Trim the ribs so that there is no more ⅛-inch fat over the top.
Rinse them under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels.
Combine all the ingredients for the beef rub in a small bowl; stir with a whisk to mix to remove any clumps. Rub the spice rub onto the ribs on both sides, including the ends. (see notes)
#2 Fire Up The Smoker!
Preheat the smoker or grill set up for indirect heat to 225 to 250 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)
#3 Smoking the Beef Short Ribs
When the coals are ready to cook, place the seasoned ribs onto the hot grate and insert a temperature probe (if using).
Toss a couple wood chunks onto the hot coals; cover and allow the ribs to smoke.
When smoking meat, David makes heat adjustments by adjusting the vents on the smoker. Since there is heat loss from opening the lid to the smoker or grill, bring the temperature back up to 225 to 250 degrees F.
#4 Low and Slow
You will need to add fresh coals and more wood chunks almost every hour or so for at least the first 3 hours. Check the temperature of the smoker every hour, to ensure it is staying as close to 225 to 250 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid unless you need to add more charcoal or wood to maintain temperature and smoke.
#5 Testing For Doneness
Smoke the beef ribs until a dark “bark” (outside crust) forms and the internal temperature of the ribs is about 165 degrees F, about 4 hours. If you don’t use a probe thermometer, use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness.
When the beef ribs have reached 155 degrees F, remove them from the smoker or grill and wrap them in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Return the ribs to the smoker maintaining the ideal smoker temperature between 225 to 250 degrees F.
Holding helps tenderize the ribs and break down the collagen to melt the tough connective tissues of the rib.
The foil captures the natural au jus of the ribs which helps to braise the ribs in their own juices. This allows the surface of the ribs that have dried out during cooking to absorb some of the juices.
#7 Never Mind the Stall
The collagen starts to break down the internal temperature of the ribs at about 165 degrees F. This surface evaporation causes the ribs internal temperature to plateau. Pit Masters call this “the stall.” Don’t panic. Just wait out the stall. (see notes)
#8 Remove the Ribs & Serve
Continue to monitor the temperature of the ribs every 15 minutes or so. Carefully unwrap the foil and rewrap as to not lose any of that wonderful au jus in the bottom of the foil.
The ribs are done when they have reached internal temperature of 200 to 205 degrees F. At this point, remove the ribs from the grill and allow them to rest covered loosely by the foil so that some of the steam can escape for about 30 minutes before serving.
Dry Rub The Ribs:If you have time, wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and let them cure in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Smoking the ribs right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat better.The Importance of a Thermometer: Knowing the temperature inside your smoker or grill is crucial. Even if your smoker or grill has a temperature gauge, we still highly recommend that you purchase a digital BBQ thermometer such as Smoke™ from Thermoworks. Thermoworks thermometers are some of the most accurate thermometers money can buy. This particular model was designed for competition BBQ teams and professional chefs. It has a two-channel alarm that uses probes to accurately read the temperature of the meat and the pit.Smoke comes with a digital receiver that beeps and vibrates at with an alarm, taking all the guesswork out of smoking meat. The receiver displays temperatures and alarm settings on a large LCD screen, which comes in handy when it is cold outside. You won’t have to keep letting cold air come in the house running in and out to check the smoker so often.The Stall: On this particular cook the stall lasted about an hour, taking the total cook time of the ribs to about 6 hours. However, this could vary from rack to rack and grill to grill.
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