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Peppercorn-Spiced Smoked Beef Ribs

Servings: 6 to 8

The Sichuan peppercorns in this spice rub lend a delightful tingly sensation and are punchy enough to stand up to the smoke. Try to find chuck plate or bone-in short ribs (usually in three- to four-bone segments) for this dish. Avoid beef back ribs, which often have more bone than meat.


For the spice rub

  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 2 Tbs. Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

For the ribs

  • 4 to 5 lb. beef ribs, in a whole rack
  • 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 230
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 110
  • Fat (g): 12
  • Saturated Fat (g): 6
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Cholesterol (mg): 65
  • Sodium (mg): 670
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Sugar (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 22


Make the spice rub

  • Toast the cloves and peppercorns in a dry skillet over high heat until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Pour into a spice grinder, and add the salt, allspice, and garlic powder. Grind until the pepper is fairly coarse and the rest of the ingredients are powdery. (Use immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.)

Smoke the ribs

  • Heat a smoker or grill to 275°F. Add oak or hickory wood chips to the smoker per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Coat the ribs generously with the spice rub, massaging it into the meat and coating all sides and surfaces.
  • Put the ribs in the smoker bone side down, and cook for 5 to 6 hours according to the smoker manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and 1/2 cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the top of the rack every 20 to 30 minutes for the first 4 hours of cooking to encourage the formation of a good crust, or “bark.”
  • Continue to cook until a skewer inserted into the ribs slides in smoothly with no discernible resistance or pull at any location along the rack of meat.
  • Once cooked, wrap the ribs tightly in butcher paper or foil. Place the wrapped ribs in a room-temperature cooler or on a large rimmed baking sheet covered with a kitchen towel to rest for about 45 minutes before serving.


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