Mastering the Grill: Time & Techniques for Perfect Short Ribs

Ah, the sweet aroma of short ribs sizzling on the grill! It’s a scent that beckons any meat lover. But the question that often lingers is, how long should you cook those succulent short ribs on the grill? Not knowing the right answer could be the difference between a mouth-watering meal and a charred disaster.

Key Takeaways

  • Short ribs, popular in BBQ events, come in four main cuts: English cut is suitable for slow cooking on the grill. Flanken style cut is perfect for marinating and fast grilling. Boneless short ribs are great for stews or braises. Chuck short ribs are meaty and suitable for slow cooking and kept moist.
  • English cut is suitable for slow cooking on the grill.
  • Flanken style cut is perfect for marinating and fast grilling.
  • Boneless short ribs are great for stews or braises.
  • Chuck short ribs are meaty and suitable for slow cooking and kept moist.
  • Preparing short ribs for grilling requires several steps: Select marbled short ribs for better taste and tenderness. Seasonings and marinades should be applied for added flavor, including simple salt and pepper or spices like Paprika, Garlic Powder, or Onion Powder. Ribs should be brought to room temperature before grilling, and the grill should be preheated to the desired temperature.
  • Select marbled short ribs for better taste and tenderness.
  • Seasonings and marinades should be applied for added flavor, including simple salt and pepper or spices like Paprika, Garlic Powder, or Onion Powder.
  • Ribs should be brought to room temperature before grilling, and the grill should be preheated to the desired temperature.
  • The best types of grills for short ribs are charcoal grills for a distinct smoky flavor and gas grills for convenience and temperature control.
  • Short ribs should be grilled at a low temperature over a long period, and their internal temperature should read between 190-203°F (88-95°C) when they’re ready.
  • Cooking time for short ribs on the grill depends on several factors, including size, temperature, grill type, bone thickness, and marination. It typically ranges between 2 to 3 hours.
  • After grilling, short ribs should be rested for 10-15 minutes, cut across the grain, and beautifully presented with sides like tangy coleslaw, sweet and spicy baked beans, creamy mashed potatoes, fresh salad greens tossed, or tasty grilled vegetables.

Understanding Short Ribs

This segment sheds light on what short ribs are and illustrates the variances in their cuts. You’ll find this knowledge handy when preparing your next BBQ.

What Are Short Ribs?

Short ribs, a popular choice among BBQ enthusiasts, are cut from the rib and plate primals of the beef. Dense in flavor, they offer a hearty and robust taste that pairs excellently with smoky grill flavors. Unlike other beef portions such as the brisket or the chuck, short ribs consist of a short portion of the rib bone, which is overlaid by meat. This composition creates a thorough mix of tissue, bone, and marbled meat, giving it a rich essence that makes it stand out in any grill-out event.

The Different Cuts of Short Ribs

There exist four primary cuts of short ribs, each with a distinguishing characteristic that sets it apart.

  1. English Cut: This cut takes a vertical approach, slicing along the bone to create long, thin strips of meat. This makes it ideal for slow cooking on the grill, permeating the meat with flavors over time.
  2. Flanken Style: The Flanken cut, horizontal to the bone, results in short, thin strips that cook quicker. Perfect for marinating and fast grilling.
  3. Boneless Short Ribs: As the name suggests, this variant comes without bones. Extricate from the bone, it’s fantastic for stews or braises.
  4. Chuck Short Ribs: From the shoulder area, these meaty ribs are less tender but are a treat when slow cooked and kept moist.

Understanding the distinctions among these cuts allows you to select the perfect one for your grilling needs.

Preparing Short Ribs for Grilling

Armed with the important knowledge of the characteristics of diverse short ribs cuts, your next step orbits around preparing them for grilling. This crucial phase entails selecting the best short ribs, incorporating the flavor boosts of seasonings and marinades, and the pre-grill setup.

Selecting the Best Short Ribs

Identifying prime short ribs contributes immensely to the delectable outcome of your grilling escapade. Look out for marbled short ribs, meaning they possess streaks of fat interspersed within the muscles. Marbling improves the taste and tenderness of the ribs, as the fat melts during cooking, infusing the ribs with moisture and flavor. Also, opt for fresh cut ribs visible in a bright red hue, signifying their freshness. Ribs with a deep red or brownish color indicate age and aren’t ideal.

Seasoning and Marinades

Seasonings and marinades inject your short ribs with added flavor, enhancing the native taste. For seasonings, consider a simple mixture of salt and pepper, sufficing in most cases. If desirous of a bolder flavor, incorporate spices like Paprika, Garlic Powder, or Onion Powder. As for marinades, they tenderize the ribs while infusing depth of flavors. A basic marinade can comprise soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, and vinegar, left to marinate for at least 4 hours, performing optimally if left overnight.

Pre-Grill Preparation

Before ascending the stage of the grill, your short ribs demand some pre-grill preparation. This step requires bringing the ribs to room temperature, achieved by leaving the ribs outside the cooler for about an hour before grilling. Cold ribs’ll contract upon hitting the hot grill, leading to tough and chewy meat. Furthermore, refrain from peeling off the membrane situated at the back of the ribs. Although a debated topic, leaving it on holds in the juices, generating moister and tastier ribs. Most importantly, ensure you preheat your grill to the desired temperature before introducing your short ribs, promoting even and accurate cooking.

By infusing these short rib preparation guidelines into your grilling routine, satisfaction and delicious outcomes are a certainty. Remember, the key to a tantalizing grilled short rib lies not just in the grilling but also in the preparation. So, choose your ribs wisely, season and marinate appropriately, and execute your pre-grill preparation effectively.

Grilling Short Ribs

Having understood the variety in short ribs cuts and mastered the art of preparation for grilling, let’s delve into the actual grilling process of short ribs and explore the best types of grills and grilling techniques to employ.

Best Types of Grills for Short Ribs

When it comes to grilling short ribs, two types of grills offer the best results: charcoal grills and gas grills. Charcoal grills, known for their ability to provide a distinct smoky flavor, ensure the ribs maintain their inherent taste. Additionally, they create a high-heat environment, achieving a nice crust on the ribs. Gas grills, on the other hand, offer convenience with their temperature control features. They guarantee an evenly cooked short rib by providing a consistent cooking temperature throughout.

Grilling Techniques

Once you’ve decided on the best grill, understanding the grilling techniques is crucial. A cardinal rule of grilling short ribs is controlling the heat. It’s advisable to employ a low and slow strategy, cooking at a maintained low temperature over a longer period. For instance, maintaining a temperature of about 275°F (135°C) over a period of three hours typically returns tender and juicy ribs.

Time also plays a vital role when grilling short ribs. An instance is ribs with a thickness of 1.5 inches, which require approximately 1.5-2 hours of grilling time. This rule ensures their internal temperature reaches the desired level. The ribs are done when their internal temperature reads between 190-203°F (88-95°C) with a meat thermometer.

Lastly, don’t forget the importance of resting your rib for about 10-15 minutes after grilling. This period allows the juices to redistribute amongst the meat, increasing tenderness and taste. Now, grab those short ribs, fire up the grill, and start cooking.

How Long To Cook Short Ribs On Grill?

Having garnered deep insights on perfecting the art of selecting and prepping your short ribs, it’s time to delve into the specifics of how long you should cook them on the grill. It’s important to note that cooking time depends on an array of factors and isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. A plethora of elements come into play, influencing the time it takes to bring your delicious ribs to perfection.

Factors Affecting Cooking Time

Considering the variation in cooking times, you’d notice that some key factors play a crucial part.

  1. Size. Larger size short ribs take longer to cook. For instance, a 2 inch thick rib might need around 3 hours.
  2. Temperature. Lower heat extends the cooking time, conversely higher heat reduces it. An ideal temperature range is between 250° to 300°F while grilling ribs.
  3. Grill Type. Gas and charcoal grills behave differently, with gas providing constant heat at a set temperature and charcoal fluctuating between hot and cold spots. This could influence cooking times.
  4. Bone Thickness. Bones can retain heat and, therefore, cook the meat from the inside. Thick bones could, therefore, potentially reduce cooking times.
  5. Marination. Marinated ribs may take less time due to the acids in the marinade partially cooking the meat.

Recommended Cooking Times

Comprehending factors affecting cooking times, you could now move to the recommended cooking times. A ballpark range for grilling short ribs, considering the factors above, is between 2 to 3 hours. However, don’t strictly rely on the clock. Ensure to periodically check the internal temperature of the ribs using a meat thermometer. It’s deemed perfect once it hits a range between 190° – 200°F. Remember, low and slow is the mantra for impeccably grilled ribs. Always allow the ribs to rest before digging in – it allows the juices to redistribute resulting in a tender and flavorful bite.

Serving and Side Dishes

After successful grilling, the precise art and science involved with the after-cook care of your short ribs come into play. The resting process, cutting, and presentation all contribute to a satisfying dining experience. Moreover, pairing the succulent ribs with perfect side dishes completes the meal, adding diversity of flavor and visual appeal.

Resting the Short Ribs

Picture this – the short ribs are grilled to perfection, well-seared, with a sizzling, appealing outer layer. Resist the urge to slice them immediately as you’d risk losing those precious meat juices. Let the cooked short ribs rest, ideally for 10 to 15 minutes. This patience yields a more tender, moist, and flavorful result. It allows the redistribution and reabsorption of the flavorful juices back into the meat, enhancing every bite.

Cutting and Presentation

It’s time for the cut! After resting, cut the meat across the grain, an approach proven to reduce toughness. A perfect slice ensures that your guests experience a melt-in-your-mouth sensation, a testament to your great grilling skills. Presentation counts too. Arrange them appealingly on a suitable platter, perhaps garnishing with fresh greens or aromatic herbs. Remember, we eat first with our eyes, and an appealing presentation makes your short ribs tempting even before the first bite.

Perfect Pairings: Side Dishes

Grilled short ribs are versatile and pair nicely with numerous sides. Consider tangy coleslaw, sweet and spicy baked beans, creamy mashed potatoes, fresh salad greens tossed with vinaigrette or even savory grilled vegetables. These sides add a diversity of flavors, creating a balanced plate that will leave everyone at your table asking for seconds. As per servings, one pound of short ribs generally serves two people with sides, though you could adjust based on the appetites at your table. It’s all about creating a memorable meal that combines taste, visual appeal, and variety.


So you’ve made it through the grilling journey. You’ve learned how to pick out the best short ribs, how to prepare them, and even how to grill them to perfection on both charcoal and gas grills. You’ve discovered the importance of resting your ribs after grilling to lock in those tasty juices and enhance the flavor. You’ve also picked up some tips on how to cut and present your ribs so they’re not just delicious, but also a feast for the eyes. And let’s not forget, you’ve got a list of side dishes that’ll complement your ribs beautifully, rounding off your meal perfectly. Now, it’s time to fire up your grill and put all this knowledge to good use. Happy grilling!

Grilling short ribs to perfection involves mastering temperature and timing, as explained in this comprehensive guide, which outlines the importance of selecting well-marbled cuts and using a low-and-slow method to ensure tenderness. Steak University recommends using a meat thermometer to ensure the ribs reach an internal temperature of 190-200°F for optimal results. Meanwhile, Grillin’ With Dad suggests searing for two minutes per side before finishing over indirect heat to achieve a deliciously charred crust and juicy interior.

What is the best cut of short ribs for grilling?

The best cut for grilling is the flanken cut which is thin and has three to four bones per strip. Choosing a cut with good marbling will yield more tender and flavorful ribs.

What seasonings and marinades are recommended for short ribs?

For optimum flavor, use traditional seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Marinades with acidic components like vinegar or citrus juice help tenderize the meat and intensify flavor.

What is the best method for grilling short ribs?

Use the low and slow method for grilling short ribs. This method emphasizes heat control and allows the collagen in the meat to slowly break down, making the ribs tender.

Why is it necessary to rest the short ribs after grilling?

Resting the ribs after grilling helps retain juices and enhance the natural flavor of the meat. This process allows the meat fibers to relax and absorb the juices.

How are the grilled short ribs best presented?

Cut the rested ribs between the bones for individual servings. Arrange attractively alongside side dishes such as coleslaw, baked beans or mashed potatoes for a visually appealing dish.

What are some suggested side dishes for grilled short ribs?

Side dishes such as coleslaw, baked beans, mashed potatoes, salads, and grilled vegetables pair well with grilled short ribs. They add variety and balance, creating a well-rounded meal.