I was wandering through the meat department one day at Costco and saw boneless beef chuck short ribs. They're strips of meat cut from the chuck section without a lot of surface fat and not a bone in sightórib or otherwise. They remind me a lot of "country-style pork ribs"ójust strips of pork shoulder and not real ribs.
Being from the chuck, you know these guys are tough but will become tender and flavorful if braised in liquid or cooked "low & slow" on the grill. I decided to bring some home to try on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.
Here's a description and photos of how I cooked these boneless beef short ribs on August 22, 2010.
As always...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.
Select & Prep The Meat
Choose a package of boneless beef chuck short ribs that contains pieces of similar size and thickness so they all cook at the same rate. Still, you may end up with a few smaller pieces that will cook faster than the rest.
Trim away any large areas of excess fat and any tough silverskin. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel before apply the rub.
Photo 1 shows a 3.94 pound package of boneless beef chuck short ribs that I bought at Costco. I cooked 2 packages of these on the top grate of the WSM.
Apply The Rub
Apply a generous amount of your favorite rub to the meat. There's no need to do this the night before cooking, but you can if you like.
I used two commercial rubsóSusie Q's Original Santa Maria Valley Style Seasoning and Armadillo Willy's rub. Here are clone recipes for each of these rubs.
Fire The WSM
Fire-up the Weber Bullet using the Minion Methodófill the charcoal chamber about 1/2 full with unlit Kingsford charcoal briquettes and then spread about 30 hot coals over the unlit ones.
Smoke The Short Ribs
Place 2 small chunks of smoke wood on the hot coals. I used a chunk of oak and a chunk of hickory (Photo 2).
Assemble the cooker with the water pan in place and fill it with cool water.
Arrange the short ribs on the top cooking grate (Photo 3) and cover with the lid. Set the top vent to 100% open and leave it that way throughout the entire cooking process. Start with all 3 bottom vents 100% open. As the cooker approaches 250°F, begin to partially close all 3 bottom vents to maintain 225-275°F. Adjust the bottom vents as needed to maintain this temperature range throughout the cooking process.
Starting at the 2 hour mark, baste the meat with whatever you like about every 30 minutes. I sprayed mine with Dr. Pepper. You can try apple juice, beer, booze, or whatever.
Start checking the tenderness of the meat about 3 hours into the cooking process. The meat is done when you stick a fork or probe thermometer into the meat and it goes in and out easily. You can also try twisting the fork to see if the meat looks and feels tender. The short ribs shown in Photos 4-5 took almost 4 hours to become tender.
Here's how the cooker temperatures and vent settings went during my cook:
Rest The Short Ribs & Serve
Remove the short ribs from the smoker, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. If you are concerned that your meat is a bit dry, place the meat in foil, add some warm beef broth, wrap tightly and let rest in an empty cooler for a while to allow the meat to absorb some of the liquid.
I found that while the larger pieces were moist, a few of the smaller ones were on the dry side (Photo 6). I treated these like brisket burnt endsócut them into cubes, tossed them in warm barbecue sauce, and let the meat soak up some of that good sauce (Photo 7).
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