Wood-Fired Rotisserie Beef Ribs with Smoky Red Chimichurri

These ribs are simply magnificent. We roast them on the rotisserie over an oak wood fire, infusing them with subtle smokiness as they baste in their own juices. For an even more flavorful crust, we borrow a page out of the Argentinean grilling playbook – we baste them in salmuera, or salt water. The salmuera is kept hot below the ribs, while also collecting the drippings that fall from the meat. As if these ribs were not special enough on their own (trust me, they are), we serve them with a deliciously smoky red chimichurri.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves Generously serves 6
Image of Wood-Fired Rotisserie Beef Ribs with Smoky Red Chimichurri

  • 2 3-bone chuck rib racks, about 5 pounds each
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 cloves garlic, cracked

For the Smoky Red Chimichurri

  • Fresh oregano leaves, picked from a 3/4 ounce package
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar (we love Blis 9 Maple Solera Sherry Vinegar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 chipotle chiles from a can, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine gray sea salt

We’ll be describing the method for using the Kalamazoo Gaucho Grill, but this can be done on the Hybrid Fire Grill as well. Just make sure the ribs are cut short enough (about 14 inches long) for clearance as the spit rotates inside the grill. For a look at how to do wood-fired rotisserie on the Hybrid Fire Grill, check out this video.

Prepare the grill for rotisserie roasting with a wood fire and indirect heat. For the Gaucho Grill, remove the grill grates and raise the rack to the highest position. Start 6 to 8 logs going in the firebox by using the gas burners below the wood for about 5 minutes, and then turn them off.

While the fire is starting, liberally season the ribs with kosher salt and black pepper. Mount the first rack on the spit by inserting the sharp point of the spit into the side of the rack close to the bone on the meatier side. Carefully slide it all the way through, keeping as close to the bone as possible. Slide it past the halfway point and secure it with rotisserie forks on both sides. We recommend tightening the screws with a pair of pliers reserved for cooking duties. Add a third fork pointing toward the sharp end of the spit and tighten it in place. Mount the second rack of ribs in the same manner as the first. Secure with a fourth rotisserie fork.

Once the fire is well established, don some long, protective gloves. Carefully arrange the fire for indirect heat. Place 2 burning logs across the back, and 2 across the front. Place the remaining logs against both sides of the fire box so that there is no fire directly below the meat.

Mount the loaded rotisserie spit into the grill and switch on the rotisserie motor. Check to make sure the ends of the longest ribs do not make contact with the top structure of the grill as they rotate.

The ribs will roast for about 2 hours. To keep the fire going for this period, keep starting new logs over the old coals at the left and right side ends of the fire box, moving the previously started well-established logs to line the front and rear. Always were gloves, and use long tongs or fireplace tools to move the wood. Visit our Gaucho Grilling Guide for more tips on fire management.

With the rotisserie at this height, the ribs are roasting at approximately 600°F.

Once the ribs are going on the spit, make the salmuera by combining the water and 6 tablespoons of kosher salt in a small cast iron skillet. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Stir the salt until it has dissolved. Add the garlic, then place the skillet down in the firebox below the ribs to catch the meat drippings.

Stop the rotisserie every 15 minutes or so with the meaty side of the ribs facing straight up. Wearing long, protective gloves, carefully, and we mean very carefully, ladle a little salmuera over the meat to baste. Restart the rotisserie each time.

Keep adding fresh water to the skillet as needed to keep the salmuera from boiling dry.

Beef Ribs Roasting on the Kalamazoo Gaucho Grill

Beef ribs roasting over a wood fire on the Kalamazoo Gaucho Grill

While the ribs are cooking, prepare the Smoky Red Chimichurri. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

The ribs are done when the internal temperature measures 200°F. Using protective gloves, carefully remove the spit from the grill and place the ribs on a sheet pan to rest for about 15 minutes. Remove the spit and the forks and slice into individual bones for serving. Serve with the chimichurri.

Watch as Kalamazoo Grillmaster Russ Faulk roasts these beef ribs to perfection on our first episode of our Food+Fire series.