How Long Do Beef Ribs Take to Smoke? The Complete Guide

Beef ribs are becoming increasingly popular to smoke due to their incredibly rich, beefy flavor when prepared low and slow on a smoker. But smoking beef ribs takes patience – it can easily take 8 hours or more to smoke beef ribs to tender, fall-off-the-bone perfection. Here’s a complete guide to how long beef ribs take to smoke.

What Are Beef Ribs?

Beef ribs come from the rib section of a cow. There are two main cuts of beef ribs that are good for smoking:

  • Plate ribs – Taken from the belly section, plate ribs tend to be meatier with more marbling. Plate ribs usually have 3 bones.

  • Chuck ribs – From the chuck section (shoulder), chuck ribs are leaner with less fat marbling. Chuck ribs usually have 4-5 bones.

For smoking, look for racks of plate or chuck ribs around 4-5 pounds. Avoid back ribs, which have very little meat and get overcooked easily.

Prepping Beef Ribs for Smoking

Proper prep is key for maximizing smoke flavor and tenderness when cooking beef ribs:

  • Remove membrane – Beef ribs have a tough membrane on the bone side. Remove it with a knife for better smoke penetration.

  • Trim fat – Trim off any hard fat deposits from the top of the ribs. Leave some marbling for moisture.

  • Season generously – Use a tasty dry rub. Mustard helps the rub adhere.

  • Let sit – Let ribs rest 30-45 minutes after seasoning so spices can penetrate the meat.

How Long to Smoke Beef Ribs

Smoking beef ribs low and slow is ideal to break down connective tissue. Here are general timelines:

  • 3 hours – Get initial smoke flavor and start rendering fat at 250-275°F.

  • 45 mins – 1 hour – Start spritzing every 45 mins-1 hour to prevent drying out.

  • 6-10 hours total – Smoke until ribs reach 203°F internal temp. Time varies by rack size.

  • 1 hour rest – Wrap in butcher paper and rest in a cooler before slicing.

So in total, smoking beef ribs takes 8-10 hours or more, with active smoking time of 6-10 hours. Have patience! Low and slow is key for tender, flavorful ribs.

Tips for Smoking Beef Ribs

Follow these tips for perfection when smoking beef ribs:

  • Use a rub – A salt and pepper beef rub adds great flavor during the long smoking time.

  • Spritz – Spritzing with a vinegar/hot sauce mix prevents drying out. Do every 45 mins-1 hour once smoking.

  • Don’t wrap – Skipping wrapping allows for better bark formation.

  • Cook to 203°F – Smoke until ribs reach an internal temp of 203°F for ideal tenderness.

  • Rest 1 hour – Giving the ribs time to rest is crucial to allow juices to redistribute.

Step-By-Step Guide

Follow this simple step-by-step guide for smoking incredible beef ribs:

  1. Prep – Remove membrane, trim fat, season generously with beef rub.

  2. Preheat smoker – Heat to 250-275°F with desired smoking wood.

  3. Smoke 3 hours – Place ribs in smoker meat-side up. Smoke for first 3 hours.

  4. Spritz and continue smoking – Start spritzing every 45 mins-1 hour. Smoke until 203°F internal temp (6-10 hours).

  5. Rest – Wrap in butcher paper and rest 1 hour before slicing.

  6. Serve – Slice between bones and enjoy!

Perfect Pairings

Smoked beef ribs go great with these sides:

  • Baked beans
  • Corn on the cob
  • Coleslaw or potato salad
  • Mac and cheese
  • Greens like collard greens or spinach
  • Cornbread or biscuits

The possibilities are endless! Use your favorite barbecue sides.

Safety Tips

Observe these safety tips when working with raw beef ribs:

  • Always wash hands and prep tools after handling raw meat.

  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods.

  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat.

  • Cook beef ribs to an internal temperature of at least 145°F to kill bacteria.

  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. Reheat fully when ready to eat again.


What wood is best for smoking beef ribs?

Hickory, oak, and mesquite all pair deliciously with beef. Use a heavier smoke wood like these.

Should you wrap beef ribs?

Wrapping isn’t necessary. Skip it for better bark formation. Just spritz regularly to prevent drying out.

What temp do you smoke beef ribs?

Aim for 250-275°F smoker temp. Smoke until ribs reach 203°F internal temp for perfect tenderness.

Do beef ribs need to rest?

Yes, letting them rest 1 hour after smoking allows juices to redistribute so meat stays juicy.

Can you smoke beef ribs at 300 degrees?

It’s best to smoke low and slow at 250-275°F. If needed, you can go up to 300°F, but tenderness may be affected.

How do you know when beef ribs are done?

They’re done when tender and probe-like-butter at 203°F, and the meat has shrunk back 1⁄4-1⁄2 inch from the ends of the bones.

Get Smoking!

Beef ribs may take patience, but the result of incredibly tender, smoke-infused beef is well worth the time. With the right technique, you can achieve competition-worthy ribs right in your own backyard smoker. Next time you’re craving serious beef flavor, try your hand at smoking a rack of beef ribs. Your patience will be rewarded in the most delicious way.

This is How To Smoke Beef BACK Ribs the Best Way


How long does it take to smoke beef ribs at 225?

Cover the container and place the ribs in the fridge for 2 hours to dry brine. After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the fridge and allow them to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes (do not rinse off the rub). Smoke at 225°F (107°C) for 4-5 hours or until they get as tender as you like them.

How long to smoke beef plate ribs at 250?

Smoke for at 250-275 degrees until the meat is probe tender, anywhere between 205-210 degrees internal. Approx 6-8 hours. Wrap the ribs in pink butcher paper and rest for 1 hour in a cooler before slicing.

Are beef ribs good for smoking?

They come from the beef chuck and usually have 3 or 4 pieces of rib bones in a rack. Short ribs are perfect for smoking because they have plenty of meat and fat on them. It is known for its tenderness when cooked low and slow, letting the fat and collagen integrate into the ribs.

Do beef ribs stall when smoking?

After about 6-7 hours, the internal temperature of the beef will stall at approximately 160f – it will not move – no matter how much extra fire you put under that beef! This is completely normal and after about an hour the temperature will start to rise again, very slowly, until it hits 195f.

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