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Feb 18, 2014 08:22 AM

Beef Back Ribs

I have two 3.5# racks of these ribs. What I'm after is NOT a barbecue sauce flavored, fall-off-the-bone rib. I'd like to achieve a gnaw-worthy, unadulterated beefy flavored rib. This is my first experience with this particular cut, so can I accomplish this in my oven?

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  1. Can you do them in your oven?

    I did about 10 + lbs in my outdoor smoker just before xmas time.

    As for NOT a barbeque sauce flavor, then don't use BBQ sauce. But you will need to figure out a flavor profile you do want. Rub? Just salt and pepper? Something else?

    Even for long cooked ribs I;ve never had them fall off the bone. Since they often lack the fat levels of pork ribs, they can dry out if overcooked. Again, they won't fall off the bone but they can go dry.

    You need to decide cooking temp. I personally like 250F to 275F, uncovered with a water bath on rack below. I do a rub of some sort and cook until desired doneness. Some use the braise style of baking with a liquid and covering with foil but it all depens upon the fat content of your ribs.

    When done, I portion and then broil or grill a couple minutes a side to crisp up no matter the method. THEN I add the warmed BBQ sauce or sauce of choice.

    The beefy flavor will be there if there is enough meat on the bones. The cryo-vac beef ribs I see at the stores mainly have very little meat thus I don;t buy them.

    Overcooking is the largest enemy of beef ribs I have found.

    Below pic of 1/3 of what I cooked back in December.

    It was yummy, and could have just as easily been done in the oven.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jjjrfoodie

      Hi jjj,
      Mine are cryovacced and appear to be shorter than yours. Another question--should I roast them as a whole slab or cut them apart first? I think I'll do a rub of a chili powder, cumin, hot paprika, granulated garlic, a little brown sugar, and maybe some vinegar and a bit of oil to form a paste-like rub.
      I'll try your low-temp/water bath method and see how it fares.

      1. re: bourbonnie

        I never cut them apart when roasting or smoking.
        Too much surface area that can dry out.

        Yep, quick rub of olive oil for me and then rub or seasoning of choice.

        The ribs I show above (that's only one third of what I bought--it was alot) was courtesy of my butcher who had to de-rib a bunch of beef cuts for customers who were making rib roasts for xmas dinner.

        Their loss was my gain. There was enough meat to make it worth the price. Again, any chain grocery selling beef ribs I see these days is all-bone, little meat.

        To qoute the Seinfeld episode, there is a lot of shrinkage with beef ribs, keep in mind. Also, because the bones are so large and dense , they become heat sinks, to use the engineering term, and thus why you have to watch cook times. The bones hold a lot of heat and can cook the meat way quicker than, say pork ribs.

        If I found more meaty beef ribs around me, I'd do them more often, but for what I see, i can't jump due to cost per meat ratio return.

        I can't remember what internal temp to cook to but just head over to one of the bbq forums or and they should have it.

        To me, beef ribs are still a low and slow thing no matter if doing a dry cook/bake/smoke or in a braise or sauce.

        Good luck.

    2. I use a pressure cooker for beef ribs, because they come out so good in 1/2 hour. I usually do 1 slab, 1 very large potato, and sometimes a second veg. such as 1/4 cabbage. I use 8-10 oz of stock , and when done, I thicken it for a simple hearty sauce.
      Here is one from two weeks ago

      1 Reply
      1. Cook in the oven and then sear up on the grill, no sauces needed.

        1. Good for you. You have to remember these are the bones that are usually on the Prime Rib or Standing Rib Roast, so are naturally very tender.

          You can roast them as you would for a roast, or even lower and slower, or hot and fast. The choice is yours.

          I like them all ways.

          It's very important to get good ones with a lot of meat covering the tops of the bones. They used to be cheap but now no more. They should look like the ones in jj's photo. Avoid ones with the tops of the bones showing, which they call "shiners."

          I personally would never do them in the pressure cooker because I think that treatment is best for something tougher like short ribs or a chuck roast, but you could sure try them that way -- they do look great.

          But for simply roasting, just season them with a little S&P and throw them into a 350F oven for about an hour or so.

          If you roast the racks whole they will stay juicier.

          Here's a video:

          And here's a video about how to pick the best ones at the market:

          These days many of the Boneless Rib Eyes are separated from the Rib Bones by machine, and what you end up with are meatless bones. If you have a market that does this by hand they will often have very nice Rib Bones for you.

          If yours are the really short ones in the cryovac they have probably cut the best, meatiest parts (the thick end) off of them and you are missing out, unfortunately. Watch the video so you will know what to shop for next time.

          Please report back and let us know what you did. I love these things and make them weekly.

          PS The bones make great stock when prepared neutrally like this. No smoke or char flavor to affect the flavor of your stock. Not that I don't love the ribs smoked as well, but that's another topic.