Beef Ribs may not get the kind of respect that pork ribs do, but these giant sticks of meat do produce fantastic barbecue. Smoked low and slow, you will end up with a plate full of goodness. Similar to pork ribs, it is important to cook beef just right, to render the fat and produce a tender, moist, and flavorful end result.
Start the process by trimming off excess fat and removing the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. Removing the membrane is the key to a flavorful outcome. Beef ribs have a thick, tough membrane that acts as a barrier to both the smoke and the seasonings from the rub. Fortunately, the membrane is very easy to remove. With a blunt knife, start in one corner and gently lift the membrane from the bone. Once you have a good start, grab it with a paper towel to get a firm grip and pull. It may take a bit of strength but if you are careful and pull evenly and firmly, you should be able to lift it off in one piece.
Now that the membrane is off, give the ribs a good wash. Trim off any loose pieces of fat or meat but do not remove too much fat. This is necessary to help keep the ribs moist as they cook and most of the fat will melt away during the cooking process anyway. Once cleaned and trimmed, add a good seasoning rub and place in the preheated smoker.
Although, beef ribs can be cooked on a grill, it will seldom produce the kind of tenderness and flavor that it does from a smoker. Smoke whole racks, as large as your smoker will allow. Beef ribs are usually cut into racks of 4 or 5 bones, which is still a pretty big piece of meat. Take care not to block the airflow in your smoker. This might require doing some stacking, but try to give the beef ribs as much space as possible to let the smoke get to them. If you need to stack slabs ribs onto each other, then you should re-stack them during the smoking process to equally distribute the smoke flavor.
These ribs should be smoked at around 225 to 250 degrees F. I find that they will be tender and tasty after 6 to 7 hours on the smoker. But remember the longer you go with a lower temperature, the smokier the ribs are going to be.
I typically put barbecue sauce on the ribs during the last hour of smoking. Cut them into individual ribs and serve on very large plates with plenty of napkins. I like to make extra ribs, but plan on about 3 ribs per person.