Full meal on the grill/all photos by donna turner ruhlman

A few weeks ago, I made a full meal on the grill, grilled green beans, grilled vidalia onion, and some awesome grilled short ribs.  The following are three recipes, techniques really, for making barbecued beef short ribs, cooking them start to finish on the grill, pre-cooking them and finishing them on the grill, and cooking them sous vide and finishing them on the grill.  (If you don’t have a wood or charcoal grill, I really don’t recommend doing short ribs this way.) Use whatever your favorite barbecue sauce is, store bought or homemade. (I need to do a homemade barbecue sauce post! Anyone wants to make suggestions, feel free in comments.)

I recommend the first method because it results in a deeply smokey flavor, and is a good excuse to hang out around the food and fire for a long time.  The latter two methods are for convenience, if you don’t have three hours to linger on the patio.

Barbecued Beef Short Ribs (3 Ways!)

  • 3 short ribs per person (or more if you want!)
  • kosher salt
  • Barbecues sauce as needed
  1. Grill From Start To Finish (3-4 hours total prep and cook time)
  2. Season your short ribs liberally with kosher salt at least an hour before cooking them (or up to 3 days).
  3. Build a hot fire in your grill.  Spread the coals out over half your grill so that you can cook over both direct and indirect heat.  Let the grill get hot.  Sear the short ribs on all sides over direct heat.
  4. Move the ribs to the cool side of the grill and cover.  After 30 minutes, add more coals to the fire, about 50% of what you began with.  Some grills are hinged to make adding coals easy; others might require one person to lift the entire grill up while another person adds the charcoal.  Turn the ribs.  Cover the grill, and allow to cook for another hour.  Evaluate whether you need to add more coals.  If so, then do so.
  5. Baste with barbecue sauce during the last half hour.  These should cook at least 2-1/2 hours on the grill, ideally 3.  They should be pleasantly chewy but not tough.

Pre-Cook BBQ Short Ribs

  1. Season your short ribs liberally with kosher salt at least an hour before cooking them (or up to 3 days).  Wrap them tightly in foil.  Cook them in a 225 degree F. oven for 3 to 4 hours.  This can be done up to three days before finishing them, holding them in the refrigerator till the day you want to served them).
  2. Build a hot fire in your grill.  Spread the coals out over half your grill so that you can cook over both direct and indirect heat.  Let the grill get hot.  Sear the short ribs on all sides over direct heat.
  3. Move to the cool side of the grill and slather with barbecue sauce, and cover the grill.  After ten minutes, turn them and slather the uncoated sides.  Cover the grill and cook for another 10 minutes.  At this point they’re ready to serve, but give them more coatings of sauce if you wish.  These should be tender, but not falling apart tender.

Sous Vide BBQ Short Ribs

  1. Season your short ribs liberally with kosher salt at least an hour before cooking them (or up to 3 days). Vacuum seal them in whatever fashion you use.
  2. Cook them in a 140 degree F. water bath for 48 hours.
  3. Remove them to an ice bath and thoroughly chill.  (This can be done three days before you want to serve them.)
  4. Build a hot fire in your grill.  Spread the coals out over half your grill so that you can cook over both direct and indirect heat.  Let the grill get hot.  Sear the short ribs on all sides over direct heat.
  5. Move to the cool side of the grill and slather with barbecue sauce, and cover the grill.  After ten minutes, turn them and slather the uncoated sides.  Cover the grill and cook for another 10 minutes.  At this point they’re ready to serve, but give them more coatings of sauce if you wish.  This method results in the most tender ribs of all.

Green Beans & BBQ Short Rib Video:

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© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.