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Beef Short Ribs

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Post Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:55 am
BaasPro medium
medium

Posts: 171
Location: Alvaton, KY

When I fire up the WSM I like to let my neighbors know so they can bring things over to smoke because I rarely fill it to capacity. I was surprised by a batch of grass fed beef ribs that showed up last time we did this. With some hesitation, I agreed to smoke them, but I knew they'd be chewy. We all knew it, and they were. The neighbors were pleased with the flavor, and not surprised at the texture, but I still felt kinda bad.

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Indy 500 Neighborhood Smoking Session.
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Anyway, that's exactly why I haven't played with beef ribs very much over the years. They've always come out too chewy. But I spied a deal I couldn't pass up a few weeks ago and tried a new recipe with some grocery store short ribs. This recipe from Weber calls for beer braising for about 1.5 hours before smoking on the grill for a half hour to finish. I couldn't believe how good they were! Tender, smoky, and the best part was the BBQ sauce that is made by boiling down the beer braising liquid and adding other BBQ sauce staples. The sauce has a natural beef flavor and was especially great on hamburgers later.

Here's the recipe (I used cherry wood instead of mesquite):
http://www.weber.com/recipes/beef/beer- ... short-ribs

So, that got me wondering if recipe would work as well with the leaner grass fed beef from a favorite local farm. I lucked out and scored some short ribs from my beef/lamb farmer friend the next day at the Farmers Market. Once again, they were delicious. But definitely not as tender as the first time.

So, that got me looking for a recipe that called for a longer braising time for this particular meat. Fortunately there's a great one in 'Man Made Meals' -- Pac-Rim Short Ribs Braised with Ginger & Lemongrass, where we braise the ribs for a solid three hours. I finished them on the grill to crisp them up as recommended and they were great, but they seemed to be too tender this time. Almost like a beef pot roast. Taking a cue from the first recipe, I boiled the braising liquid down and added some Hoisin sauce and sweet Thai Chili sauce to make a killer Asian-style beef-flavored BBQ sauce. That went on leftovers and it was the best!

So, anyway, I'm wondering if anybody has had luck smoking short ribs that didn't come out chewy, or if you guys have any other tips? I'm pretty much settled on this braising-before-the-grill idea, but I'm wondering if they might like the reverse treatment like the way to we Loveless Cafe-style Watermelon Ribs (pork)? If I stick with this method, I think I'll try braising for two hours with this same beef next time since 90 minutes didn't quite do it, but 180 minutes seemed to overdo it.

Here's some pics:

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Beer-Braised & Cherry-Smoked Short Ribs.
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Beer-Braised & Cherry-Smoked Short Ribs.
03.JPG (188.03 KiB) Viewed 1187 times
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Post Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:59 am
BaasPro medium
medium

Posts: 171
Location: Alvaton, KY

This was the second try with some local grass fed beef. They sure look and taste better than the grocery store ribs!

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Beer-Braised & Cherry-Smoked Short Ribs II.
04.JPG (195.69 KiB) Viewed 1186 times


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Beer-Braised & Cherry-Smoked Short Ribs II.
05.JPG (204.99 KiB) Viewed 1186 times
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Post Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:04 am
BaasPro medium
medium

Posts: 171
Location: Alvaton, KY

Last, but not least was the Pac-Rim Short Ribs Braised with Lemongrass & Ginger from MMM. Loved the Asian flavor, especially after crisping them up on the grill. The leftover rib with the impromptu BBQ sauce idea was the best of all...

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Pac-Rim Short Ribs Braised w/ Lemongrass & Ginger, and finished on the grill.
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Pac-Rim Short Ribs Braised w/ Lemongrass & Ginger and topped with Asian-style BBQ Suace.
07.JPG (202.83 KiB) Viewed 1186 times
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Post Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:35 am
scorched_porch User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 407
Location: Redwood City, California

Awesome shots of some great looking food. I can smell it from here...
36" Argentine Grill
WSM 22.5, Pit Barrel Cooker
Weber Performer
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Post Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:40 am
Steven Grilling Guru
Grilling Guru

Posts: 282

Hi, Rob,

Love the way you're bridging the gap between indoor and outdoor cooking and combining braising and barbecue to make ribs that are both tender and smoky. (That Pac-Rib BBQ Sauce sounds pretty killer, too.)

Might Quinn in New York (an excellent Manhattan Q restaurant) uses a interesting technique on its Brontosaurus bones. Once cooked (you check doneness by shrinkage of the meat away from the end of the bones), the ribs go in a covered foil pan with beef stock and rest in an insulated cooler for a couple hours before serving. This softens the meat and keep it moist--maybe that would work for your grass-feds.

Another technique I use with grass fed brisket (also notoriously lean): wrap the ribs in butcher paper (pure paper--not the kind lined with plastic) for the last 2 hours of cooking. This helps build moistness and tenderness.

You're working on an important issue here because we all want to eat more grass-fed beef (we know it's good for us and the planet), but we wish it would come moister and tenderer.

Barbecue Board members--please tell us what has worked for YOU!

As always, thanks for your excellent work and photos, Rob.

SR

Post Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:05 am
BaasPro medium
medium

Posts: 171
Location: Alvaton, KY

Thanks, Steven. I still haven't tried the butcher paper on a brisket, so next time I get these ribs I think I'll try that out and I'll also try the Mighty Quinn method. Practicing is fun!
:cheers:
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Post Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:35 pm
scorched_porch User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 407
Location: Redwood City, California

BP, You have given me a great idea for Osso Bucco...
36" Argentine Grill
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Post Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:57 pm
BaasPro medium
medium

Posts: 171
Location: Alvaton, KY

scorched_porch wrote:
Awesome shots of some great looking food. I can smell it from here...

Thanks!

scorched_porch wrote:
BP, You have given me a great idea for Osso Bucco...

Ooooh, please do report back if it works out...
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Post Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:14 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5869
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
BaasPro wrote:
So, anyway, I'm wondering if anybody has had luck smoking short ribs that didn't come out chewy, or if you guys have any other tips? I'm pretty much settled on this braising-before-the-grill idea, but I'm wondering if they might like the reverse treatment like the way to we Loveless Cafe-style Watermelon Ribs (pork)? If I stick with this method, I think I'll try braising for two hours with this same beef next time since 90 minutes didn't quite do it, but 180 minutes seemed to overdo it.


Braising and then grilling short ribs is the only way I've found that will make them tender, too. I keep the braising time down to about 120 minutes and that seems to work well. Anything over that tends to make the ribs a bit too mushy.

Any now I have to figure out why short ribs are so expensive in my part of the world. I haven't bought them in a while because they're pricey up here in Alberta and they shouldn't be.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:24 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7504
Location: Stoughton, WI
Great shots, BP! Those are some terrific-looking ribs!

Like the others I haven't had any success getting short ribs to be tender outside of butterflying them and smacking them a bit with the hammer. I've always just tried to slice them really thin against the grain but the combination of braising and smoking is something I should try. Thanks!

Post Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:05 pm
BaasPro medium
medium

Posts: 171
Location: Alvaton, KY

For the last attempt I smoked them without braising first, and without cutting them into individual ribs. I did wrap in butcher paper. Great flavor, but still too tough. So I guess I've learned what works for the local grassfed beef we're using. It was fun practice, and timely, because our side of beef will be ready soon. In the future we'll cut them into individual ribs, braise for about 90 minutes, and finish on the grill. I didn't try smoking first and then braising, so might give that a shot, and I still need to try the Might Quinn technique (should have done that this time). But these are just too lean to go smoker only...

Image
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Post Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:14 pm
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7504
Location: Stoughton, WI
Nice color on the beef! I have a package of short ribs in the freezer but I'm sure they're cut flanken style, and your photo has me wanting some English-cut ribs or even some beef spares.

Post Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:02 pm
Cactus1 well done
well done

Posts: 748
Location: Indian Head Park, IL.
Yeah, I have a taste for some good beef spares to.
I buy a boneless short rib from Costco. I've questioned to them actually being short ribs. Look like a small strip steak and they are nicely marbled. I like to use a beef brisket rub or Penzey's English Prime Rib Rub on them. Sear over direct heat, move to indirect, then finish back over direct heat.
* IHP Cactus Farm & Sauce Shack *
18 1/2 & 22 1/2" WSM
22 1/2" OTS
26 3/4" OTG


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