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First time short ribs. Tips?

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    First time short ribs. Tips?

    Unless my son's High School hockey team (FYI - he doesn't play hockey) is playing in the state championship Saturday night I will be smoking beef short ribs for the first time.

    I read Meathead's article about them in the "Tested Recipes" section and they seem pretty straightforward to smoke.

    This is how I will prepare them:

    I will dry brine them a day in advance. The local grocery store sells them already cut into individual ribs, which is convenient. 4 adults and 4 children will be dining on these ribs so I will most likely use my mini WSM. I'll lightly oil them and will apply the rub when I start the fire. I'll use Kingsford Blue with a small pecan chunk and a small amount of mesquite and cherry chips. I will fill the pan with water. I'll cook them at 225 for as long as it takes to hit 200 internal. I am going to take a small amount of KC sauce and mix it with some beef broth. When the ribs hit 190 I will lightly sauce them.

    The question I have is should they rest after cooking? If so, in a cambro, just a foil wrap or not covered at all? If they should rest, for how long?

    Answers to those questions as well as any other tips/advice will be greatly appreciated.

    #2
    I would recommend holding off saucing until closer to the very end. You could risk the sauce over caramelizing or charring by the time they get from 190 to 200. You could be ok but it's a risk.

    I treat beef ribs like little briskets. When they hit the final temp, I like to hold them there. I wrap mine when they get toward the stall. Since yours are singles they may not stall, there may be enough surface area that they'll skip it and cook quickly. But, you still need time for that collagen and fat inside to melt and soften or they will be tough suckers. Wrap them and hold them either on your smoker at 170-180 (after they hit final temp of course) for a couple hrs or in a faux cambro the same amount of time.

    Beware using too much smoke on beef, especially mesquite. If you're open to suggestions on that topic, I would advise you skip the mesquite altogether or you may risk them tasting more like strong jerky. Pecan and cherry will suit them beautifully IMO.

    Comment


    • Strat50
      Strat50 commented
      Editing a comment
      I love mesquite, but it is a fickle mistress, isn't it? For long cooks, I use it sparingly either to start or to finish the cook. I've found excess smoke on beef to be unpalatable too. Less is more here, in my opinion.

    • David Parrish
      David Parrish commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree Strat. I think heavy smoke is good on brisket and to a lesser extent short ribs and chuck roast, but otherwise when it comes to beef a little smoke goes a loooong way.

    #3
    Thanks for the advice, Huskee. I will skip the mesquite (why take the risk) and will wait closer to the end to sauce them (I like your reasoning). I'll do a cambro for a couple of hours as well, which means I'll have to start my cook a little earlier, which I am fine with.

    For the brisket I smoked last summer I used pecan, cherry and a little mesquite. But short ribs, especially when they are cut individually, have a lot more surface area so skipping the mesquite just makes sense.

    Thanks again.

    Comment


      #4
      I am having some second thoughts on the sauce. KC and beef broth still seems a bit too sweet to me for beef. I keep thinking about A-1 sauce and how it pairs with beef. I am thinking of a real basic sauce. Worcestershire, beef broth and homemade hot sauce and have it thickened a bit with some tomato paste. Maybe throw in a little anchovy paste. I think that will complement the beef better than a KC and beef broth sauce.

      Comment


      • jmott7
        jmott7 commented
        Editing a comment
        I'd bypass the sweet sauce, too. Really, I'm with Ernest. I'd probably skip the sauce altogether. These should be pretty savory with just salt and pepper. Maybe a little garlic powder.

      #5
      Here's a thought...

      My first beef ribs were single bone, too. They didn't stay upright (with the bone down ) during the entire cook. They leaned over to the side. My solution for the next round of single ribs would be to run a skewer through them to keep them bone down during the entire cook.

      Let me know if you want any stats from my cooking log.

      HTH,

      --Ed

      Comment


        #6
        That's interesting. I don't think falling over will be a problem considering I will be using the 14.5 WSM to feed 8 people. They will be packed in kind of tight. My concern is over-crowding.

        Regardless, I will happily read your stats. I have never cooked these before and am eager to absorb knowledge.

        Thank you.

        Comment


          #7
          Try this link... this is MH's cooking log in excel format. Modified it to record Elapsed Time, Vent Positions, etc.

          https://www.dropbox.com/s/r6qvth3mwa...0815.xlsx?dl=0

          The cook alone was 5 hr 35 min.

          You'll see that it ran a little hot, but I later discovered that at some point the temp probe is sitting directly above lit coals in the fuse. I'm still learning how to use the vents to better control the temp and keep it closer to 225.

          Towards the end, I just wanted the meat to get done! - LOL!
          Click image for larger version

Name:	Beef_Short_Ribs_020815.JPG
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          --Ed
          Last edited by Medusa; March 13, 2015, 02:26 AM.

          Comment


            #8
            Season with salt (at least a day in advance), pepper, oak wood, 220-250. let em go. No wrapping or sauce. That WSM 14.5 was made for short ribs singles.



            Comment


              #9
              JeffJ it's hard to give advice on the sauce. Tastes in sauce are so subjective and varied. I don't use sauce on my smoked beef, or ribs much either, mostly just chicken. But if I did I'd use a vinegar-heavy KC-style sauce since that's my personal favorite. I do know mustard is great on beef, so perhaps a Carolina mustard style (or I even mix KC and Carolina mustard 50/50 and love it, I call it Michigan-style lol).

              Meathead's Big Bad Beef Rub is excellent on anything beef- whether brisket, ribs or chucks roasts et al. But as others above have mentioned, there's nothing wrong with the black & white.

              Comment


              • JeffJ
                JeffJ commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks for the tips. I'll concoct some kind of sauce but it will be relatively thin and I will apply it lightly. I am just looking for a slight boost in flavor, a little added complexity. The tenderness of the meat, the big beef flavor and the smoke should be the centerpiece. When I sauce pulled pork (after it's been pulled) I do it pretty lightly as well.

              • Medusa
                Medusa commented
                Editing a comment
                Agree that MHBBBR is KA!

              #10
              Great pics Ernest and Medusa. Thanks for all of the information. I am not doing them on Saturday but will do them Sunday morning instead and will take them (along with homemade french onion soup) to my in-laws.

              I will take pictures and share some brief thoughts on this page after we've consumed them.

              Comment


              • Medusa
                Medusa commented
                Editing a comment
                ... to my in-laws

                Do you have plans for Faux Cambro for keeping the meat warm? Great article on this site and it really, really works!

              • Medusa
                Medusa commented
                Editing a comment
                And consume you will! We only had the 6 ribs between #1 and myself and suddenly they were gone!

                I don't think you can go wrong with all of the info here, but make sure you add in the time it takes to light up the coals, bring the cooker up to temp, any unforseen surprises, blah, blah, blah.

                I started at 10:43 AM and hit the IT of 203 @ 5:50 PM. I always time how long it takes to hit the target temp, and then let the cooker go above for awhile to compensate heat loss when I place the meat, wood, etc. 1 hr 27 min before I was ready to start the cook.

                The other thing I've seen consistently: You can drop the cooker temp 100 degrees, and it only takes a few minutes to get back up to the target and go beyond.

                HTH,

                --Ed

              • JeffJ
                JeffJ commented
                Editing a comment
                I am going to use a faux cambro. I put them in at 8:30 this morning and now 5 hours into the cook they are at 190. The cooker was pretty much pegged at 225 although it spent a little time at 232. Due to our plans for today I want to lightly sauce them at 2:00 and take them out at 2:30 (dinner is at 5). I had the top vent open all of the way and the bottom vents were 3/4 - 7/8 open. I just opened them all of the way because the climb from 189-190 (1 degree) seemed to take forever. Maybe if I can push the temps up a bit I can at least hit 195 (which would be my minimum) by the time I want to sauce.

                I will do a full write up with pictures on the "what are you cooking today" thread.

              #11
              I have another question: How many single ribs should I purchase per person? It will be 6 adults and 2 children (14 and 11)?

              We'll have the soup and a salad alongside the ribs.

              Based on Ernest's pictures it looks like I could probably squeeze up to 8 per rack which would translate to 2 ribs per person. Although I am guessing my youngest son would probably only eat one rib and my sister in law is on this crazy diet where she's only eating green vegetables so 16 might be a bit much.
              Last edited by JeffJ; March 13, 2015, 01:51 PM.

              Comment


                #12
                When I take food to my in-laws I make sure I don't run out. LOL I can always bring the left overs home.

                Comment


                  #13
                  JeffJ depending on how meaty they are, do 2 per person. Or after they are done, take em off the bone and slice em.

                  Comment


                    #14
                    2 per person it will be, then. I like Guy's advice - bring more than enough.

                    Thanks, all. This information has been very helpful.

                    Comment


                      #15
                      JeffJ I haven't tried any wood other than whiskey barrel oak on my short ribs, but another option for you for the wood. Going to have to try cherry one of these days.

                      Comment


                      • JeffJ
                        JeffJ commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I've only used cherry once and it was on a brisket I did last summer. It was more assertive than I thought it would be but it was not over-powering and it certainly wasn't rancid in any way. What was weird was I also used a little pecan and a little mesquite but I didn't find either one to even be detectable (Cherry was at the bottom so it was the last to create smoke which is stranger yet given most of the smoke adhesion occurs at the beginning of the cook). However, by the time we finally got around to the brisket I had been drinking beer for 8 consecutive hours so I may not have noticed some of the nuance of the cook.

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