Origin: North American, Nose to Tail Cooking
Method: Grill, Smoker, or Fire PitJump to Recipe
Being from Kansas City, I love burnt ends. There are times, however, when I just do not have the time to spend smoking a brisket to get my burnt end fix. Thankfully, I discovered way to get that authentic burnt end flavor and texture, in about 1/4 of the time. Coming from a competition BBQ background, these beef short rib burnt ends also provide a perfect way to easily trial multiple rubs and sauces without committing to a single flavor profile like you need to do with a brisket.
Beef Short Ribs
Beef short ribs, also referred to as plate ribs are typically taken from ribs 6-10 and are the lower portion of the rib cage. These “dino-ribs” are the beefier version of beef ribs, with the majority of the juicy succulent meat sitting on top of the bone. By contrast, beef back ribs contain far less meat (as most is removed with the ribeye steak) and its meat is contained between the bones. It is the beefy short ribs that you want here. For this recipe we recommend using boneless short ribs. Bone in ribs are just to delicious not to smoke and eat as is. The fat marbling of these beef short ribs better mimics the marbling of brisket and provides a much better substitute to traditional brisket than the roasts used in other “poor man’s” burnt end recipes.
Making the Beef Short Rib Burnt Ends
Prepare and season the meat
Place your beef short ribs on a plate and pat dry with a paper towel. Prepare as many or as few as you want. You can figure about 1.5 boneless short ribs per person as a main entrée or about 1 beef short rib per person as part of a meal.
Season all sides of the short ribs with your favorite beef, steak, or brisket rub. It is often best to avoid overly salty rubs as these are smaller pieces of meat and a little salt can go a long way. A simple SPG (salt, pepper, garlic) rub also works well.
Let the meat sit at room temp while you prepare your grill or smoker.
Cooking the Beef Short Rib Burnt Ends
Next heat your grill or smoker to about 275-300 degrees. Cook over indirect heat.
Smoke the short ribs until the internal temp of the meat is about 185 degrees (about 1 hour and 30 minutes). You may choose to flip the meat a few times throughout the cook to help the outside brown more evenly.
When the internal temp of the short ribs reaches 185 degrees, remove the meat from the grill or smoker.
Note on firepit cooking:
If you are cooking over an open fire like a fire pit you will definitely want to flip the meat about every 15 minutes so it can cook evenly. You will also need to adjust the grate height periodically to maintain an even temperature as the heat from the fire fluctuates. You want to be cooking on a medium temp grill grate, about 300 degrees. Cooking over coals is the easiest was to maintain a steady temp but you can cook over flames if you are vigilant in monitoring your grate temp.
2 options for finishing the Beef Short Rib Burnt Ends
At this point you have a couple of options for finishing the burnt ends. One will result in a more sticky caramelized burnt end, and the other will tend to be a little more “beefy” with a thinner sauce consistency.
Option 1: Sticky-caramelized burnt ends
Cube the meat and place in a foil pan.
Mix the Beef Short Rib Burnt Ends with a little of your favorite BBQ sauce. A vinegar based sauce works best here. Try to avoid overly sweet sauces. Make sure the burnt ends are evenly coated with sauce.
Return the pan to the grill or smoker and cover with foil. Cook the meat for an additional 30-60 minutes or until the meat pieces probe tender (typically about 200-205 degrees). Check the meat for tenderness and temp and stir the burnt ends about every 15 minutes. Cook uncovered the final 5-10 minutes.
The finished burnt ends will by caramelized and tacky, and absolutely delicious.
Option 2: For a beefier, thinner sauced burnt end
After reaching 185 degrees remove the boneless short ribs from the smoker or grill. Wrap the short ribs in foil with about 1/4 cup of beef broth and an equal amount of BBQ sauce. Wrap tightly and return to the smoker.
Cook until the short ribs reach a temp of about 200 degrees (typically about 30 minutes but can vary). At this point remove from the foil and cube the meat. Place in a foil pan and lightly sauce. Cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes to allow the sauce to set, then remove from the smoker.
These meaty morsels are best served along with more great BBQ like Eastern North Carolina Pulled Pork, Smoky Hatch Mac and Cheese, ribs, and corn bread. Finish the meal off with some warm Fresh Blackberry Slump.
As always, consider making a double batch because these beefy bites never last long.
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Beef Short Rib Burnt Ends
- Grill, Smoker, or Fire Pit
- 6 Boneless Beef Short Ribs
- 1/2 Cup Favorite BBQ Sauce vinegar based works best
- Favorite BBQ Rub for Beef or Steak
- 1/4 Cup Beef Broth optional
- Pat your beef short ribs dry and season with your favorite BBQ rub on all sides. If possible try to avoid overly salty rubs or rubs with a lot of sugar.
- Preheat your grill or smoker to 275-300 degrees and set up for indirect cooking.
- Smoke the short ribs until the internal temp of the meat is about 185 degrees (about 1 hour and 30 minutes). You may choose to flip the meat a few times throughout the cook to help the outside brown more evenly.
"Sticky" Caramelized Burnt Ends
- Remove the short ribs from the grill/smoker and cube up the meat. Place the meat in a foil pan and stir in about 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce. Cover the pan with foil and return to the smoker for about 30-60 minutes.
- Cook until the meat pieces probe tender (typically about 200-205 degrees). Check the meat for tenderness and temp and stir the burnt ends about every 15 minutes. When the reach temp an tenderness remove from the smoker and serve warm.
"Beefy" Burnt Ends
- After reaching 185 degrees remove the meat from the smoker or grill. Wrap the short ribs in foil with about 1/4 cup of beef broth and an equal amount of BBQ sauce. Wrap tightly and return to the smoker.
- Cook until the meat reaches a temperature of about 200 degrees (about 30 minutes but can vary).
- Remove the short ribs from the foil and cube the meat. Place in a foil pan and lightly sauce with up to 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. Cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes to allow the sauce to set, then remove from the smoker. Serve warm.