Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

How To Hang On: Slow Smoked Beef Ribs

A thin-blue smoke, patron to the scent of hickory, curled serenely from the pit damper and dissolved into a pastel-gray, Minnesota sky. It is beautiful here IMG_02261today, as I stroll in the back yard, somewhat labored through the deep snows. Like walking on the white sand beaches of Waikiki, but without the hassle of sunburn, and crowds of oil-slathered humans, or sand taking up roost in your nether places. Indeed, here at the pond-side pit, the snow drifts have conspired tall, wrought from a winter ever-lasting, yet business anyhow, and steadfastly, carries on. Like the stately Cardinal, beautiful in his red and black plumage, making the acquaintanceship of the bird feeder, pecking through the safflower seeds there, as it dangles and swings above the pit. Or the tracks of the local rabbit, hopping through the deep snow. I do not know what he finds to eat in a land so harsh and bare, but he does alright I guess, doing what ever it is that rabbits do in the winter months. And then there are the leaves of the sturdy old oak near by, which I have always held an admiration for. Here is leaf that which turns but does not easily fall, clinging on through the winter months, like the last illuminated photons at the tail of a rainbow. A reminder that another season does exist. And that the sun will rise again over fields of green.


I trudged back through the snow to the pit, hands warm in the pockets of my old woolen smoking jacket. I startled up some Black capped chickadees as I rounded the corner onto the patio, where upon I assessed the pit. 250 degrees and holding. A thin smoke gently wafting. It’s ready, I thought. Time to put the ribs on. And speaking of ribs, let me tell you a little more about them, and how they came to be, this lovely winter’s day at the pond-side pit.

IMG_13131Today, a real treat, and one of our very favorites – hickory smoked beef ribs. If you haven’t yet had occasion to enjoy a good beef rib, rest assured it is a veritable no-brainer very much worth your time. They’re real easy to do too. To start, we ripped the membrane off the back side. Beef rib membranes can be tighter than a tick to a hound dog, but persevere and you’ll get it. Then we rinsed the ribs under the tap for to wash clear any bone fragments or the like. Then hit them both sides with some Famous Dave’s Steak and Burger Seasoning. Or you can just use a salt and pepper if you’d like. Or what ever elaborate rub you may have in mind. But if it’s a good cut of beef, simple is often all you need on the matter of seasoning. As usual tho, the pit master has the final say, along with the token first bite to see if he actually knew what he was doing or not. Anyways, that is about it for prep on these ribs. We thus put them on the pit, bone side down, and got along with the all important business of drawing a manly beverage from the ice box and taking up residence someplace cozy.


Two hours passed, and maybe a little more than that, before I made my way out to the pit again, can of Coke in hand, to check in on things. The pit temp held stalwart, like Webers do, the smoke had mostly faded off, and the meat had pulled back a half-inch or so on the bones, which was right on schedule. Thus, and with little fan fare, the ribs were wrapped in aluminum foil, along with a splash of Coke for a steaming agent. Just a tablespoon or two is all that was needed. The rest was for the pit keeper! Foiled ribs and back on the pit, big lid replaced, and I was off again, striking an azimuth for my favorite man chair, remaining beverage in hand. I assumed the proper BBQ posture, and let the next hour or so take its course on me, as I dosed on and off, the Olympics bantering on the big screen, whilst the savory aromas of BBQ beef waft amid the patio environs. Dang people. I love smoking ribs!

About an hour and a half in the foil is all it took. They were done. Once out of the foil, you can sauce it if you please, but we are so smitten with the flavor of beef, we left it just like it was. And it was spectacular. A deep red smoke ring, married with a robust beefy flavor. A touch of garlic from the seasonings. Very nice. And just what we needed up here on the 45th parallel. A little something savory to take the edge off a long, and very keen winter. A statement if you will, to old man winter’s steely grip on the land, that we keepers of the flame will carry on despite. Like the leaves of the old oak tree, we hang but on slight tendrils, quivering, waiting for the rising sun. Amen.


Savory Slow Smoked Beef Ribs over a Hickory/charcoal fire, sided with home-made garlic mashed potatoes, and a lovely vegetable medley for to please the lady folk. Yum is in effect! If this don’t help pass a winter day it’s probably too late!

48 responses

  1. You guys have style! It looks awesome!

    February 20, 2014 at 10:00 am

  2. Reblogged this on ronfeir and commented:

    February 20, 2014 at 10:11 am

  3. Well done!

    February 20, 2014 at 10:11 am

    • Thanks much!

      February 20, 2014 at 10:13 am

      • I like your work. Keep ‘um coming! Please follow my blogs, as well. My Twitter account is @ronfeir Thanks!

        February 20, 2014 at 10:16 am

  4. Though a little hard to tell, those look like the ribs pealed off the rib steak. Though not as meaty as the standard beef short ribs, they are far more tender. Anyway, I love beef ribs, and those look almost sinful.

    February 20, 2014 at 11:13 am

    • Thanks Rick, they were beyond sinful I think! They were also very cheap I know, which surprised me for ribs. I’d trust your judgement much further than my own as to what portion of the cow they came off of. All I know is that tasted amazing, and I’d gladly do them again. I love beef ribs too! Yum!

      February 20, 2014 at 1:57 pm

  5. Gotta love a beef rib. The wife and I had Valentine’s dinner at Lawry’s in Dallas last weekend. Lawry’s has been a special place for her from her teenage years in Orange County where the Five Crowns was where they had family celebrations. After the “carving master” sliced our selections, he cut off a bone and set it to the side. Me, being me, I was quick to inquire, “What are you going to do with that bone?” It went on to my plate and it was a meaty treat. Mama made it clear that there would be no picking it up and going at it like a T-Rex, which I could live with, but we did learn later while joking around with the waiter that the grip it and rip it tactic is often used in that elegant place. Beef ribs – gotta love ’em.

    February 20, 2014 at 11:40 am

    • Haha, enjoyable story Joel! I use that technique myself, no matter how classy the establishment. There is just something about meat on the bone, and gnawing on it like a pit bull, that simply sets a man straight in his ways again. Bless ya for requesting the bone. We are off the same tree that way, you and I.

      Have a great day, Joel. Thanks for the story!

      February 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

  6. Once again, I wish WordPress would come up with a, “love” button. “Like” simply does not adequately convey my feelings toward beef ribs slow cooked on a backyard grill and your colorful narrative detailing the event. Gotta love it!

    February 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    • Consider your love then acknowledged, John in Ecuador. It is our high privilege to bring you the account vicariously through the cold folds of cyberspace, and unto your computer screen there in the paradise. Drool on the keyboard is your own problem tho.

      Take care, and bless you both!

      February 20, 2014 at 2:04 pm

  7. This reads like a love letter to a rack of ribs… I’m swooning! Wonderful stuff.

    February 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

  8. Did my first beef ribs during the super bowl, turned out gr8.

    February 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm

  9. Hey my Smokie Brutha … another job well done! As to ‘where’ they come from … yours are the bones taken off the Rib (as in Prime) section (a full rack has 7 total). The typical Short Rib section has more meat on TOP of the bones and come from the Blade section of the carcass (there should be no more than 4 of them in a rack). I’m going to write something about these bad boys myself one of these days. Again … good job my friend … stay hungry.

    February 20, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    • Ah thanks Dougie! Always a treat when the resident butcher chimes in. Thank you kindly!

      February 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      • Stay hungry friend … 🙂

        February 21, 2014 at 4:35 am

  10. As always a meaty read and a delicious recipe. I will have to admit I have never grilled beef ribs, pork yes, all manner of beef but never the ribs. This sounds to good, that plate with the garlic potoato mash and veggie medley is making me so hungry.

    February 20, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    • Oh you need to try it then. It’s no more challenging than pork ribs really, and a most notable difference in taste. A good beef flavor for sure. Good eating.

      February 20, 2014 at 7:07 pm

  11. Love the post, guys!

    Beef ribs are fast becoming my favourite rib due to them being half the price but twice the meat of pork ribs!

    February 20, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    • Our feelings are mutual! Beef ribs are just plain awesome. Thanks for chiming in to our beef rib banter!

      February 20, 2014 at 6:15 pm

  12. Pingback: Things are Leeking Around Here | Did That Just Happen Blog

  13. Liz

    So do you like smoking ribs because you can take a nap while you cook? Because this sounds very appealing…

    February 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    • Liz, that is half the reason I fancy the long smokes as I do! I am a student of leisure!

      February 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm

  14. I never slow smoked anything, gotta give this a try.

    February 20, 2014 at 9:23 pm

  15. laurie27wsmith

    It’s cooking like this that would bring a vegetarian back to the fold. 🙂

    February 21, 2014 at 2:58 am

    • Ah yes, I’ve heard of more than one vegetarian falling off the wagon when they entered a good BBQ joint. Its hard to blame them.

      February 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

      • laurie27wsmith

        I think vegetarian was an ancient term for people who couldn’t hunt. 😉

        February 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm

  16. Nicely done, Sir! I love a good beef rib. Unfortunately around here they often resemble anorexic cows due to the butchers’ over eagerness with a knife and a desire to cut as much meat off as possible. Oh how I long for beef ribs with and inch and a half to two inches of meat on them. If not more…

    February 21, 2014 at 6:32 am

    • I know it, good ones are real hard to find it seems. At least up here. I would have thought Texas would have been the place to be for mass selections of beef ribs. Aw well.

      Thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure!

      February 21, 2014 at 8:49 am

    • The reason you rarely find Beef ribs with a lot of meat on them is because the butcher can get MUCH more for the Rib Eye (which is where they come from) than the bones. Try the Short Ribs instead … they come from the chuck and are MUCH meatier. Roast or smoke them, low and slow …. you won’t be disappointed.

      February 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      • I’m going to write something next week re: the Short Rib … keep an eye out for it. Stay hungry friends

        February 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      • Sounds good. Looking forwards to it!

        February 21, 2014 at 5:57 pm

  17. Debbie Spivey


    February 21, 2014 at 8:47 am

  18. In a word…Yessum!!!

    February 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

  19. I’m coming over. Oh wait, I live in Texas.

    February 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    • Aw well, you’ll surely find better than this in Texas anyways. That is the kingdom of beef!

      February 21, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      • Haha!

        February 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

  20. I would brave the cold for ribs like this.

    February 24, 2014 at 2:31 am

    • You and me too! Thanks Kim!

      February 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      • Heading to MN later this week… still craving ribs done right… snowbanks or not! 🙂

        February 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      • One of our favorite bbq joints, and it’s only a few years old, is called Q Fanatics. It’s in the northern suburb town of Champlin, and they do a right fine rack of ribs. Better than fine. They even made it to the show diners, drives and dives, or what ever its called. It’s worth a stop if you’re in that area.

        Safe travels!

        February 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm

  21. Reblogged this on Rickman Rights Blog and commented:
    Well done.. I’ve been stuck on pork but need to try beef ribs again.

    February 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm

  22. Pingback: Do you like BBQ…Then Check out Patrons of the Pit | SwittersB & Fly Fishing

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