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BBQ Beef Short Ribs Rock!

Posted on: August 5th, 2014

Mention ribs and most folks immediately think of pork, but hey, cows have ribs too! BBQ beef ribs may not be as tender as pork, but they have a bigger and juicier flavor, a nice change of pace for the rib lover!  Pork ribs are often cooked ‘fall off the bone tender’ while beef ribs retain enough texture to satisfy those jaw muscles, every chew releasing that big juicy flavor that drives us beef lovers crazy!  Definitely a different eating experience, bbq beef ribs are a nice change of pace!

There are two wonderfully rich and delicious rib sections of beef; the Short Ribs are the most popular, lets take a closer look…

The Beef Short Rib

In many countries the Beef Short Rib is one of the most popular of all cuts, especially for grilling, but locally most folks only think about them in winter. Why? Generally speaking American’s focus on quick cooking boneless center cuts, while older food cultures tend to focus on less expensive cuts with big flavor. I like boneless and quick, but 4 out of 5 times big flavor wins out – and I expect a lot of y’all agree!
Whole Single Short Ribs of Beef

Whole Single Short Ribs of Beef

You’ve probably had braised or pot roasted short ribs in the winter, great stuff; but marinate and grill slowly and they’re even better (well, I think so). Marinating infuses this rich marbled cut with flavorful liquids that steam, braising and tenderizing as the ribs brown slowly. Beef Short Ribs can be cut a variety of ways! We can get you single whole ribs, cross cut Flanken ribs, or boneless center cuts. There are plenty of great ways to cook them, here’s what I suggest…

Thin Sliced Short Ribs

Start with Tony’s thinly sliced Boneless or Flanken Ribs. Note: Call ahead as we do not always have them in stock, but will gladly custom cut. Marinate for 2-12 hours in a Tony’s Marinade of your choosing; turning several times for even saturation. Other excellent options include East West Spicy Teriyaki or Busha Browne’s Jamaican Jerk Rub.

Tony's Boneless Short Ribs

Tony’s Boneless Short Ribs – Brilliant!

Light a dual temperature BBQ grill (very low heat on one side, lid closed, adjust between 250-300 degrees), or even better a Big Green Egg. Mist low temp side of grill with oil; add marinated ribs and BBQ as slowly as possible. When they start looking done, begin testing for tenderness with a little taste. Keep tasting and cooking until they’re as done as you like. Conditions can vary so much that I hate to not give a time, but it’s easier than it sounds.

Brush sauces and glazes on near the end of cooking time, keep and mind that they can burn quickly!  Once done to your taste, remove to a plate, cover and rest 5 minutes before serving.

Boneless Short Ribs with steamed asparagus and salt and pepper grill encrusted red potatoes.

Boneless Short Ribs with steamed asparagus and salt and pepper grill encrusted red potatoes.

Beef Flanken Ribs

Flanken cut ribs are thinly crosscut slabs of short ribs from the chuck, specifically from the top of the English roast. Don’t confuse them with ‘Cross Cut Ribs’, a vague term that only means they were cut across ribs. Terms do vary, but genuine Flanken have four small bones and lots of well marbled meat. Whereas cross cut ribs usually have larger and much flatter bones, less meat and more fat. Honestly, most butchers don’t know the difference because terms vary. Flanken (and cross cut) ribs are cooked just like the thin short ribs described above. The best Flanken I’ve ever had was from the chef at the Kauai Hilton, here is his Hawaiian Marinade and Recipe.
Two genuine Beef Flanken Ribs ready for our Carne Asada Marinade.

Two genuine Beef Flanken Ribs ready for our Carne Asada Marinade.

The same two Flanken ribs; marinated, slow BBQ'd and ready to glaze.

The same two Flanken ribs; marinated, slow BBQ’d and ready to glaze.

BBQ Whole Short Rib

This is another great option that I particularly love, but you don’t see it done often… Have our butcher get you whole single short ribs and then remove the bones, leaving a long rectangular chunk. Marinate overnight (I suggest our Santa Maria Marinade), rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours and bbq slowly as above, cooking to about 130° internal, glazing with sauce if desired.  Remove from heat, cover and rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain.These juicy rib / steaks turn out about medium rare and are to die for dipped in the Tony’s BBQ Sauce of your choice (sweet, bold or hot).  Or marinate in our Santa Maria, Teriyaki or Hawaiian and glaze with sweet Thai Chilli Sauce (Mae Ploy brand available in our markets). Again I hate to give times, but the slower they cook the better they will be.

All of our House Marinades are great with Beef Rib

Braised and Grilled Short Ribs

Thin, thick or whole slabs of short ribs can also be braised as you would spareribs (braised at 300° with liquid and a cover until tender, time depends on cut) and then finished on the grill. While this produces a more tender rib, they do shrink more and loose some of their juiciness and flavor.
Beef 'Baby Back' Slab Ribs seasoned

Beef ‘Baby Back’ Slab Ribs seasoned, rested to cool room temperature and ready to cook.


The same ribs after 60 minutes on the Big Green Egg; not quite done, look for the meat to inch up the bottom bones.

The same ribs after 60 minutes on the Big Green Egg; not quite done, look for the meat to inch up the bottom bones.

The Beef Baby Back Slab Ribs

These aren’t short ribs, but they’re so delicious I need to at least mention them here. Like the pork baby backs, beef back rib slabs are cut from the Prime Rib. The bones are much bigger than pork baby backs and the meat between the ribs is richer, juicier and more flavorful than pork, albeit chewier (which is not necessarily a bad thing!) Cooking is much the same as other ribs; I suggest braising about 90 minutes and finishing on the grill, or cook them low and slow on an indirect grill, Big Green Egg or smoker. More on Beef Baby Ribs in a future blog.

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A mixed grill with Flanken Short Ribs, Beef Baby Back Ribs and Tony’s Chicken Sausages.


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