rub sounds killer- definately finger-lickin' good!

  5. I hate to say it but this year, beef back ribs have surpassed spares as my favorite. That probably has something to do with the fact I ate a kajillion spares in the past two years but the beef are a great change of pace.