Beef short ribs are a smoke barbecue fan’s dream. Thick, juicy beef with a strong depth of flavour thanks to some delicious fat reservoirs and, in some cuts, strong marbling.

If you gather around the smoker, you’ll hear the pitmasters call them shorties. But especially strong specimens are anything but.

Taken from either the rib, chuck, plate or brisket areas on the beast, the rib bone is wide and solid, and the corresponding meat should be a nice thick slab of beef perfect for braising, slow grilling asado-style, or going low and slow on the smoker.

The best thing about choosing the low and slow option? They’re almost impossible to do a bad job on. Almost.

Your goal should be to have a dark, coarse bark that forms on the outside, while the inside transforms into a juicy, tender, flavour-packed morsel served on the bone.

You can use a wide variety of rubs to flavour the cut, but a lot of purists just love the simple combo of salt and pepper that makes beef sing.

Be patient – perfect low and slow shorties need time and a bit of love.


You can leave the fat on the meat if you like but many like to trim them down and remove the tough silver and membrane. Just remember, trimming them completely of fat will take away some fatty flavour and juiciness.


  • 2kg of beef short ribs
  • Rub of your choice (salt and pepper is excellent)
  • A spray bottle for spritzing (half water, half apple cider vinegar)
  • Smoking wood (pecan, ironbark, mesquite, or whichever wood you prefer)
  • Water pan
  • Digital meat thermometer


Step 1

Prepare your beef ribs (trim, remove silver and membrane), season with salt and pepper or your favourite beef rub on the top and bottom covering them evenly.

Step 2

Get your smoker up to temperature, aiming for between 115°C-140°C (about 240°F – 280°F). If using a charcoal smoker add your choice of wood now to create a nice even flow of smoke.

Step 3

Place beef ribs in smoker bone side down and smoke for between six to nine hours, spraying them with your water and apple cider vinegar spritz every 45 minutes (less if you want a stronger bark)

Step 4

You can wrap your beef ribs in foil and continue cooking at about the four-hour mark if you want to speed up the cooking time, though it will affect the bark.

Step 5

Once your beef ribs have reached an internal temperature of 96°C (204°F), remove from the smoker, wrap in foil and rest for about 45 minutes before serving.

Step 6

Serve on the bone with your favourite barbecue sauce, or remove the bone and serve as a burger on a milk bun with coleslaw, cheese, pickles and your favourite barbecue sauce.