Extremely hands off, foolproof way to cook beef ribs – slow cooked in the oven in a homemade BBQ Sauce braising liquid until the meat is fall apart and ridiculously juicy inside, and the outside is bronzed and sticky.
BONUS: this all happens in one pan, it’s 100% perfect for make ahead and freezing, and makes its own barbecue sauce (and it might be the best you ever have in your life!).
Slow cooked BBQ Beef Ribs
Beef ribs are the king of all beef cuts (pretty sure I said that in my Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce too). They are juicier than brisket and chuck (there’s always a few lean-ish patches, that’s just the way that cut is). Beef Cheeks come close, but ribs have one big thing going for them that cheeks do not:
I don’t know what it is about fall apart meat on a bone, but it gets me every time. Hence my ever increasing collection of lamb shank recipes. And pork ribs. And now it seems I’ve moved onto beef ribs!
If you’re new to beef ribs, this is an excellent way to introduce them into your life, and I’ll wager that they’ll become a regular fixture. The sweet-savoury flavour of the BBQ Sauce is a perfect match with the beefy flavour of ribs.
And it’s virtually a foolproof recipe – you just need to ensure it’s cooked long enough so the beef becomes like THIS:
BBQ Beef Ribs Rub
Here’s what you need for the Rub. There’s quite a few substitutions possible so don’t fret if you don’t have every item:
Beef ribs do come in a variety of cuts, but I’m using the most common cut (here in Australia) which is also called beef short ribs. It’s a chunky rectangle block, cut with individual bones and are very meaty.
They shrink about 30% so try to get big meaty ones. But if you can only get small ones ~250g/8oz, that’s still ok!
Beef rib RACK: sometimes you see beef ribs in rack form. They typically have less meat on them. They will work great in this recipe too – see recipe card for directions. However, make sure you do NOT use the rib racks that come vac packed – these have been brined and will be too salty (read ingredients, if it has anything in it other than beef, then it’s brined ie salt injected).
Beef alternative cuts: beef cheeks and chuck (cut into baseball size chunks) will both work really great here. For brisket, use the Barbecue Beef Brisket recipe.
- Brown sugar – sub white
- Garlic powder – 1 tsp minced garlic (using press) per 1 tsp powder
- Onion powder – garlic powder
- Mustard powder – dijon or standard mustard
If subbing fresh garlic or mustard spread, then rub those wet ingredients on first before pressing into dry rub.
Beef Ribs braising liquid / homemade BBQ sauce
And here’s what you need for the homemade BBQ Sauce which doubles as the braising liquid for the beef ribs (so it absorbs flavour as it slow cooks which is why we don’t need to marinate these ribs):
- Ketchup is the primary flavour base for homemade barbecue sauce. You’ll find it in all my barbecue sauce flavoured recipes, including this (easy!) midweek Baked BBQ Chicken, BBQ Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce and slow cooked brisket with BBQ Sauce. Sub with Aussie Tomato Sauce – it’s almost as good;
- Cider vinegar – the tang in homemade barbecue sauce. Sub with white wine vinegar, sherry or Champagne vinegar OR 1/3 cup normal white vinegar;
- Brown sugar – barbecue sauce issweet. If you don’t like sweet, you can cut it back.
- Garlic – I really like using fresh but powder is fine too;
- Onion powder – sub garlic powder;
- Mustard powder – sub with dijon or normal yellow mustard (not hot English mustard! Unless you WANT the heat!)
- Worcestershire Sauce – savoury element. Soy sauce (all purpose or light) is an acceptable sub (it won’t make it Asiany);
- Cayenne – for a hum of warmth. This is not overly spicy. If you’re concerned, start with less and you can adjust right at the end. If you like it hot, start with the recipe amount then add hot sauce at the end.
How to make BBQ Beef Ribs
Dead easy – everything goes into the pan, then you slow cook it in a moderate oven until the meat is fall apart tender. It’s fabulously foolproof because there’s a big window before the meat will start to dry out from overcooking – I’ve left it in 1 1/2 hours too long and it was STILL juicy!
PRO TIP: Make in advance
If you’re a first timer or worried about cook timing for a scheduled meal (re: whether it will take longer for the beef to become fall-apart tender), make it earlier in the day or even the day before…or the day before! As with all slow cooked things (like stews, shanks), the flavour gets better with time and it’s really straightforward to reheat.
That makes this a sensational dinner party option! It plates up really elegantly, posh restaurant style – and I have options below for fine-dining type sides instead of the hearty finger-licking type sides pictured (Coleslaw and steamed corn, classic BBQ sides)
Here’s a close up look at the homemade Barbecue Sauce you end up with in the pan. The beauty of this method of cooking is that the juices from the ribs mix in with the sauce, so you’re essentially make it with the ultimate money-can’t-buy beef stock!
ANOTHER PRO TIP: For a posh restaurant experience, strain the sauce to make it silky smooth. I do this for VIPs only.
In the recipe video, I make this entirely in the oven, including the caramelisation at the end. But if it were warmer weather, I would have finished it on the BBQ! I’ve included directions for grilling in the recipe.
What to serve with BBQ Beef Ribs
As promised, I’m going to offer up a couple of different options for how to serve beef ribs – rustic, finger lickin’ barbecue style OR elegant fine dining style (and yep, beef ribs certainly appear on the menu of fine dining restaurants, prized for the juicy qualities and because it CAN be plated up elegantly):
Rustic Finger Lickin’ Good Barbecue Sides
I don’t know what it is about sides with mayo based dressings, but they just go so well with anything glazed with barbecue sauce!
Elegant sides, fine dining style
Whichever way you go, it will be a hit. I know it, you know it! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Life of Dozer
This calendar was a gift. And I was secretly extra thrilled because I thought it might be borderline too crazy-dog-lady to make one myself.
So I keep my fingers crossed every year on my birthday and Christmas that someone will give me a Dozer calendar. Eight years in, and I’ve never had to!! Someone always comes through!