The Meatwave

Salt and Pepper Smoked Short Ribs

Salt and Pepper Smoked Short Ribs View Recipe

Usually the Superbowl for me is nothing more than an excuse to make as much food to fatten up me and my guests—football is just a side note to the event. Something different happened this year though. Through the post-season, I've entertained and cooked for most of the games and I've found myself more into football than usual, especially with the special surprise the Giants pulled off. So with bigger interest comes loftier goals for food. I was thinking of trading in a batch of wings for pork ribs, but then I thought, why stop there? So I went upward, looking to a bone of meat that can mae a baby back quiver in fear—beef short ribs.

Short RIbs

I've been taking a minimalist approach with my beef to superior results. All that beef really needs is salt and pepper, letting the meat puff its beefy chest in a display thats forces attraction. At least that's what I thought, until my good friend and barbecue buddy Nick served me smoked short ribs with an out-of-this world bark. His secret, just a bit of garlic powder along with the heavy hit of salt and pepper.

Short RIbs

So my short ribs got a similar treatment, rubbed down with a mixture of salt, white pepper, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. That's all the pre-game these babies require—there's enough fat to keep them moist through cooking, and enough flavor there's no need for a brine or marinade.

Short RIbs

My previous attempts at short ribs were only so-so. Through my mishaps, I learned the extra importance of cooking short ribs until just tender, but not overdoing it—going one way or the other ends up chewy meat that is not so pleasant to eat.

Short RIbs

Cooking low-and-slow does afford a nice window though to get this right. My smaller ribs started to be done just after the 4 hour mark, when I pulled the first batch. The rest kept smoking, and after another hour, we pulled off as much as we needed to eat, with still more left on the smoker. Finally, after 6 hours total, the last short ribs were off and still delectable, although much more time than that and they may have started to get dry and tough.

Short RIbs

I would like to declare smoked short ribs the official rib of the Superbowl. A game so big deserves something so naturally delicious with huge flavor as these ribs. The simple rub created an excellent bark that was salty and spicy, whose big flavor could only be outdone with extreme beefiness of the meat itself. A smokiness rounded out the flavor department to create one rib that's so dominating that it would even have the Pats running back to Massachusetts in fear (which may just be NY's best play to win the game).

Print Recipe

Salt and Pepper Smoked Short Ribs

  • Yield 4-6 servings
  • Prep 5 Minutes
  • Cook 4 Hours
  • Total 4 Hours 5 Minutes


  • For the rub
  • 3 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 bones full short ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • 1 cup apple juice in spray bottle
  • 3-4 chunks of a medium smoking wood, such as oak or hickory


  1. In a small bowl combine black pepper, white pepper, salt, paprika, and garlic powder to make the rub. Season ribs all over liberally with the rub.
  2. Fire up smoker or grill to 225 degrees, adding chunks of smoking wood chunks when at temperature. When the wood is ignited and producing smoke, place the ribs in the smoker or grill, meat side up, and smoke until ribs reach 180 degrees on an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the meat, about 4 to 5 hours. Spray ribs with apple juice about every hour during cooking.
  3. Remove ribs from smoker, let rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

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  1. Dustin Moskowitz Question for you - do you think it would make sense to cut the ribs first and then smoke them? I'm wondering if that wouldn't give you more surface area for a good crust, and maybe cut down on the cooking time?

  2. Josh @Dustin Moskowitz Yes, I cut mine into individual ribs before smoking them.

  3. Chris I have found I do better with short ribs when I do a smoke then braise (ala Chris Lilly's method). Maybe I should give them another try cooked naked the whole time.

  4. Steve I made boneless short ribs using this recipe last night and they came out great! Thanks for sharing.

  5. lasilvera I'm trying to figure out your BBQ setup from the pics (which look ridiculously good). Is your meat right over the coals, or is there a heat diffuser between them? It sure looks like they are right over the coals.

  6. Josh @lasilvera These were done on my Weber Smokey Mountain, so it's indirect heat, smoked at 225 degrees. You can do them on the grill over indirect heat, but it's harder to maintain the low temperature.