Grill-Roasted Short Ribs of Beef

By Gail Gordon Oliver

A couple of months ago I had a serious craving for smoked beef back ribs, which I greatly prefer over both baby-back and St. Louis-cut pork ribs. The beef ribs available at the butcher shop that day, however, looked big on bone and low on meat. Then I caught sight of a tray of English-cut short ribs (not to be confused with flanken-style short ribs), which have long bones and a thick, hefty chunk of meat on top. When I got home with the ribs, I realized that a recent snowfall had left my outdoor electric smoker virtually inaccessible. But it occurred to me that, although I had always previously thought of short ribs as a braising cut, there was no reason not to try dry-roasting them, especially since I’ve done the same with brisket. Into the oven they went. The next time around I did them on the grill.

And so, a new favourite year-round family meal was created. Feel free to pop some wood chips or chunks on the grill but, truthfully, these ribs are so juicy on the inside and have such a great crispy bark on the outside, that the smoke flavour imparted by wood chips is not at all missed.

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 tsp          kosher salt

1 tsp each        brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano

1/2 tsp each     ground coriander, ground cumin, ground mustard, paprika, freshly ground black pepper, ground turmeric

1/4 tsp each     ground cayenne, ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp             smoked paprika (optional)

6 pounds          English-cut beef short ribs (about 8 ribs)

In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, cumin, mustard, paprika, pepper, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, and smoked paprika (if using). Rub the seasoning mixture evenly over the top and sides of the ribs. Keep the ribs at room temperature for an hour or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the grill on low heat, with the centre burner off (or preheat the oven at 300º F). Place the ribs, bone side down, onto a roasting pan. Place the pan on the centre of the grill rack and cover the grill (or place the pan onto the centre rack of the oven). Roast until the meat is dark and crusty and fork tender, about 3 hours. Serve with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce (on the Spring 2015 Recipes page), if desired.