Beef Ribs Recipe for Your Gas Grill

Our barbecue beef ribs are loved by all. This is your sure-fire path to backyard barbecue fame, following this step-by-step method, and our "6 Secrets."

We believe that...

"Barbecue is the Mystical Communion of Fire, Smoke and Meat" 

We barbecue beef ribs on a gas grill with the indirect cooking method. This means that the ribs are placed next to, rather than directly over, the fire. The heat is kept low, and the ribs cooked slowly. Patience pays big dividends! All to attain that incredible smoke flavor, with the moist, cooked to perfection result that alludes so many!

Stuff you'll need...

Patience  Low and slow is the real secret to our barbecue beef rib recipe. We're talking low heat (180 - 250°F/80 - 121°C) for an extended cooking period. This is not the fastest method, but the "bestest"!

Gas grill  Grill must have at least two burners for the indirect heat method. You will use only one.


You'll find "Back Ribs", in a plastic vacuum pack, by the slab, with about 7 ribs or...

The meatier "Short Ribs" (shown here), generally packed 5-7 ribs in a pack.

Spices  One secret of our barbecue beef rib recipe is to use the best spices you can get. See Secret #2...Great Spices for more on this.

Hardwood chips/chunks  For smoking ribs (or any meat in a smoker) always use only seasoned (never "green") hardwood chips/chunks like Hickory, Oak, Mesquite, Cherry, Apple, etc., to suit your taste. These are generally available during the summer, wherever barbecue accessories are sold. Never use softwoods such as the conifers fir, pine, spruce, cedar, cypress, oleander,etc. Many trees and bushes/shrubs are toxic to humans, so stay with the known traditional woods used by the experienced "smokers".

Metal pan  Filled with at least 1/2" of water, placed under the cooking rack below the ribs, and used to control the inevitable flare-ups, distribute the heat more evenly, and provide some moisture.

Smoker box, or heavy-duty aluminum foil pouch  

Smoker Box

Smoker Pouch

Some gas grills come with a Smoker Box for the wood chips. If yours does not have one, just make a envelope/pouch from heavy-duty aluminum foil and put 2 cups of presoaked (in hot water for about an hour) chips on the foil; fold into a flat envelope/pouch shape, and poke a several slices in the top to release the smoke. 

Mop tool 

For the baste sauce (mop). This is optional, but boy, it sure makes basting a whole lot easier! Yep, a mop...just a miniature version (12-14" long) of a string-mop you might have for cleaning the kitchen! For ease of cleaning, and long reach, we prefer this Sauce Mop with Removable Head. More on this subject in the "Prepare a Mop?" section, below.

Oven/Grill thermometer 

To ensure the success of your beef ribs recipe, this tool is the only way you will really know what's going on inside your smoker! Our two favorites are the Admetior Kitchen Oven Thermometer, and the CDN High Heat Oven Thermometer. They are both very accurate, durable (stainless steel), and exceptionally reasonable in price. 


To handle those ribs (or any BBQ meat), long and strong is the secret, so we ditched the ones that came with our numerous BBQ tool sets. We prefer, and suggest, no-nonsense professional types like the Weber  Professional-Grade Chef's Tongs, or the Oxo Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs.

Let's talk meat ...

Beef ribs usually are sold in slabs of several ribs, sealed in a plastic vacuum-pack, or fresh slabs at the butcher counter. Fresh is always better, but either way, our barbecue beef rib recipe will work wonders.

Now, let's prepare the meat...

NOTE: Ribs should be always kept in the refrigerator (approx. 40°F/4.4°C) before preparation.

  • Take the meat out of the refrigerator about an hour before preparation. This makes it easier to work with. You can do the meat, rub and mop preparation the day before to make it a lot easier when "the gang" shows up.
  • Rinse in cold water.
  • Remove any excess fat and extraneous meat pieces, or stuff you don't want to eat. Never touch the fat between the bones. This provides the flavor and moisture needed for great barbecue ribs. Just remove the excess fat surrounding the good stuff.
  • Remove the membrane (on inner side). We feel this is a must when you barbecue beef ribs, as it allows the smoke and rub to penetrate the meat more thoroughly. For this chore we have used all kinds of blunt, "pokey" things like a "Phillips"-type screwdriver, a dull knife, or something similar. Lift the membrane until you can get a grip on it this slippery devil (we use a paper towel), and pull it all off.
  • Rinse again, pat dry with a paper towel.

A great barbecue beef rib recipe starts with a rub!

Short Ribs with Our Rub

The ribs are first "rubbed" with a simple, dry, spice-accented rub. All for that unforgettable tender, perfectly seasoned, eating experience!

Now, for a mouth watering barbecue beef rib recipe, start with this truly classic rub that will impart all of the flavors your drooling chops are hankerin' for.Do not let the simplicity of this basic rub fool you. It tastes wonderful, and you can adjust the recipe (as the "pros" do) to make it "yours". Check out our Dry Rub Secrets page for more on this.

If you wish, to maximize the flavor, apply the rub a few hours (up to a day) before cooking time. Just wrap the ribs in plastic-wrap, or a covered glass/plastic container, and put them into the refrigerator.

Basic Barbecue Beef Rib Rub Recipe

Mix together thoroughly the following:

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed). We prefer "turbinado" sugar for ease of use, and a higher caramelization temperature. But either will work fine.
  • 1/4 cup coarse Kosher or sea salt.
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 3 tblsp ground pepper (fresh peppercorns recently ground!)
  • 1 tblsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (no, it will not be "hot")

This recipe is enough for 3 to 4 racks of ribs and can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.

Prepare a "Mop"?

Our barbecue beef rib recipe includes a mop (basting sauce).A long time favorite with many experienced rib cookers (and we've learned to love it) is to frequently apply a mop (baste sauce), during the cooking cycle, to flavor and keep the meat moist. Mops are usually a watery mixture of vinegar, water and spices applied with a basting "mop".

Notice the spices in the basting sauce are similar to the rub? You want to compliment the flavors of your rub and it is OK to use just the basic spices of the rub (with vinegar and water). Experiment and have fun!

Here is a simple barbecue beef rib recipe favorite:

Basic Barbecue Beef Rib Mop

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive or peanut oil
  • 1 tblsp garlic powder
  • 1 tblsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne

Mix well in a bowl, to be applied with a mop tool. When you use the mop tool, stir each time before mopping. Never save mop sauce left in the bowl (it is tainted with the meat's raw juices). Otherwise the sauce will last a long time in the refrigerator.

O.K., for our barbecue beef rib recipe we...

  • Slather the meat with a thin coat of any common yellow table mustard (not mandatory but a cool method many top contenders use) when applying a dry rub. This will not impart a mustard flavor as that cooks out) but holds the spices close to the ribs, keeps the meat moist, does not block the smoke and leaves a nice thin seasoned coating.
  • Sprinkle the rub on the ribs, and if you chose not to use the mustard, rub it on the meat. Guys, do not over season (women rarely do). We are the "Cookin' Cousins" (men) and have learned the lesson when cooking barbecue beef ribs; a light application is sufficient!

Get the Grill Ready

  • Fire-up one side and get the temperature to hold at about 200-220°F (93-104°C). To attain the tender results of a traditional barbecue beef rib recipe, it is imperative that a good oven thermometer is used to ensure the temperature is true.
  • Put the chips (pre-soaked in water for about an hour) in the smoker-can, or the prepared smoker pouch, next to the flame. Now, close the grill and let the smoke get started. This will be the last time, during the cooking cycle, you will have anything to do with the smoke. Too much smoke when cooking ribs on a gas grill makes the meat bitter tasting.
  • Place a pan of hot water (no sense wasting fuel to heat the water) under the meat side of the grill.

Cook 'Em

  • Place the ribs on the grill, opposite side of the fire, bone side down, to begin cooking. Avoid the ribs touching. For a successful barbecue beef rib recipe, never let the meat overlap the fire. You cannot undo crispy or burnt ribs! Close the lid and...
  • Resist peeking! You're loosing precious heat. Open the lid only far enough to do the job. Check the ribs for the first time in about 15-20 minutes to make sure the temperature is holding at around 200°F (93°C), and then check about every half hour to mop, turn 'em over to prevent "the singe". Mop should be applied lightly and sparingly.
  • You have time! If you have judiciously maintained the cooking temperature, peeked, mopped and turned the ribs quickly, you can leave your station several times before the ribs are done. When you barbecue beef ribs on a gas grill, think 5-8 hours 'til end-of-shift. When the meat starts to pull away from the end of the bones, use the tongs to wiggle a rib to test. Meat should be tender, and be loose from the bone, when done.

This barbecue beef rib recipe will produce a wonderful, natural flavor, so we emphasize the need to season lightly. If you wish, you can now bring out your favorite barbecue sauce and baste during the last half hour of cooking. We do not barbecue ribs with barbecue sauce, as this interferes with smoke absorption...and there goes your fame!

NOTE: If you cannot serve them immediately, wrap in aluminum foil, place in a brown paper bag and set aside . This gives you some time to get the meal together, and really helps make the meat tender!

Serve Em!...

...warm, cut individually, and for the "Cookin' Cousin's" taste, eat 'em just as they are, but...many folks like a "finishing sauce". This is nothing more than a barbecue sauce, of your choice, served as a side dish (or two), for the folks who would like to put something more on their ribs. Lets eat!

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