Russ Crandall is The Domestic Man–and a very good friend of USWM. Way back in 2012, our beef back ribs were the inspiration for these delicious, Paleo Memphis-Style Barbecue Beef Back Ribs. But Russ’s recipe, including his Paleo barbecue sauce is definitely a keeper, so we’re revisiting it! You can read Russ’s original post here and see lots of great photos of his friend’s smoker (couldn’t we all use a friend with a portable smoker?!).
The Domestic Man’s Barbecue Beef Back Ribs
For this recipe we cooked two of the racks, totaling eight pounds. We opted for a dry, sauceless cooking method, typical of Memphis-style barbecue, with an hour’s braise in the middle to speed up the cooking process and to keep the ribs juicy and full of beefy flavor.
- Remove the two racks from their packaging, and gently rinse with water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Rub the yellow mustard over the tops of the ribs (1/2 tbsp per rack).
- One thing that surprised me is that we didn’t season the underside of the ribs at all. In the end, it made sense, both from a culinary standpoint and economically: the well-seasoned tops of the ribs had the overwhelming majority of the meat, and the unseasoned underside’s mild taste was an awesome complement to the tasty top.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the barbecue rub on each rack. Set the ribs aside while we prepare the smoker.
- For the uninitiated (which includes myself), here’s what a smoker looks like on the inside. The bottom section holds the fire, which allows you to regulate the temperature in the top section. If you’re using a grill, this is essentially the same setup as my indirect method of smoking meat, which you can find in recipes like my lemon and dill smoked chicken.
- Add a few handfuls of hardwood charcoal to the bottom element, along with a chunk of hickory and a chunk of applewood. If you’re using a grill, the same effect can be produced using wood chips on the heated side of the grill. Light a fire using lighter cubes and allow it to burn for five minutes before closing the drawer.
- Close everything up and allow the top section to reach and stabilize at 300 degrees. This part could take up to 30 minutes.
- Place the ribs in the smoker/grill on roasting pans or on heavy-duty tin foil, and smoke for two hours.
- After two hours, lay out two large sheets of heavy-duty tin foil and pour 1/4 cup of honey on each sheet in a zig-zag pattern like you see above.
- Place the ribs on top of the honey, top-side down. Curl up the sides of the tin foil, add 1/3 cup of red wine to each rack, and then seal up the ribs in the tin foil.
- Place the covered ribs back into the smoker, and smoke for another hour. After one hour, check for tenderness with a toothpick – the meat should be very tender and give way easily. If it’s still tough, put it back in the smoker and check it every 20-30 minutes.
- Take the ribs out of the tin foil and return to the smoker/grill for another 30 minutes to finish them off.
- Allow the ribs to rest for at least five minutes before cutting them up. Try not to get any drool on them while you wait.
- Using a knife or kitchen shears, separate each rib for maximum presentation and convenience.
- Spoon on some barbecue sauce right before serving, or serve it on the side. That’s it!