Hickory Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Hickory Smoked Beef Short Ribs

These amazing Hickory Smoked Beef Short Ribs were cooked (almost) to perfection using my brad new 47cm Smokey Mountain Cooker from Weber. Trust me, if I can pull these off first time around you surely can. The recipe is super simple and prep time minimal, the hardest part was finding the right cut of meat that didn’t cost me a fortune.

It pays to find a butcher who does all their cutting in-house. I have an amazing Afghan butcher around the corner, and it was a real treat getting to watch the brothers drag a half a cow out of the cold room and cut the ribs exactly to my instruction. Even better was walking away with almost 6kg of potential mouth watering deliciousness for under $80!

Low and slow BBQing is something new to me and after managing to incinerate 4 beautiful King Henry’s on Christmas day in less than 3 minutes I was totally petrified about managing a 8-9 hour cook on a new BBQ. After a bit of guidance from the brother-in-law and leap of faith I decided to jump in with 5.5kg of beef for my first solo cook – Hickory Smoked Beef Short Ribs.

Setting up the coals is still something of a mystery, and will take me some time to refine the best methods and amounts. I used around 1/4 of the bag of Weber BBQ Brickettes around the outer edge of the coal basket and poured in the hot coals from the Rapid Fire Chimney starter once they were glowing red. I nudged the unburnt coals in to touch the glowing ones, put the top on and waited… and waited. I found it a struggle getting up to 250F and decided to start my cook when I hit 210F about 90 minutes in. maybe I’m still a bit green and impatient or maybe I’m doing it wrong, time will tell!

I used the wait time to get my rub together and applied to the beef short ribs. It also gave me a time to get some pretty juicy shots of the meat before getting it on the BBQ. Food photography is a passion of mine, and what a great subject to shoot.

The rub recipe:

  • 2Tbs Coarsely Ground Rock Salt
  • 1Tbs Garlic Salt
  • 2Tbs White Sugar
  • 3Tbs Coarsely Ground Pepper (Mix of Black, Green and Red)
  • 3Tbs Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tbs Coarsely Ground Dried Chilli
  • 1 Tbs Red Paprika

The cook:

  • Target Temperature for smoke 250F
  • Target Temperature for meat 200F

The Smoke:

  • Hickory wood, smaller chips applied 3 times in the first hour and once very 45 minutes there after

Getting the smoke right is also going to get some getting used to, and although having smaller chips generate a lot of smoke I think the taste of the hickory was outweighed by the general smoke flavour. I am looking forward to using larger chunks of wood, in the hope that I get less white smoke and more of that really yummy smelling thin smoke.

Cook time for Hickory Smoked Beef Short Ribs:

  • 8-9 hours, inserting the iGrill 2 probes 6 hours in

For me was almost spot on 9 hours, and both racks of ribs hit their target cook temperature within 10 minutes of each other. The first three hours the thermometer sat around 220F and it wasn’t until I cranked out a little portable fan and pointed it straight into one of the bottom vents that I got the needle sitting up around 240 for the next 3 hours or so. I honestly LOVE the iGrill 2 system, these things are a god send and a must for anyone in the low-and-slow game. Knowing that you can have hit your target heat to have well cooked meat leaves nothing to chance.

Trouble shooting:

Keeping temperature regulated was really quite easy for bulk of the cook, I had more trouble keeping the temp close to 250 than seeking it below. Every time the temp started to fall a little I’d throw a half a dozen new coals into the middle and bang a little of the ash off the burning ones, within 10 minutes it would be back on track. The end of the cook was tricky, as the coals burn out from the centre of the coal basked to the outer edge, the amount of coals burning increases, 8 hours in, and 6 degrees away from my target temp the temperature of the BBQ suddenly jumped up to 320! This was not a good thing, as I had decided to sneak in my evening 5km run and was 2km away when my wife gave me the call. I had her close down all the vents, leaving only the top one partially open and ran home as quick as I could. In the end I had to use the long tongs to remove almost all of the coals fro the basked to bring the temp back down.

All in all I had a fantastic time cooking these Hickory Smoked Beef Short Ribs and an even better time eating them with friends and family.