Texas BBQ Beef Ribs

July 8, 2011

So far this summer I have only barbecued pork ribs, but these beef ribs looked fantastic on Cook’s Country. They turned out wonderful and were no more work than any other low-and-slow BBQ. The homemade sauce is made like any other on the stovetop, but is not applied during cooking.

Everything's bigger in Texas; huge compared to pork ribs.

The result is a solid 4-star; these are delicious. I love the flavor of nicely barbecued beef. My supermarket usually sells bone-in beef ribs for $5/lb, but these were only $3. Chris Kimball recommends “us[ing] beef ribs with a decent amount of meat, not bony scraps.” Of course that is easier said than done, because my butchers don’t leave much meat. It’s just a case of butchers maximizing profits, as they can sell boneless cuts for a lot more than $2.99/lb.


  1. I discovered last year that I don’t like adobo sauce, so I substituted a plain jalapenos. Because I used a fresh jalapeno, I sauteed it with the onion. The chipotle chile is added with the tomato juice.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $14 for 4 pounds of ribs.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 2:30 PM. Finish time 6:30 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

For the Barbecue Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small onion
1 medium clove garlic, pressed
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cups tomato juice
3/4 cup white vinegar (1/4-cup of which is saved to the end)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 teaspoon chipotle chile in adobo (I substituted 1 jalapenos)
2 tablespoons molasses
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

  1. In a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder and 1 tablespoon water; mix to form a paste. Mince half an onion, which should yield about 1/4 cup. Mince your chile (with or without adobo sauce).
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When butter is foaming; sautee onion for 2 to 3 minutes. Use a garlic press and add garlic directly into saucepan; also add the 1-1/2 teaspoons of chili powder. Stir and cook for 20 seconds.
  3. Add 2 cups of tomato juice, 1/2 cup white vinegar (leave the remaining 1/4 cup for later), Worcestershire sauce, the prepared mustard paste, minced chile, molasses, and salt to the sauce pan. Increase to high heat and bring to simmer. After you’ve reached a simmer, reduce to medium heat. Continue simmering for 40 minutes until sauce has thickened and has reduced to 1-1/2 cups.
  4. Remove from heat and add pepper and 1/4 cup of white vinegar.
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

For the Ribs:
4 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons table salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
5-lbs beef rib,  between 3 to 4 ribs per slab

  1. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Evenly rub the mixture into all sides of ribs. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, take 2 large chunks of wood, and submerge in water for 1 hour. You can put a plate on top of wood chunks to keep them submerged.
  3. Open bottom grill vents completely. Light a chimney starter about one-third with full (about 30 briquettes). Allow to burn for 15 minutes until they are covered with thin gray ash.
  4. Remove wood chunks from water, empty charcoal against one side of grill and place 1 wood chunk on top of coals. Replace grill grate and adjust lid vents two-thirds open.
  5. Place ribs with meat-side down on the cool side of grill. Cover so that the vents are directly above ribs. If desired, you can check the temperature through a grill vent and it should be about 300 degrees. Cook for 1 hour (the grill temperature should now be 250 degrees).
  6. After 45 minutes, light another 30 briquettes in chimney starter and allow 15 minutes for it to become covered with a fine grey ash. Carefully set aside the cooking grate, add charcoal to the hot side of the grill and add the second wood chunk.
  7. Replace cooking grill and flip ribs so that the meat-side is now up;  rotating so that the edge once closest to coals is now farthest away. Again cover grill, positioning lid so that vents are above ribs and cook for another 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.  The ribs are ready when a fork can be inserted into and removed from meat with little resistance.
  8. Let ribs rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes, then slice between the bones to separate into individual ribs. Serve the sauce separately.

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