Texas-Style Barbecued Beef Ribs

From Cooks Illustrated It is important to use beef ribs with a decent amount of meat, not bony scraps; otherwise, the rewards of making this recipe are few. Because the ribs cook slowly and for an extended period of time, charcoal briquettes, not hardwood charcoal (which burns hot and fast), make a better fuel. That said, do not use Match Light charcoal, which contains lighter fluid for easy ignition. For the wood chunks, use any type of wood but mesquite, which can have an overpowering smokiness. It's a good idea to monitor the grill heat; if you don't own a reliable grill thermometer, insert an instant-read thermometer into the lid vent to spot-check the temperature. Except when adding coals, do not lift the grill lid, which will allow both smoke and heat to escape. When barbecuing, we prefer to use a Weber 22-inch kettle grill.

Yield: 4 servings
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  • Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 medium clove garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo
  • 2 tablespoons mild molasses or dark molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Ribs
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 beef rib slabs (3 to 4 ribs per slab, about 5 pounds total)


  1. 1. To make the Barbecue Sauce: Heat butter in small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until foaming; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add tomato juice, 1/2 cup vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, chipotle, molasses, and salt; increase heat to high and bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 30 to 40 minutes. Off heat, stir in pepper and remaining 1/4 cup vinegar. Cool to room temperature before serving. (Can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature before serving.)

  2. 2. For ribs:Mix chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper in small bowl; rub ribs evenly with spice mixture. Let ribs stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

  3. 3. Meanwhile, cover 2 large wood chunks (see note) with water and soak 1 hour. Drain wood chunks. Open bottom grill vents. Using chimney starter, ignite 30 briquettes (about one-third large chimney, or 2 quarts) and burn until covered with thin coating of light gray ash, about 10 minutes. Empty coals into grill, then bank coals against one side of grill, stacking them 2 to 3 coals high; place 1 soaked wood chunk on top of coals. Position grill grate over coals, cover grill, and adjust lid vents two-thirds open. Heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grill grate clean with grill brush. Position ribs, meat-side down, on cool side of grill (they may overlap slightly); cover, positioning lid so that vents are directly above ribs. (Temperature on thermometer inserted through vents should register about 300 degrees.) Cook until grill temperature drops to about 250 degrees, about 1 hour. (On cold, windy days, temperature may drop more quickly, so spot-check temperature. If necessary, add 5 additional briquettes to maintain temperature above 250 degrees during first hour of cooking.)

  4. 4. After 1 hour, add 20 more briquettes and remaining wood chunk to coals; using tongs, flip ribs meat-side up and rotate so that edges once closest to coals are now farthest away. Cover grill, positioning lid so that vents are opposite wood chunk; continue to cook until dinner fork can be inserted into and removed from meat with little resistance, meat pulls away from bones when rack is gently twisted, and meat shrinks 1/2 to 1 inch up rib bones, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours longer. Transfer ribs to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes; using chef's knife, slice between bones to separate into individual ribs. Serve, passing sauce separately.
July 2011

This recipe is a personal recipe added by crosscourt and has not been tested or endorsed by MyRecipes.

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