The Perfect Bark: Turning Prime Beef Short Ribs into BBQ Gold

Prime Beef Short Ribs

All our blogs [newsletters] are special, but today’s is exceptional! It brings together two of the industry people I most respect: Pat Lafrieda and Steve Nestor. Pat is a 4th generation New York meat purveyor whose steaks and chops turn up at the top restaurants in Manhattan and across the country. No trip to the Mets Stadium is complete without one of his steak sandwiches, and he even had a reality show, Meat Men, on the Food Network.

As for Steve Nestor, he needs no introduction to this barbecue community. You’ve seen him on my Project Fire TV shows, and you’ve worked with him at Barbecue University. Steve runs the test kitchen, and you’ve surely read his informative, entertaining blogs on this website. This week, Steve focuses on short ribs, and if you crave smoky beefy goodness, you’ll definitely want to read what follows.

Steven Raichlen

“Where your food comes from matters as much as how you smoke or grill it,” says our fearless leader, Steven Raichlen. That statement is definitely true today as I introduce Planet Barbecue to Pat Lafrieda’s short ribs. I recently received a six-pack of their Prime Beef Short Ribs. Each bone measured five inches long, three inches wide and weighing a generous sixteen ounces. The marbling of fat in the ribs was obvious. I could not wait to cook these ribs.

Pat Lafrieda Meat Purveyors brings the best of fresh, All-American raised-and-grazed meats to your table. From Prime steaks to heritage pork breed, and more, they offer the top cuts of protein the nation has to offer. They provide their customers with the highest quality ingredients by sourcing from small domestic farm partners across the country with all-natural, organic, pasture raised, or grass-fed options.

Prime Beef Short Ribs

Source you next special event with products from Pat LaFrieda’s and your guests will feel like they are eating at a five-star restaurant.

Prime Beef Short Ribs

I decided that the best way to cook these Prime Beef Short Ribs, doing justice to their rich natural beef flavor was to smoke them. I started by painting them with Dijon mustard to help the seasoning stick to the meat. Next, I seasoned the Prime beef short ribs with kosher salt and sixteen mesh black pepper. I mix equal parts Kosher salt and sixteen mesh black pepper and keep it in a shaker. The shaker makes it easier to season larger pieces of meat like brisket, pork butt, or these impressive looking beef short ribs.

Prime Beef Short Ribs

While preheating my pellet smoker, I allowed the prime beef short ribs to reach room temperature. I selected my pellet smoker since it allows for consistent temperature, consistent smoke, and minimal supervision. I was planning seven to eight hours cooking time for the short ribs and did not want to have to keep loading wood or charcoal into a grill or smoker. Once the pellet smoker reached 225 degrees, I loaded the ribs in the smoker. I placed two foil pans under the ribs to catch any dripping fat and minimize clean up. I clean my pellet smoker after every use since residual fat or a clogged auger can cause a fire and ruin a cook.

Prime Beef Short Ribs

After three hours of smoking at 225 degrees, I opened the smoker to inspect the short ribs. At this stage, they had a nice bark, so I upped the temperature to 250 degrees. The short ribs continued cooking for an additional four and half hours. While they smoked, I sprayed the ribs with apple cider vinegar to keep the meat from drying out.

The Results

I removed the Prime beef ribs from the smoker when they reached 200 degrees. I let them rest on a wire rack over a sheet pan. After resting the short ribs, I sliced the meat off the bone, but it would have come off just by pulling it off with my fingers. I served them with mashed potatoes, and cumin spiced carrots. Wow!

Prime Beef Short Ribs

The ribs developed a dark savory bark on the outside. The inside was so tender, I felt like I was slicing mini briskets. The smoke ring was prominent and colorful. The crisp flavorful bark and succulent meat created a wondrous contrast of textures. The fat rendered due to the length of the cook and the low temperature of the smoker. Each bite had the perfect balance of salt and pepper. Even my wife who is not a huge fan of ribs or brisket said, “these beef ribs are delicious!” The mashed potato and spiced carrots rounded out a great Sunday Suppah.

Prime Beef Short Ribs

Prime Beef Short Ribs

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Thanks to Pat LaFreida’s for sending me the Prime beef short ribs. These will be on the repeat list at my house. I am looking forward to sampling more of their glorious meat products.

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