Beef ribs aren't one of the first things that come to mind when you tend to think about barbecue, but if you find a Texas-style place that serves ‘em, they can be a treat.
Still working through the Pitt Cue Co. cookbook, and their beef ribs involve their House Rub, which combines a number of different spices you don't typically think of with smoked meats, and I really couldn't resist trying them out when I spotted a rack in my local grocery store. Most stores typically carry beef short ribs, but full racks of back ribs can be a bit hit or miss. A friend once said that making friends with a local butcher is always a good idea, and it's one I should probably start practicing.
Pitt Cue House Rub (makes 10.5 oz)
1 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/3 cup salt
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 4-6 bone rack of beef ribs
1. We'll start with the rub -- combine the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds and the peppercorns in a small skillet and place over medium heat to roast. Stir to make sure nothing burns, and once they start to really put out some fragrance, pour them into a bowl and allow to cool.
2. Place the seeds, peppercorns and remaining rub ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined and the seeds/peppercorns are well ground. Store in a mason jar.
3. For the ribs themselves, beef ribs have a membrane running across the bone side just like pork ribs, and it'll have to be removed. But it is significantly more difficult. You'll need a good sharp knife. Run it along the bones as flat as you can to try and work the membrane up, without cutting into the flesh. Then pull up as best you can. You'll likely leave a little on the bone itself, but that's no big deal.
4. Coat the ribs well with the rub and massage in, then prepare your smoker to specs.
5. You'll want to smoke these anywhere between 230-260 degrees until you hit an internal temperature of at least 192 degrees, although you can go as high as 197 if you want. There's a good amount of intercostal fat in beef ribs, which will take time to break down -- five or six hours. You'll be able to see the meat begin to retract well from the rib tips.
6. Remove, allow to rest a good half-hour or so, and then chop into individual ribs.