Beef Plate Ribs: A Carnivore’s Delight

Island Spice Beef Ribs

The new sparerib? That’s one way to describe the beef plate rib, aka, the biggest, baddest rib on Planet Barbecue,

Steven Raichlen, Project Smoke


I’ve been Steven’s assistant for nearly 25 years. You can’t imagine how many fabulous barbecued meats (and meals) I’ve enjoyed thanks to him.

If asked, I admit my hands-down favorite protein is beef plate ribs, known colloquially as dinosaur ribs, brontosaurus ribs, or Jurassic bones. If you’ve never had them, get thee to a butcher shop that understands what 123A means. (That’s a NAMP number that helps butchers identify exact meat cuts.) Beef plate ribs are not commonly sold in supermarkets, so you might have to special order them, depending on where you live.

Rotisserie Beef Plate Ribs with Pebre (Chilean Salsa)

But if you’re an unrepentant carnivore, don’t die without tasting these exquisite bones.

Beef Plate Ribs

Whatever you call them, these Flintstonesque plate ribs, newly popular in barbecue circles, are a carnivore’s dream—rich, smoky, tender, beefy, and seductively unctuous.

A rack typically consists of three bones, ribs 6 through 8, and can weigh as much as 6 pounds. They are cut from the short plate, which is located underneath the prime rib and bookended by the brisket and the flank steak. They can be up to 12 inches in length. They need to be grilled or smoked low and slow for several hours, not unlike brisket. But trust me: Eating them is an excellent reason to get up in the morning. (Save one for breakfast? Why not?)

Beef Ribs

Meat this good, this primeval, requires simple seasonings—coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, and maybe a few hot red pepper flakes. Your favorite rub—one containing coffee—can be great, too. It’s the smoke that takes these ribs over the top.

Barbecue sauce? That would be your choice.

Big Bad Beef Ribs

Big Bad Beef Ribs

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