Smoked beef ribs
Beef, Comfort Food, Smoked

Tender Smoked Beef Ribs

Big and beefy. Tender smoked beef ribs might just deliver the best beef taste of all. Not to mention how they conjure up dusty images of lean cowboys riding the range heading back to camp for some smokey campfire chow. Now you can smoke these on your own backyard pellet grill or smoker! Today we are going to smoke all three types of beef ribs. First, let’s explore the different types of beef ribs in more detail.

Beef Cuts

Raw beef back ribs

Back Ribs

A rack of back ribs is often available in your supermarket meat case. These ribs are what remain after the butcher removes the prime rib roast. Unfortunately, these ribs do not have much meat left on them – once they are smoked they will be tasty enough but you may be left wanting more.

The Butcher

This is where it pays to develop a relationship with a good butcher. Ask him for a bone-in prime rib roast. Then request that he remove the prime rib roast while leaving a few extra inches of meat on the ribs. Now you have a beautiful prime rib roast for Sunday dinner and some big, meaty back ribs ready for the smoker. 

Raw beef chuck short ribs

Chuck Short Ribs

The trendy favorite of the group. Bone-in or boneless this cut has become the restaurant chef’s favorite in recent years. Braising is a popular way to prepare this cut and we now see braised short ribs on every second menu in town. Short ribs are cut from the chuck section and need a long cook time – like braising or smoking – to soften the meat. Done right, the flavor will be exceptional. Short ribs get the rich marbling of a rib steak with the deep beefy flavor of a chuck roast. 

Raw beef plate short ribs

Plate Short Ribs

Depending upon your butcher, these ribs are sometimes known as “Brontasauras” ribs or “Dino” ribs because they are the heaviest and meatiest ribs. These are an excellent choice for smoking thanks to the substantial layer of meat covering these bones. Unfortunately, these are not often readily available in your supermarket meat case. Once again, getting to know a good butcher who can order these for you is the best approach. Smoke these once and these ribs might change your life. You will find the smokey meat on these ribs to be similar in texture to beef brisket.

Raw Beef Country Style Ribs

Country Style Ribs

And finally, we have the trim cuts that butchers called Country Style for lack of a better name. These boneless “ribs” are actually strips of meat sliced from the chuck roast and are an excellent choice for Asian stir-fry dishes or beef fajitas.

Smoking Tips

Consider using a smoking pan and rack to catch the drippings to reduce the mess in your smoker. It makes clean up much easier. You will also need an instant-read thermometer to ensure you are cooking your tender smoked beef ribs to exactly the right temperature. This is not just about getting the doneness right, it is also about food safety as well.

Looking for a sweet ending to your SmokeyGood main course? How about some Smoked Cinnamon Apple Crisp!?

Smoked Beef Ribs (3 types)

Recipe by SmokeyGoodCourse: MainCuisine: ComfortDifficulty: Medium
Dry Brine


Cook Time


Smoker Temp.


degrees F
Internal Meat Temp.


degrees F

All cooking times are approximate. Please use your instant-read thermometer and the internal temperature target as your guide.

ingredients and supplies

  • Ingredients
  • 1 rack beef back ribs

  • 1 rack chuck short ribs

  • 1 rack plate short ribs (fat cap trimmed or removed)

  • Kosher salt

  • Garlic powder

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Supplies
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray

  • Smoking pan and rack

  • Oak wood pellets


  • Trim.
    The back ribs and chuck short ribs will not likely need any trimming but the plate short ribs will come with a fat cap that should be trimmed off. Using a sharp knife just trim in layers until you reach the depth of the meat. If possible try to trim off the silver skin as well.
  • Dry brine / season.
    Dry brine the ribs with an ample coating of kosher salt followed by an even sprinkle of garlic powder. Finish by grinding on a healthy layer of fresh ground black pepper. To help all of these seasonings adhere to the surface of the meat a coating of oil will help. I like to spray mine with pan spray to deliver a quick and easy oil coating before seasoning. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  • Smoke.
    Preheat the smoker to 250 F | 121 C. Our target internal temperature for this cook to achieve a tender result will be 200 F | 93 C. The chuck short ribs and the back ribs will cook in approximately 5 hours while the heavier plate short ribs will be on the smoker for around 7 hours.

Recipe Video


  • Please keep in mind that cooking times will vary with many variables at play.

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