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Barbecued Beef Back Ribs

September 4, 2010

By Kath Dedon


It’s Labor Day Weekend, so why not try Barbecued Beef Back Ribs?

For years I have made beef ribs quickly in a hot oven. After reading a recent post on Leite’s Culinaria about doing them “low and slow” on the grill, I decided to try my own version of Barbecued Beef Back Ribs.



I have “good news” and “bad news” about my experience with Barbecued Beef Back Ribs. First the “bad news” (at least for me, or so I thought): After 1½ hours on my gas grill, I ran out of “gas”. We always keep an extra propane tank for such emergencies and Bob always quickly changes the tanks. Well, Bob wasn’t home. I could have changed it myself, but I chose not to. (That, by the way, is the same philosophy that I have about driving a car with a stick. I can do it, but I choose not to.) So on to plan B, which leads me to my “good news”.

Plan B involved finishing the ribs in the oven. The “good news” is my discovery that these ribs can be made successfully in the oven! Which is very good news for those of you who don’t have grills. They won’t have the smoky taste of a barbecue, but they are still mighty tasty!

The original recipe posted on Leite’s Culinaria is from Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings, by Ray Lampe. Ray finishes the ribs by removing them from the foil, covering with barbecue sauce, and finishing them in a hot (400˚) barbecue. I eliminated that step; we thought the ribs were great without the barbecue sauce and without the extra 45 minutes of high heat.

Since I had some on hand, I used the Southern Barbecue Dry Rub from Joy of Cooking. You can try that, or use your favorite rub.


Barbecued Beef Back Ribs

(Inspired by a recipe by Ray Lampe in Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings and posted on


(print the recipe)


Allow about 1 pound of ribs per person. There’s not much meat on the bones.


Serves 2 – 3, doubles easily


2 ¾ pounds beef back ribs

Southern Barbecue Dry Rub* (or your favorite barbecue rub)

(About 1 – 1½ cups of your favorite Barbecue sauce, optional)


1. Preheat your grill or your oven to 250˚.

2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Loosen with a sharp knife, grab it with a paper towel, and pull. Don’t worry if you can’t get it all.

3. Rub the Southern Barbecue Dry Rub all over the ribs.

4. If using the oven, put the ribs on a rack in a broiler pan and put them in the preheated oven. If using the grill, use the Indirect Method; leave one burner on and put the ribs directly on the grill over the burners that are turned off. Close the cover. Check the grill frequently (especially at first) and adjust the hot burner as needed to maintain 250˚ – 275˚.

My ribs, covered with rub and started on the grill.


5. Cook the ribs for 2 ½ hours.

6. Remove the ribs from the oven or the grill. Wrap them tightly in 2 layers of heavy duty foil, and put them back in the oven or on the grill.

Wrapping the ribs in foil


Ribs wrapped to go back on the grill (without the pan) or into the oven (with the pan)

7. Cook for an additional hour.

At this point, I decided our ribs were “good to go” and we enjoyed them. This is where you can choose to remove the ribs from the foil, cover with your favorite barbecue sauce, raise the heat of the oven or the grill to 400˚, and cook them for an additional 30 – 40 minutes. Turn them occasionally during this period.

8. Cut the ribs and enjoy!


*Southern Barbecue Dry Rub

(adapted from Joy of Cooking)


¼ cup sweet paprika

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons ground pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. The rub can be used with pork or beef.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2010 1:02 pm

    certainly looks tempting…..susan

  2. September 4, 2010 6:11 pm

    wow….those ribs must have been so tender and so delicious!! I wish I could have been there to taste those beauties! I hope you are having a great labor day weekend!

    • September 6, 2010 6:55 am

      Thanks, Dennis. They were quite tender and delicious! Hope you are enjoying this holiday weekend, as well!

  3. September 4, 2010 6:56 pm

    looks tasty! love ribs – great for a Labor Day barbeque!

  4. September 6, 2010 8:18 am

    These really look and sound delicious. It must have been a wonderful meal. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  5. September 6, 2010 2:46 pm

    Thank you for this Recipe, My husband loves grilling and does one of the the best smoked pork loins I have ever had.. I am going to get him to try these and see what he thinks.

    • September 6, 2010 3:04 pm

      Thank you, Ashlee! Let me know how it works for your husband, if he tries it. I’m actually looking forward to trying it again when I have a full tank of propane!

  6. September 6, 2010 9:12 pm

    I don’t change propane tanks either.

    Anyway, when my dad makes pork or beef ribs, he roasts them on low low heat for a few hours in the oven. Then he finishes them off on the grill to get all the nice caramelization and charring. I think your oops did it right–the combo of the two is awesome.

    • September 7, 2010 4:25 pm

      I think your dad’s way sounds great! Maybe next time I’ll start them out in the oven and then put them on the grill after the hour in the foil. Good idea! 🙂

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