While spending a few days in Austin last month, I basically dove head-first into Texas barbecue: the pickles, the vinegar-based cole slaw, and man, the brisket! I loved how a dry, blackened crust over their barbecued meats isn’t a bad thing, and how sauce is added according to individual taste, after plating. Even better, the barbecued meats are sold by the quarter pound, so each person gets to choose how much they want to eat. If that’s not the most American way of eating ever, I don’t know what is! These are all concepts that are relatively uncommon in our neck of the woods here in Maryland, so I decided to try my hand at some Texas-style barbecued beef the other day.
When choosing a meat to try, I decided to go the easy route with some boneless short ribs: they are a great size, and fatty enough that I was sure I didn’t need to worry about them drying out while cooking. Turns out I made a great choice – the short ribs were perfectly moist and tasty, and a great change of pace from our typical method of cooking short ribs (braising).
Author’s note: boneless short ribs, like the one in this recipe which came from US Wellness Meats, often come in 1lb. packages; each package will serve two people, and the rub ingredient amounts below are enough for two pounds of meat.
for the rub:
1/2 tbsp each kosher salt and paprika
1 tsp each black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
1/2 tsp each celery seed, dried oregano, chipotle powder
The rub in this recipe has become my go-to barbecue beef rub. It’s slightly zesty and has a twinge of spice, perfectly complementing the mellow, meaty flavor that comes with barbecuing beef.
Liberally sprinkle the rub all over the ribs, then let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
At the same time, soak your hickory wood chips in water for 30 minutes as well.
We’re going to cook the ribs using a low-and-slow, indirect heating method at 225 degrees. If you are using a gas grill, turn on a burner at one end of your grill and adjust the heat as needed until you are at 225 degrees. If you’re using charcoal, I’m going to go ahead and assume you know how to put the charcoal on one side of the grill!
Put your wood chips in a smoker box (or make a “box” out of heavy duty tin foil) and place it on the hot side of the grill. Place the ribs on the cool side of the grill. To get ribs like in the picture at the top of this recipe, you’ll want to smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Should take about four hours. Alternatively, you can pull the ribs off the grill when they reach 150 degrees (should take about two hours), and serve them like a steak.
Once you have the ribs cooked to your liking, wrap them in tin foil and put them somewhere that retains heat well – an empty oven, microwave, or cooler will do fine – for 20 minutes while it rests.
Next, simply slice the ribs and serve with barbecue sauce. Couldn’t be easier!