How to Smoke Beef Ribs on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill

Learn how to smoke a beef ribs on a Pit Boss pellet grill following our detailed instructions and recipe below!

Smoked Beef Short Ribs are amazingly fun and delicious BBQ and especially easy to cook on a Pit Boss  pellet grill.

a sliced smoked beef rib


What to Look for When Buying Beef Ribs to Smoke on a Pit Boss

Make sure to go to a real butcher shop, not your local chain store, and buy an uncut, thick, meaty, square looking slab of beef short ribs, sometimes called plate short ribs.

raw beef ribs on a pit boss pellet grill

You DO NOT want Crosscut, Korean-style, or Flanken Cut, as this style of butchering cuts across the bones leaving you with tiny segments of bone surrounded by meat.

Great for braising and korean style grilling, and while you CAN smoke them if they are butchered this way, they are harder to deal with and not as fun to eat or present as a full size beef rib.

You also DO NOT want Beef BACK ribsThese come from the upper “back” of the cow and are leaner and longer and don’t hold up as well to low and slow smoking. They are exactly where your ribeye steaks and prime rib roasts attach.

Beef Short Ribs, what we want, are well…shorter…and have the meat primarily ON TOP of the bone vs. beef back ribs that have the meat in between the bones.

What you want ideally is an uncut 3 bone slab of beef short ribs that weighs about 5-7 lbs uncooked.

This is perfect for smoking on the Pit Boss pellet grill.


How to Prepare Beef Ribs for the Pit Boss Pellet Grill

Trim the Beef Ribs

A rack of beef short ribs is likely not going to have a thick fat cap like you would find on a beef brisket or pork butt.

trimming fat from beef ribs

So, you don’t have to do too much trimming other than to remove the small layer of silverskin you’ll see running over the top.  Make sure to remove this so your seasoning can actually make contact with the meat below it.

Use a good sharp boning knife like our favorite from iMarku.

Also, make sure to leave the membrane on the bottom of beef short ribs INTACT.

Unlike our pork ribs where we remove the bottom membrane, on beef ribs we need to leave this membrane in place.

the membrane on a rack of beef ribs

If you remove the bottom membrane the beef ribs can fall apart from each other and then the beef can separate from the rib bones as well.

This will leave you with an unpresentable mess rather than a nice intact rack of smoked beef ribs.



Unlike our Pit Boss Pork Ribs, which pair well with sugary BBQ rubs, beef and beef ribs are usually better suited for more straightforward salt and pepper style seasoning.

sprinkling seasoning on beef ribs

You can add a little cayenne for extra heat or garlic and onion powder for additional flavor, but go easy on the rubs that are heavy in sugar content.

We are big fans of Bad Byron’s Butt Rub Seasoning on smoked beef, especially brisket and chuck roast because it is heavy on flavor, and has no sugar.

We use it exclusively on our Hot and Fast Version of our Brisket, because we don’t want any sugar to burn.

Use only a small amount of cooking oil to help the rub adhere, if any at all.

There is a LOT of fat in these smoked beef ribs that will melt out and help form the beautiful bark we are looking for without the need for additional fats and oils.

Be generous with the amount of rub you put on.  Then you can wrap the beef ribs in plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator until you are ready to smoke them.

This can even be done the night before to save some time the next day and to let the salt in the rub fully penetrate the beef ribs.


The Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Beef Short Ribs on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill

Now it’s time to choose the right wood pellets to smoke your Pit Boss smoked beef ribs.

Mesquite and hickory will give a very aggressive smoke flavor and should not be used on long smokes like this.  Save them for your quick cooks like with seafood and steaks.


pellets in the hopper of a pit boss pellet grill

Alternatively, you can also go for a milder smoke flavor by choosing oak or fruitwood pellets. Pecan, apple, beech, alder, and cherry all give great results on beef ribs.

Don’t forget you can mix them up too to create your own custom blend.

That’s one of the great things about a Pit Boss pellet grill!

For a straightforward smoke right out of the bag, we are big fans of Bear Mountain Red and White Smoky Oak Pellets

For the best results, store your unused pellets in a sealed room temperature container like this 20 lb pellet container rather than in the Pit Boss hopper outside.

Pellets do not last forever, but will definitely last a LOT longer if stored indoors in a quality airtight container.


Check out this awesome example from Cooking with Kirby how he smokes his beef ribs on a Pit Boss pellet grill:


How to Smoke Beef Ribs on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill

smoked beef ribs on a pit boss pellet grill

We have previously covered how to season a Pit Boss, how to start a Pit Boss, as well as how to troubleshoot the smoke level of your pellet grill.

So if you need a good overview on how to use your Pit Boss for the first time, check those articles out first!

But below is a brief overview of how a Pit Boss pellet grill works and how to start it up properly to prepare to smoke beef short ribs.


How a Pit Boss Pellet Grill Works

a pit boss pellet grill

In order to cook ANYTHING well on a Pit Boss pellet grill, you need to first have a basic understanding of how a pellet grill works.

***Completely New to Using a Pellet Grill?  No Worries!****

Hop over and check out this Complete Guide to Understanding How a Pellet Grill Works  if you are interested in learning more in depth.  We’ll be here when you get back!***


Add your Hardwood Pellets

First, you add hardwood pellets into the side hopper.

a pit boss pellet grill hopper for of pellets for pulled pork

The Pit Boss pellet grill automatically feeds these small wood pellets via an auger mechanism to a fire pot where they are burned up, providing both heat and smokey flavor.

The pellet grill automatically controls the flow of pellets depending on your temperature setting so that you maintain an even temperature throughout the entire cook.


How to Start up the Pit Boss Pellet Grill

  1. Fill your hopper with pellets as described above.
  2. Make sure the fire pot is cleaned out from the last cook and not full of ashes. You can remove it from the bottom and dump or vacuum it out and then put back and clip into place.a dirty pit boss pellet grill fire pot
  3. Plug in and start up the pellet grill, keeping the lid open.  Set the temperature dial to “Smoke” and press the “Power” button.a pit boss pellet grill starting up
  4. If there are no pellets in the auger or firepot yet, only in the hopper, you need to now hold the Prime” button until you hear pellets begin to drop into the firepot.using the prime button when starting a pit boss pellet grill
  5. The “Prime” feature on a Pit Boss pellet grill speeds up the auger so that pellets fill it quickly and get to your fire pot before the pellet grill “times out” from a lack of pellets coming into the fire pot.wood pellets in a pit boss pellet grill
  6. Once pellets are in the firepot, stop holding the “Prime” button and wait about 5-7 minutes with the lid open for a torchy burner lighting sound. This means the fire rod has come up to temperature and has ignited the pellets.  At this point, a more significant amount of smoke will begin coming out of the pellet grill.  This means the pellets are ignited and the pellet grill is workingNow you can close the lid. the lit fire rod in a pit boss pellet grill starting up
  7. Close the lid and change temperature setting to 350°F.  Pit Boss recommends always preheating to this temperature FIRST, even if you are eventually going to cook low and slow in the 200°-300° range.smoke coming out of a pit boss pellet grill
  8. This will take about 10-15 minutes to preheat the grill.
  9. Using a good bristle free grill brush, clean off the grill grates.long handled bristle free grill brush
  10. Now adjust the temperature to where you need it to cook your food.  In our case, drop the temperature to 275°F for the smoked beef ribs.

Why Bristle Free Grill Brushes? 

Check out our Ultimate Guide to How to Keep your Family Safe by using ONLY Bristle Free Grill Brushes, along with a selection of some of our favorites!


What Temperature do you Smoke Beef Short Ribs on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

Set the temperature to 275°F after preheating and let the Pit Boss stabilize at this temperature.


thermo prop cooking temp probe reading 275 degrees

While you CAN smoke beef ribs at 200-225°F, we are going to speed up the process just slightly, we’ve found without losing any moisture at this slightly higher temperature.


How Long do you Smoke Beef Ribs on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

Put your beef ribs in the cooking chamber and let the pellet grill do its thing!

Place the beef ribs in the cooking chamber with  the bones pointing left and right, not up and down.

Put the thicker end to the right if there is one, which is normally the hotter side of a Pit Boss pellet grill.

Always use insulated bbq gloves when rotating or moving the beef ribs around.

You may need to rotate 180° every hour or so to get even cooking and make sure the bones pull away evenly on both sides of the beef ribs.

Smoked Beef Ribs will take about 60-75 minutes per pound on a Pit Boss pellet grill at 275°F.

So a 5 lb rack of beef short plate ribs may take 5-7 hours.

However, you must always cook to temperature, not to time.


How Do You Know When Smoked Beef Ribs are Done on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

We are going to wrap our beef ribs in butcher paper when they hit about 180°F internal temperature.

This will ensure a nice crusty bark forms before we wrap.

Then we will continue cooking until they reach 200°F internally, much like a beef brisket.

checking temperature on smoked beef ribs

Smoked beef short ribs are best served when cooked to 200°F internally, then allowed to rest.

You’ll want to monitor the internal temperature of the beef ribs as they progress through the cook.

If you don’t yet own an instant read thermometer, it’s going to be hard to really know exactly when the ribs need to be wrapped or when they are done cooking on the Pit Boss.

You’ll want a good leave in probe thermometer like the Thermopro as well as a second instant read thermometer to spot check as you get close to pulling the beef ribs off the Pit Boss.

If you don’t yet own an instant read thermometer, ThermoPro makes a good one of these too.

While we have used and recommended ThermoPro for years, lately we have also become big fans of the MEATER leave in thermometer.

It is extremely accurate and has an incredible 165 foot bluetooth range and works right with your smartphone so you don’t need to carry a separate controller around with you like many other remote thermometers require.

It’s got a great free app that is constantly being updated and even has an algorithm to predict how much longer your type of meat will take to cook based on cooking temperature, target temperature, current internal temperature.

It’s like a GPS for your meat!


The Texas Crutch

wrapping smoked beef ribs in pink butcher paper

One way to speed up your cooking time and increase your Pit Boss smoked beef rib tenderness is by using a tried and tested barbecue technique known as the “Texas Crutch”.

Don’t worry, it’s not complicated.

Typically, we wrap big cuts of meat like brisket and pork shoulder in foil but for beef ribs, where we are trying to keep that nice crusty bark intact, we are going to wrap in pink butcher paper instead.

Pink butcher paper still tenderize the meat without steaming it and cause us to lose that nicely formed bark.

That’s also why we are waiting until the beef ribs hit 180°F before wrapping.  This gives us extra time for that bark to stiffen and set up on the meat.

So be patient and wait for them to hit the right temps.

Beef Short ribs aren’t cheap, and you don’t want to go through all of this just to end up with mushy meat because you rushed it.

After wrapping, replace your thermometer, or spot check with an instant read, and place the ribs back on the Pit Boss, and let them continue to cook.

Leave the beef ribs wrapped until they gets to your target temperature range of 200°F and then remove them from the smoker.

With pink butcher paper, you can leave them wrapped right like they are while they rest for about 30 minutes.

We like this kind from Meat Hugger because it comes with a built in dispensing box for easy tearing and cleanup.


Resting the Pit Boss Smoked Beef Ribs

Just like we let our beef roasts and steaks rest before slicing them, we need to let this massive piece of meat rest for a little while before slicing into individual ribs.

the membrane on bottom of smoked beef ribs

Give the smoked beef ribs about 30 minutes to rest and let the meat relax and the juices redistribute before slicing.

You can leave it right in the butcher paper to help keep it moist while it rests.


Slicing and Serving Pit Boss Smoked Beef Ribs

The easiest way to slice your smoked beef ribs is to turn them upside down so you can see the bones and slice evenly between them

slicing smoked beef ribs

Make sure to use a good meat slicing knife so that your slices cut cleanly and don’t pull and tear at that now delicate smoked beef rib meat.

We are big fans of the Mercer Granton Edge Slicer.  It works great for slicing meats like brisket and ham.

Unlike pork ribs, you’ll find that sometimes a SINGLE smoked beef short ribs is enough to feed a hungry adult.

Especially if you serve it along with some of our famous sticky smoked sweet potatoes, smoked asparagus, or balsamic smoked carrots.



What Else Can I Smoke on my Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

Looking for some more smoky inspiration for that new Pit Boss?

So glad you asked.

Check out some of our other great recipes of smoked and grilled food to try out at your next outdoor BBQ!

They can all easily be adapted to be made on a Pit Boss pellet grill.











Other Odds and Ends


a sliced smoked beef rib

Pit Boss Smoked Beef Ribs

Learn exactly how to smoke beef short ribs on a Pit Boss pellet grill following our detailed instructions and recipe below!
This is a great BBQ dish to impress your guests, and especially easy to do on a Pit Boss!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Australian, barbecue, BBQ, Holiday, Keto
Servings 4 servings
Calories 800 kcal


  • Pit Boss Pellet Grill
  • Wood pellets for Pit Boss preferably oak, alder, apple, and/or cherry
  • Aluminum Foil Trays
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Empty Spray Bottle
  • Internal Meat Thermometer
  • Pink Butcher Paper
  • Large Cutting Board
  • Meat Slicing Knife
  • Large Cutting Board


  • 1 3 Bone Section Beef Short Plate Ribs

Savory Beef Rib Rub

  • ½ cup Kosher Salt use more or less if needed depending on preference.
  • ¼ cup Smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup Black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Onion powder
  • 1 Tsp Cayenne powder

Beef Rib Spritz

  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Water


Prepare the Beef Ribs

  • Trim the silverskin and any excess fat off the top of the beef ribs.
    1 3 Bone Section Beef Short Plate Ribs
    trimming fat from beef ribs
  • Do not trim or pull away the membrane on the bottom of the beef ribs.
    the membrane on a rack of beef ribs

Apply the Rub

  • Mix the rub ingredients well and apply generously to the entire top and sides of the beef ribs.
    ½ cup Kosher Salt, ¼ cup Smoked paprika, ¼ cup Black pepper, 2 Tbsp Garlic Powder, 1 Tbsp Onion powder, 1 Tsp Cayenne powder
    sprinkling seasoning on beef ribs
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 hours while you prepare the grill, or even overnight to allow the salt and rub to penetrate the meat.

Start the Pit Boss Pellet Grill

  • Remove the fire pot from the bottom of the Pit Boss and clean out any ashes left over from the last cook. Replace it and make sure it is secured in place with the clips on either side.
    a dirty pit boss pellet grill fire pot
  • Add your chosen pellets to the hopper, start the Pit Boss pellet grill and put it on the "Smoke" setting.
    a pit boss pellet grill control panel
  • If there are no pellets in the auger, hold the "Prime" button until you hear pellets begin falling in the fire pot. This will speed up the auger to prime it full of pellets before you start preheating.
    starting a pit boss pellet grill
  • Once the Pit boss begins to produce thick white smoke, let it run for about 5-7 minutes until the smoke turns more of a clearish blue color. This means the fire rod has fully heated up to burn the pellets more cleanly.
  • Next, set the temperature to preheat the Pit Boss pellet grill to 350°F. We will drop this temperature before we start cooking.
  • Fill an aluminum pan with water pan if you want to add extra moisture, and place it on the far left side of the Pit Boss pellet grill. Place a disposable bucket liner in the grease bucket as well if you want to limit cleanup later.
  • Once the Pit Boss has come up to 350°F, drop the temperature on the control panel to 275° and clean the grill grates with a good grill brush and close the lid.

Smoke the Beef Ribs on the Pit Boss

  • Remove the plastic wrap and place the beef ribs on the Pit Boss with the bones running left to right and the thicker end pointed to the hitter right side.
    raw beef ribs on a pit boss pellet grill
  • Place an internal temperature probe if you have one into the center of the meat on top of the beef ribs.
  • Close the lid, rotate 180°F every hour keeping the ribs pointed left to right so that both sides pull away from the bone evenly.
    smoked beef ribs on a pit boss pellet grill
  • Mix the apple cider vinegar and water together in the spray bottle and spritz the beef ribs about every 30 minutes or so to keep them moist.
    1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Cup Water
    spritzing beef ribs on pit boss pellet grill
  • Cook the beef ribs until they reach about 180°F internally which may take about 5 hours.
    checking temperature on smoked beef ribs

Texas Crutch - Wrapping in Butcher Paper

  • Carefully remove the beef ribs from the Pit Boss and place on a large sheet of pink butcher paper.
    wrapping smoked beef ribs in pink butcher paper
  • Wrap the beef ribs with the butcher paper around on all sides.
  • Replace the temperature probe and place back on the Pit Boss.

Remove, Rest, and Slice the Smoked Beef Short Ribs

  • When the internal temperature of the beef ribs have have reached 200°F, remove from the Pit Boss and keep wrapped.
  • Let the smoked beef ribs rest for about 30 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to distribute.
  • After resting, place the beef ribs on a large cutting board. Turn upside down to see the bones and slice down between each bone and serve.
    slicing smoked beef ribs



Video example from Cooking with Kirby.


Calories: 800kcal
Keyword barbecue, bbq, bbq beef, BBQ Rub, Beef, Beef Rub, caveman, dinosaur ribs, Keto, pellet grill, Pit Boss, pit boss beef ribs, pit boss beef short ribs, pit boss smoked beef ribs, short plate ribs, smoked beef ribs, smoked beef short ribs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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