Having not experimented with anything off the cuff recently, an affordable package of boneless beef short ribs adjacent in the store to the brisket I was planning to smoke anyway presented me with an opportunity.
Each rather large short rib, slightly smaller than my clenched fist, was lightly rolled with a rub comprising: brown sugar, paprika, garlic salt, seasoned salt, powdered sage, cayenne pepper, ground coffee, and coarse black pepper.
Those and the three medium sized brisket pieces (having received the same treatment) were put on the 55 gallon drum smoker, fat sides up, with ample hickory smoke for seven hours at about 190-200 Fahrenheit.
Hours and hours later (7, to be exact), and a few beers later (not quite 7), the ribs had smoked thoroughly.
A BBQ ace told me to cook beef with the fat up so as to continuously baste the meat. I never flipped them or the brisket pieces, yet each time I checked on the meat or added coals and wood, it still looked damp from the molten beef fat softening and oozing over the sides of the flesh.
Having learned from my past mistakes, I eased up on both the amount of brown sugar in the rub (by ratio) and the amount of rub total on the meat. This left less char and permitted more smoke penetration.
I pulled the short ribs to let them rest for about 10 minutes on a cutting board. Why rest? So that the hot and excited juices don’t escape and dry out the meat!
Once relaxed, the ribs were sliced substantially in half, leaving a hinge at the back.
I had a half carton of blue cheese left over from some steak salad I had made a few days before, and I put half of my remainder inside each short rib.
And since I like to smoke a bunch of bacon as a brisket sandwich topping, why not wrap each of these with three large thick cut slices of pork bacon. Sorry to my Hebrew readership, but this went from unkosher to exceptionally unkosher in just minutes.
Back on the UDS for two more hours of hickory smoke at about 200 degrees.
The finished product is worth the fuss.
Each short rib gave me 3 or 4 generous slices for the in-law family pre-JV football dinner.
The beef was incredibly tender and had solid smoke color penetration. The blue cheese was present in just the right amount. Unfortunately, the bacon didn’t quite crisp, but no one complained. My father in law said, “Simpson, you should enter this in a BBQ contest. It was great.” As I basked in this compliment, he added, “Although I do love anything with cheese in it.” I’ll take what I can get.
This was a super-simple recipe. Anyone can make this if you have all damn day to cook. Luckily I could work from home that day and I have a large upright smoker. Forgiving that, you could probably make this on a Weber kettle with a keen eye towards temperature control. Regardless, simple technique and ingredients made a succulent experiment.