These barbecue beef ribs are easy to make in the oven or the grill. They take minimal effort yet taste like they were slowly tended on the pit all day.
Barbecue beef ribs such as these tend to be infallibly rich and exceptionally tender. The only thing they could conceivably be accused of lacking is robustness, which is a typical trade-off in terms of cuts of beef—tough cuts tend to be remarkably robust in taste while the supple cuts that make you go wobbly in the knees seem to be just a touch bereft of beefiness. Which means beef ribs benefit from the added depth and complexity of some sort of barbecue sauce, explains author Nolan Ryan. The masterful and mellifluous barbecue sauce that you want to slather on these barbecue beef ribs melds sweet brown sugar with spicy cayenne with smooth bourbon. The ribs themselves are easy as can be, taking minimal effort yet tasting as if they were slowly tended all day on the pit. This recipe has been updated. Originally published August 12, 2015.–Renee Schettler Rosi
Barbecue Beef Ribs Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 D, 3 H
- Serves 4 to 6
- For the barbecue beef ribs
- 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 4 pounds beef ribs
- For the barbecue sauce
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 cup barbecue sauce of your choice
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Prepare the barbecue beef ribs
- 1. Mix all the seasonings in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over both sides of the beef ribs. Place the ribs in a roasting pan, cover with foil, and stash it in the fridge overnight.
- 2. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
- 3. Take the pan of ribs out of the fridge, uncover, and add enough water to the roasting pan to cover the ribs. Tightly cover the pan with the foil again and slide the pan back in the oven. Cook the ribs for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover the ribs and spoon the liquid in the roasting pan over the ribs. Cover the pan with the foil again, put the ribs back in the oven, cover, and cook for 1 to 2 more hours, depending on just how tender you like your ribs.
- Make the barbecue sauce
- 4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the bourbon and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, 2 to 5 minutes.
- 5. Stir in the barbecue sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, mustard, and cayenne and gently simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
- Finish the barbecue beef ribs
- 6. If using the grill, preheat it to medium and lightly oil the grill grates. Remove the ribs from the oven and pour off the liquid. Baste the ribs with 2 cups barbecue sauce. Using tongs, transfer the ribs to the grill (working in batches, if necessary) and cook for 10 minutes, turning once. This will ensure that the ribs have a nice crust and smoke-infused flavor.
If using the oven, crank it up to 400°F (204°C). Remove the ribs from the oven, pour off the liquid, and return the ribs to the pan. Baste the ribs with 2 cups barbecue sauce. Slide the pan in the oven for 10 minutes, turning the ribs once.
- 7. Pile the ribs on a platter and dump the remaining barbecue sauce in a bowl and pass it on the side.
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