Preparing and Cooking Slow-Cooked Beef Ribs

In case you haven’t noticed, the meat that we get from South America is typically boneless, as I’ve previously mentioned. A full rack of beef ribs is therefore a welcome change. There’s something viscerally satisfying from gnawing on what we lovingly call “brontosaurus ribs”. Ribs are not a turn and burn cut of meat. They need slow cooking over a low fire.

In the words of the great Charlie Daniels, let me show you how it’s done.

For this cut of meat, technically known an asado here, we enter the world known as slow cooking. While many of my other preparation methods rely on quick cooking over high heat, this is the exact opposite. The oven, grill, or smoker is set to a low temperature and the meat cooks for a long time. The low, slow cooking method transforms whatever you’re cooking  into soft, tender, delicious meat.

Preparation of the Ribs

I prepared the rack of meat two days prior to cooking. There was no need for trimming anything, it was ready to go as is. I cut the rack in half so I could fit it into the curing box I have, but if you have something big enough, there’s no need to cut it. You could also wrap it in plastic wrap. Use your judgement. 

I soaked the meat in whisky, then coated it with a dry rub. You’ll find my basic grill mix recipe in Kitchen Confident – Cooking Without Reservation on page 151 (or get inspired by one of my spice rubs here), but as always, I encourage you to put your own touch in yours. Someone asked on social media which whisky is best. I replied that I wouldn’t use something terribly expensive; Jack Daniel’s or Jim Beam are fine. I actually used rye, which has a slightly different flavor profile than American whisky. Then I overhauled the meat to make sure everything got a chance to sit in the whisky.

Ready for the Oven

When I was ready to cook the meat, I put the beef rib halves in a baking pan with a rack insert, started the cooking at 12:30AM and let it sit in the oven through the night. These ribs cooked in the oven covered for 6½ hours at 102°C (215°F), then uncovered and cooked for one hour more. When I tested it with a fork, it sank effortlessly into the meat. Once I took them out of the oven, I poured off the pan drippings into a pot and reduced it by half. I basted the ribs several times, until there was nothing left of the pan drippings. This gave the ribs a nice sheen, and they reabsorbed most of the liquid.

The best part was that at 7:30 in the  morning, I wasn’t tempted to taste it, even though the smell made my mouth water, because I’m pretty sure I would have polished off the whole thing by myself. I think that next time I’m going to use my tenderizer gadget to see if I can get a bit more of the fat to render out of it, and maybe whip up a sauce to go on it instead of a dry rub.

We’ll see.



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