Friday, June 22, 2018

Smoking Session: BBQ Beef Short Ribs from Costco

By Dru Chai

Recently I discovered that my local Costco started selling uncut USDA prime bone-in short ribs for just under $5 a pound. That is an absolute steal, because many specialty butcher shops charge up to $16 per pound for these "plate" short ribs. They are vacuum-sealed and are approximately 8-9 pounds. I couldn't resist and threw them in my shopping cart.

I already wrote about my experience smoking BBQ beef short ribs last year. If you love BBQ and if you already have a smoker, the BBQ beef short rib is truly one of the best pieces of meat to smoke. Short rib comes from the lower part of the ribs from the cow, and are usually cut into thinner and smaller pieces most often seen at the butcher shop from your typical grocery store.

But when these beef short ribs are left uncut, or as "plated" beef ribs -- you can transform them into a monster short rib that is juicy, succulent, and full of beefy flavor. At many BBQ restaurants, if they happen to make these available, they charge anywhere from $25-30 PER rib. For about $45 at Costco, one package yields about 6-7 ribs. 

Since I love Texas-style BBQ, I used a simple salt and pepper rub and threw it on my Weber Smokey Mountain at 225 degrees F with pecan wood to give it a subtle touch of sweetness versus the heavier flavor of hickory. After about 3 hours, I took a peek at the ribs. 

You can see that the meat has pulled away from the edges of the bones. The edges started to caramelize faster than some other parts, so I made sure to rotate the grill so that the bark would form more evenly on all sides.

After about 5 hours in the smoker, the internal temp of the beef ribs hovered around 190-195 degrees F, so I pulled them out of the smoker and wrapped the ribs in butcher paper to let the meat rest and for the juices to redistribute. It was agonizing to wait for about a hour, since I was hungry and it smelled so good! When I finally cut through the first rib, it exposed the slightly pink smoke ring as well as a slightly pink color throughout the meat from the hours of smoking.

What makes the beef short ribs so good, so that there is very little fat wasted during and after the smoking process. Unlike the beef brisket, where you have to trim a considerable amount of fat before smoking, the fat is already dispersed throughout the ribs. The texture is very similar to the brisket point -- or the burnt ends of the brisket. The end result is a super juicy rib FULL of beef flavor, rendered fat with a subtle kiss of smoke. Plus, unlike the brisket, short ribs are very difficult to screw up and overcook. 

So the next time you see uncut beef short ribs at Costco, or anywhere else for that matter, pick them up! Everyone will want to be your best friend. 


  1. Did you have to remove a membrane on the bone side before smoking them?

    1. Actually, there was no membrane on these beef short ribs.

    2. I’ve seen packs of them sold at Costco and I’m curious if they’re actual plate ribs. On the label it says chuck short ribs.

      Did you cut any of the fat cap off the top or leave it on?

    3. I live in Southern California, and unfortunately my local Costco does not sell beef plate ribs. I can hardly find the chuck short ribs anymore since I posted about them here. Both are excellent, the difference is the plate ribs have that wow factor because they are the biggest and beefiest rib weighing about 1 to 1.5 pound per rib. BBQ restaurants serve these and I'm sure they have access to wholesale distributors and not for the typical consumer like myself.

      Where are you located? I didn't cut any of the fat cap off. The fat kept the ribs juicy, and rendered down perfectly when done smoking.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. you can ask the butcher at Costco. Many times they do not put them out.. cut them and repackage. But they have them often.. just ask "beef short rib PLATE"

  2. Replies
    1. Ah, you're lucky you're in Texas! :)

    2. So yeah, doesn't hurt to ask if they have plate ribs but chances are they are chuck short ribs like the ones I featured in my post.

  3. I believe they are chuck short ribs. Still, I think I’m going to give a shot. If they don’t turn out well, I’ll still have my pork belly burnt ends to save the day. Thanks for the advice and info!

  4. What part of Southern California?

  5. "Whether you like your meat medium rare or fully done, Leg OFF Bones Pad is wonderfully moist and can be cooked to perfection.Majestic Meats - Wholesale Meat Suppliers
    Unit 2-3, Crossley Hall Works
    York Street
    BD8 0HR

    T: 01274 544675
    E:" meat suppliers

  6. Who has been able to pick out the best product among those listed on this site for Best Kamado Smokers and Grills?

  7. Impressive web site, Distinguished feedback that I can tackle. Im moving forward and may apply to my current job as a pet sitter, which is very enjoyable, but I need to additional expand. Regards. BioHazard Cleanup

  8. I’m trampled by your contents carry on the wonderful work. สล๊อตxo