Barbecued Beef Back Ribs

These barbecued beef back ribs are easy to make. Just coat with a sweetly spicy rub and then slooooooowly cook them to tender terrificness. Here’s how to make them.

Barbecued Beef Back Ribs

These barbecued beef back ribs are tender and meaty and slightly spicy and they’re gonna make you the envy of the neighborhood.  Originally published August 30, 2010.Renee Schettler Rossi

What Are Beef Back Ribs?

Beef back ribs are the bones that the rib roast or rib eye steaks come off of and they typically don’t have much meat on them. You’ll often see them in abundance around Christmas and New Year’s when people are buying a lot of rib roasts. They’re usually pretty cheap, and that’s a good thing because there just isn’t much meat on them. And the meat needs a lot of cooking to make it tender. But when it’s cooked according to the technique below, it’s tremendously magnificent meat. Beef back ribs typically come in 4- to 6-rib chunks. You’ll need at least 2 to 3 ribs per person.

Barbecued Beef Back Ribs

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 4 H, 35 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 6 reviews
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  • For the rub
  • 3/4 cup raw or turbinado sugar, such as Sugar In The Raw
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup salt, depending on your tolerance for the stuff
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • For the ribs
  • 5 pounds beef back ribs*
  • 2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce


  • Make the rub
  • 1. Combine all the ingredients. Mix well and take a taste. If it needs more salt, shake some in. The rub can be stored in an airtight container for up to several weeks. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
  • Prepare the ribs
  • 2. Peel the membrane off the back side of the ribs and discard it. (It tends to be sort of slippery. If you have a hard time getting a grip, try grabbing it with a paper towel and see if that helps.) Season the ribs liberally on both sides with some of the rub.
  • 3. Prepare the grill for cooking over indirect heat at 250° F (121°C) using oak or hickory wood. Place the ribs, meaty side up, directly on the grill grate. Cook for 2 1/2 hours. Flip the ribs and cook for 30 minutes more.
  • 4. Place a double layer of some big sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil next to the grill and place the ribs on the foil, meaty-side up. Wrap up the ribs, sealing the package tightly. Place the foil-wrapped ribs on the grill for 1 hour. (Wrapping the ribs in foil is essential to get them tender so do not omit this step. If you’re the adventurous type, add a half cup of strongly brewed coffee to the foil package when you wrap the ribs.)
  • 5. Transfer the foil-wrapped ribs to a platter. Increase the temperature of the grill to 400°F (204°C). Remove the ribs from the foil, place them on the grill grate, and brush with the barbecue sauce. Cook for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how charred you like your ribs. Flip the ribs, brush with the sauce again, and cook for another 5 to 15 minutes.
  • 6. Place the ribs on a platter and serve with additional barbecue sauce, preferably warm, on the side.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipes like these barbecued beef back ribs come down to the rub and the cooking technique, and these do not disappoint in either department. There is a lot of waiting time, but low and slow allows the flavor of the rub to permeate the ribs, doing wonders for the texture of the meat. The only problem I have with this recipe is the amount of grilling at the end. Instead of basting with the sauce, I warmed it up over low heat and served it on the side. That way, I could regulate how much or little to put on the ribs. I also tried the ribs without the sauce to see the difference, and found the rub is good enough that you don’t need any sauce. And if you do use a barbecue sauce, be sure that it’s low in salt, as the rub already has enough salt in it.

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