WATER SMOKER, 4 LARGE HANDFULS MESQUITE OR OAK WOOD CHUNKS, SPRAY BOTTLE FILLED WITH WATER,
INSTANT-READ THERMOMETER; DRY, INSULATED COOLER
This recipe comes straight out of an epic day I spent with third-generation pit master Wayne Mueller at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas. He makes the greatest beef ribs I’ve ever tasted. Period.
5 teaspoons coarsely ground black
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons garlic granules
2 racks beef short ribs, 4 bones per
rack, each 1.8–2kg/4–4½lb and
meat about 5cm/2 inches thick, trimmed of excess fat
1 Mix the rub ingredients, and then season the racks with the rub, putting almost all of it on
the meaty side.
2 Prepare the smoker for indirect cooking with low heat (140–150°C/275–300°F). Fill the water pan about halfway with water. When the temperature reaches 140°C/275°F, add the wood chunks to the charcoal.
3 Cook the racks, bone side down, using the upper and lower cooking grates of the smoker, if needed, over roasting/indirect low heat for 6–7 hours, with the lid closed. After the first
3 hours, spray each rack a few times with water and swap their positions, if using both grates, putting the rack that was on the top grate on the bottom grate and vice versa. Continue cooking over roasting/indirect low heat, with the lid closed, until the racks are so tender that the probe of a thermometer slides through the meat between the bones with very little resistance. When you press the meat with your fingertips, it should feel as soft as a marshmallow. The internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat should be about 93°C/200°F, but the tenderness of the meat is much more important than the temperature. Spray each rack one more time with water. Wrap each rack individually in three layers of clingfilm, and transfer to a dry, insulated cooler for 1–2 hours.
4 Unwrap the racks and cut between the bones into individual ribs. Serve warm. (Texans serve them without sauce.)