These barbecued beef back ribs are easy to make. Just coat with a sweetly spicy rub and then slooooooowly cook them to tender terrificness. Here’s how to make them.
Adapted from Ray Lampe | Ribs, Chops, Steaks, & Wings | Chronicle Books, 2010
You’ll usually see beef back ribs in 4-to-6 bone pieces and they typically don’t have much meat on them. They’re usually pretty cheap, and that’s a good thing because, like I said, there just isn’t much meat on them. The meat needs a lot of cooking to make it tender, but when it’s cooked right, it’s really good meat, so it’s worth the effort. Wrapping these in foil is essential to get them tender. If you’re the adventurous type, add a half cup of strong coffee to the package when you wrap the ribs. I think you’ll find it to be a pleasant surprise. These would go very well served with baked beans and potato salad. –Ray Lampe
Barbecued Beef Back Ribs
For the rub
- 3/4 cup raw or turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup salt or more, depending on your tolerance for the stuff (up to 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 2 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
For the ribs
- 5 pounds beef back ribs*
- 2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce
Make the rub
- Combine all the ingredients. Mix well and take a taste. If it needs more salt, shake some in. The rub can be stored in an airtight container for up to several weeks. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Prepare the ribs
- Peel the membrane off the back side of the ribs and discard it. (It tends to be sort of slippery. If you have a hard time getting a grip, try sliding a bowl-side down spoon under there to loosen up a piece, then grab it with a paper towel and see if that helps.) Season the ribs liberally on both sides with some of the rub.
- Prepare the grill for cooking over indirect heat at 250° F (121°C) using oak or hickory wood. Place the ribs, meaty side up, directly on the grill grate. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, maintaining the temperature of the grill as steady as possible.
- Flip the ribs and cook for 30 minutes more.
- Place a double layer of some big sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil next to the grill and place the ribs on the foil, meaty-side up. Wrap the ribs, sealing the package tightly. Place the foil-wrapped ribs on the grill for 1 hour. (Wrapping the ribs in foil is essential to get them tender so don't omit this step. If you're planning to add that half cup of strongly brewed coffee to the ribs, this is the time to do it.)
- Move the foil-wrapped ribs to a platter. Increase the temperature of the grill to 400°F (204°C). Remove the ribs from the foil, place them on the grill grate, and brush with the barbecue sauce. Cook for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how charred you like your ribs.
- Flip the ribs, brush with the sauce again, and cook for 5 to 15 minutes more.
- Place the ribs on a platter and serve with additional barbecue sauce, preferably warm, on the side.
*What are beef back ribs?Beef back ribs are what is left once a butcher removes the prime rib and ribeye steaks. There isn’t a lot of beef left at the top of the bones but what’s left between those ribs is meaty, fatty, and deliciously tender. They also have the very same marbling and flavor as prime rib and ribeye, so you really can’t go wrong. You’ll often see them in abundance around Christmas and New Year’s when people are buying a lot of rib roasts. Typically, a rack of ribs comes in either 4- to 6 or 8- to 12- chunks. You’ll need at least 2 to 3 ribs per person.
Originally published August 30, 2010