Mouthwatering Grilled Beef Short Ribs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Juicy, tender beef short ribs hot off the grill are an absolute treat for any barbecue lover. When cooked low and slow over indirect heat, beef short ribs develop incredible smoky flavor and fall-off-the-bone texture that’s hard to beat.

In this detailed guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to make perfectly grilled beef short ribs at home from choosing the right cut to nailing the cook and serving suggestions. Let’s get grilling!

Picking the Best Short Ribs for the Grill

Look for beef short ribs that are at least 1.5 inches thick with plenty of fat marbling when raw. Thicker short ribs hold up better on the grill and the fat bastes the meat as it renders. Bone-in short ribs have more flavor than boneless. Try to find ribs cut across the bones into individual ribs, not slabs with multiple ribs attached.

The best beef short ribs for grilling come from the chuck primal cut near the shoulder Opt for English-style or flanken-cut short ribs Avoid back ribs, which are leaner with less fat.

Inspect the ribs for an even shape and distribution of fat. Estimate 1 pound of bone-in short ribs per person.

Trimming and Prepping the Ribs

  • Place ribs on a cutting board and remove any loose pieces of fat or membrane. Leave a thin layer of fat intact.

  • Trim off the thin flank end of the ribs for more even cooking.

  • Cut between bones to separate ribs if needed. Individual 2-3 bone sections work perfectly.

  • Rinse ribs under cool water and pat completely dry. Moisture prevents rubs and seasoning from sticking.

Seasoning for Maximum Flavor

Apply a dry rub at least 1-2 hours before grilling (or up to overnight). This allows time for the spice mix to penetrate the meat.

Use a bold, salty, sweet rub that complements the rich beefiness. Go for paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic, cumin, and black pepper. Oil the ribs first so the rub adheres.

After rubbing, let the ribs sit out to come to room temperature before grilling. Cold meat accepts less smoke flavor.

Setting Up the Grill for Indirect Heat

  • For charcoal: Bank lit coals steeply to one side. Place a drip pan with water on the empty side.

  • For gas: Turn off the burner on one side. Add water to the grate under the off burner.

  • Ribs need to cook low and slow next to the heat, not directly over it.

  • Maintain a steady grill temp of 225-250°F, adjusting vents as needed. Use an oven thermometer.

  • Add soaked wood chunks to the coals for extra smoke. Hickory, oak, or pecan work great.

Placing the Ribs on the Grill

  • Lightly grease the grill grates where ribs will go to prevent sticking.

  • Put ribs over indirect heat, not over direct flame.

  • Meaty side up to protect bone ends from burning.

  • No need to flip frequently. Cook for 1-2 hours only turning once halfway through.

  • Add a water pan and wood chunks to the grill to generate moisture and smoke.

Monitoring Temperature and Doneness

  • Insert an instant read thermometer horizontally into ribs, avoiding bone.

  • Cook until internal temp reaches 195-205°F for fall-off-the-bone ribs.

  • Use tongs to test doneness. Meat should tear easily but not fall apart completely.

  • If flaming up, move ribs temporarily to a cooler spot and lower heat.

  • Total grill time is 1.5-3 hours depending on thickness. Go by temp, not time.

Saucing the Ribs (Optional)

  • Apply barbecue sauce during the last 10-15 minutes of grilling time if desired.

  • Thick, sticky sauce works better than thin sauce that can burn.

  • Use a reserved amount of sauce for serving too.

  • For maximum bark and smoke flavor, skip sauce and serve it on the side.

Letting Ribs Rest

  • Transfer ribs to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil when done.

  • Rest for 10-15 minutes to allow juices to redistribute through the meat.

  • This helps ensure tender and juicy ribs when sliced and served. Don’t skip!

Serving Up Epic Beef Short Ribs

Slice ribs before serving for easier eating:

  • Use a sharp knife to cut down between the bones into individual ribs.

  • Slice across the ribs into 1-2 inch pieces. Serve 3-5 bone sections per person.

  • Garnish with parsley, sliced green onions, or sesame seeds.

  • Pair with classic barbecue sides like baked beans, coleslaw, cornbread, or mac and cheese.

  • Serve extra barbecue sauce on the side for saucing to preference.

With the right prep, seasoning, and grilling technique, you can achieve competition-worthy beef short ribs in your own backyard. Patience is key, as is cooking over indirect heat and monitoring temperature closely. For more flavor, try smoking the ribs low and slow before a quick sear over direct heat.

These grilled short ribs also make amazing sandwiches and tacos when chopped or pulled. Leftovers can be tossed in pasta, soups, or scrambled eggs. However you enjoy them, prepare for these ribs to be the star of your next cookout!

Grilled Beef Short Ribs & The “ORIGINAL” BBQ Season All


Are short ribs good for barbecue?

Short ribs are a perfectly rich and meaty cut for barbecuing—plus, they’re ready for the table in a fraction of the time it takes to smoke a brisket.

Can you grill short ribs like a steak?

Moderating the heat of the grill allows the short ribs to brown without getting sooty from excess flare-ups. Grilling to a final internal temperature of 130°F (54°C) ensures that the short rib’s intramuscular fat has softened but not yet rendered out, resulting in an unctuous and juicy steak.

Do you flip short ribs on the grill?

Beef short ribs grill best over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. This produces a beautiful sear and juicy, perfectly cooked medium-rare middle.

Should short ribs be boiled before grilling?

Follow this tip: Pre-cooking the ribs before they hit the grill not only gives you more control over the cooking temperature, but it can also make for more tender meat. You can oven-bake, boil, or even use the slow cooker for pre-cooking before firing up the grill.

How to grill beef short ribs?

How to grill beef short ribs: Place the seasoned beef short ribs on the grill grates on medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway. Melt a pat of butter on top of each boneless short rib, serve, and enjoy! Optional: brush the top with barbecue sauce and add chopped green onions! Grilling short ribs is easy and takes hardly any time.

How do you cook ribs on a grill?

Prepare a grill fire to 250° using hickory or oak for smoke flavor. Pat ribs dry with paper towels and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray or brush with olive oil on all sides. Sprinkle with dry rub on all sides, pressing it onto the meat. Place ribs over indirect heat and cook with the grill closed for 1 hour.

How do you make grilled short ribs tender?

These grilled short ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender thanks to foil packets that keep all the savory flavor inside. Mix brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Cut ribs into equal portions. Generously rub spice mixture onto all surfaces of ribs; place ribs in a single layer in a glass baking dish.

How do you cook Boneless short ribs?

Sprinkle the seasoning mixture on to your short ribs of beef. Pat down to ensure the seasonings stay on while grilling and to encourage the beef to soak up all of that delicious flavor. Grill on medium high heat for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway. Melt a pat of butter on top of each boneless short rib, serve, and enjoy!

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