Smoked Short Ribs (Recipe)

smoked short ribs recipe

If you get them right, beef short ribs are beautifully tender and delicious, and pack in a rich beef flavor that’s different to any other type of rib.

It might not be your favorite beef brisket, these are a close second.

But what makes them stand apart from other cuts of smoked beef is just how easy these are to rustle up.

Requiring only salt, BBQ sauce, and beef rub, cooking them from start to finish couldn’t be easier.

Today I’ll walk you through the entire process, and give you some easy tips to make sure you’re all set to make the best BBQ short ribs possible.

From dry brining to smoking woods, I’ve got it all covered. So let’s get into it!

smoked bbef short ribs fresh off the grill

While in an ideal world you would dry brine them every time, if you are up against the clock and doing things last minute then you can skip this step. But I urge you to do if possible, as it’s a way to guarantee that your ribs are as tender and juicy as possible.

The BBQ sauce is a great way to add flavor, but it also acts as a binding agent to help the BBQ rub to adhere to the ribs while they cook.

short ribs braised with bbq sauce placed on smoker grill grates

A lot of people also use sriracha, Worcestershire sauce or mustard. These are all great and will depend on your own personal preference, but for me nothing matches the flavors of the beef and the rub as well as barbecue sauce does.

When you place your ribs on your grill or smoker grates, try to do so with the bone-side facing down. This will help shield the ribs from direct exposure to heat, and allow the whole cut of meat to cook slowly.

If you don’t have a smoker, a charcoal grill is just as good. Just be sure to set it up for indirect grilling in order to enable a low and slow cook.

raw beef short ribs for smoking

It’s easy to be confused when buying beef short ribs, largely because of the different ways that butchers tend to sell them.

The name itself can be confusing too. ‘Short’ ribs aren’t actually particularly short in length when cut from the cow, but do tend to be served shorter when they make their way onto your plate.

What’s the best wood for smoking beef short ribs?

Like with a lot of smoked beef, woods that give an earthy and deep flavor tend to be best.

I like to pair woods like oak or hickory, but also sweeter woods like cherry or pecan are also great.

smoked short ribs recipe 5
smoked short ribs recipe 5
5 from 2 votes

Smoked BBQ Short Ribs

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, BBQ
Prep Time 10 hours
Dry brining 1 hour
Total Time 11 hours


  • 6 beef short ribs in sections or whole rack
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • beef BBQ rub


  • Dry brine ribs by applying kosher salt over across the surface of the ribs. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to brine for at least one hour, ideally overnight.
  • Remove ribs from refrigerator and pat down to remove excess salt.
  • Apply hot sauce across top of ribs. Apply beef rub over hot sauce.
  • Smoke at 250°F until internal temperature reaches 200°F. Usually between 6-8 hours.
  • Remove from smoker. Wrap in foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

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