Sometimes referred to as “brisket on a stick”, slow cooked beef short ribs are rich, meaty and incredibly tasty. A guaranteed winner at dinner parties and BBQ events, this hedonistic dish is very easy to cook, rewarding the patience of the chef.
Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs
Acquiring Beef Short Ribs
This recipe relies on good quality beef short ribs that are cut correctly, they can be difficult to obtain. Ask your local butcher if they can supply them, and ensure that the ribs really are short ribs (pictured below). I bought the beef short ribs for this blog post from Turner and George of London. The ribs were excellent, I highly recommend them (no commercial connection).
This recipe needs a Big Green Egg (or similar) to get the most out of it. It can be done in an oven (non-fan setting), just watch for the internal temperature as per the method below. In addition you’ll need:
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Roasting tray and rack
- Thermapen 4 or AKIR KA31 temperature probe
- Hand-held water sprayer
Whilst you can determine when the ribs are done by touch (they should feel jiggly), it’s much better to go with internal temperature. Check out my guide on cooking to temperature for more information and some low-cost products for this.
- Rack of four beef short ribs, around 1.5kg
- Water and cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dizzy Pig Red-Eye Express
- 1 tsp Dizzy Pig Cow Lick
The BBQ rubs are a personal choice, I like this combo. You can also rub a little BBQ sauce on instead or as well as the rub.
Cooking beef short ribs demands a low temperature for a long time, at least 8 hours and most likely longer. See the cooking time and temperature section below for why this is important.
A few hours into the cook you’ll experience the stall. The meat’s temperature reaches a level (normally around 160°F) and stalls at that point for a long time, hours, before moving up again. There are several well-written articles on this, the amazingribs.com one is worth reading. It happens, be ready for it, the meat isn’t broken.
- Pre-heat the Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 125°C/250°F. Wait for the temperature to stabilise and coals to glow, then toss on the smoking chunks, and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
- Meanwhile, trim any fat and silverskin from the top of the ribs. Remove the membrane from underneath (bone side). Apply the rub to the top.
- Place the short ribs on a rack over a roasting tray, put this into the Egg. Cook until the internal temperature of the meat between the bones is at least 195°F, up to 203°F. This takes most of the day.
- Spray the ribs with the water/cider vinegar mix to stop them drying out. Only do this if the ribs look dry. I check every hour or so.
- When the ribs are at temperature, remove from the Egg and cut into portions between the bones. Serve with beans and coleslaw.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- Leftover cooked short rib can be heated up the next day in a wok with some BBQ sauce as a delicious filling for a lunchtime brioche bun.
- Ensure that the screw in the daisy wheel is in line with the centre of the dome thermometer. This means that when you open the Egg’s dome, the daisy wheel doesn’t open full, increase the cooking temperature and ruin the short ribs.
Cooking Time and Temperature
Beef short ribs take a long time, up to 12 hours, at a low temperature. This is necessary because in their raw form, beef short ribs have a lot of connective tissue that needs to be broken down and softened … otherwise they can have the consistency of a leather boot. It takes a low temperature, long cook to do this (and render out the fat), ensuring that the meat is moist, tender and tasty without being cloying.
The Egg’s cooking temperature can be from 107°C/225°F to 140°C/285°F. The higher the cooking temperature, the shorter the amount of time. A cook at 107°C could take up to 12 hours, whereas one at 140°C could take 8-9 hours (this is Aaron Franklin’s approach). I went for a middle ground of 125°C/250°F, seemed to work well.
The target internal meat temperature can be anything between 90°C/195°F to 95°C/203°F. The higher the temperature, the more like butter the ribs will be. I’ve tried both, I prefer 95°C/203°F, there was less fat, it tasted better and was almost falling apart.