How to Smoke Beef Back Ribs

Smoked Beef Ribs

How to Smoke Beef Back Ribs

Beef back ribs are pretty easy to find but usually don’t have much meat on them.  Most of the meat on beef back ribs is carved off and sold as steak.  That’s okay…there’s still plenty of meat between those bones!

Here is how I smoke beef back ribs on my Weber charcoal grill.

Beef Back Ribs

Beef Back Ribs

Prepare the Ribs

There are two membranes on the bone side of the ribs.

I always take the first membrane off but the second membrane is right over the bones and can’t be removed.

I like to take the membrane, which never gets tender, off so the bone side can soak up some smoke.  I have seen some people that like to keep the membrane on because it holds in some of the fat that renders out of the ribs.

Beef Back Rib Membrane

After the membrane is off it is time to season the ribs with a dry rub.

Dry Rub for Beef Ribs

  • 1/2 cup seasoned salt
  • 1/2 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Accent (msg, optional)

You can use a binder like a mustard slather to help the rub adhere but I just sprinkle the rub directly onto the meat.  You don’t need a lot of seasoning for beef ribs.  Here is what mine looked like before they hit the smoke.

Seasoned Beef Back Ribs

Prepare the Grill

If you are using a Traeger, Pitt Boss, Z Grills or any other type of pellet grill then set the grill to 225F and use hickory pellets for smoke.

I was cooking on a Weber kettle so I set it up for indirect heat.  The indirect setup uses charcoal banked on one side of the grill with the meat placed on the opposite side.  By keeping the top vent open and the bottom vent about 75% closed you can get the grate temperature at around 225-250F.

When you are smoking beef ribs you shouldn’t get too hooked up on exact details…think of the overall process.  You want to add some smoke and you want to get them tender.  There is no “Magic Temperature” you need to shoot for.

The Cook

I smoked these ribs with a few chunks of hickory at ~230F for five hours to get some nice smoke and color.  You could go for four hours or smoke a little hotter. No big deal.

After five hours I wrapped them in heavy duty aluminum foil with a quarter cup of apple juice and put them back on the grill at 230F for another two hours.  This is the step to get them tender.

Meathead has a post on smoking beef ribs and advises against wrapping in foil.  I love Meathead but I wrap them anyways!

The ribs are done when the meat has pulled back from the bone by about two inches and a toothpick can slide through the meat like butter.

Smoked Beef Ribs

Back ribs are always fun to cook and small amazing when they come off the pit.  Give them a try sometime!

Smoked Beef Ribs

Smoked Beef Back Ribs

Beef Back Ribs are seasoned with a dry rub and smoked Low and Slow with hickory. After several hours in the smoke the ribs are wrapped in foil and cooked until probe tender.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 425 kcal


  • 1/2 cup seasoned salt Morton's or Lawry's
  • 1/2 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Accent msg, optional
  • 1 slab beef back ribs about 4 lbs


  • Remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs
  • Combine all of the dry rub ingredients
  • Liberally season the ribs with the dry rub
  • Smoke at 225-250F for 4-5 hours until the rub has set and the ribs have a nice color.
  • Tightly wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and cook for two more hours or until the meat is probe tender.
Keyword Smoked Beef Back Ribs

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