May 2017 — The Memorial Day Issue: Beef Ribs Three Ways

Beef chuck ribs roasting over oak wood on the Gaucho Grill

If you follow @kalamazoogrills on Instagram, you know we’ve been obsessed lately with roasting beef ribs on the Kalamazoo Gaucho Grill. The pictures are so tantalizing that we’ve been inundated with requests for the recipe. Our Memorial Day newsletter seems like the perfect opportunity to share this technique, and an even better opportunity to explore three different ways to cook the same cut of beef – on three different Kalamazoo products.

Beef chuck ribs are wonderfully flavorful, although they do require the proper technique to render them tender. The most popular way to prepare this cut of beef rib is braising short ribs, and we’ll be doing those in garlic and white wine on the Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill. We’re also smoking larger racks of chuck ribs low and slow in the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet. These are served with a mild roasted red pepper harissa. Lastly, are the ribs that have been causing all the fuss – giant racks gloriously roasted on a spit over an oak fire on the Gaucho Grill. We’re basting them with salmuera and serving with a smoky red chimichurri.

Memorial Day is an important day of remembrance, and all of us at Kalamazoo wish to express our gratitude for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. As we fire up our grills and smokers, and gather with friends and family, let us all be thankful for our freedoms and those who protect them.


Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Grillmaster signature

Smoked Beef Ribs with Roasted Tomato Harissa

Smoked beef chuck ribs with roasted tomato harissa

If you love beef brisket, but don’t have time to smoke for 20 hours, then I suggest trying your hand at smoking beef chuck ribs. They take less than half the time, they are a bit more forgiving if you haven’t mastered your technique yet, and they taste fantastic!

We are keeping things simple and seasoning the ribs with salt and pepper, then smoking them for 7 hours. What about that beautiful crimson exterior? Surely there must be some barbecue rub or sauce, right? Not at all. That tantalizing barbecue color comes purely from the smoke. This recipe includes a flavorful harissa with roasted pepper and onion, but you could just as well serve these beef ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce. I recommend our Onion Marmalade Barbecue Sauce if you are interested in going that route.

If you plan on using your Hybrid Fire Grill instead of a smoker, read ahead to the note at the end of the recipe for tips on how to do this.


  • 2 3-bone chuck rib racks, about 5 pounds each
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

For the Harissa

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion, halved through the equator, papery skin left on
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 fresh red chiles, such as Fresno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar (we love Blis 9 Maple Solera Sherry Vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


Prepare the smoker for 225°F smoking with oak wood for flavor. We recommend preheating the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet for 1 hour before putting in the food.

Liberally season the beef ribs all over with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, until right before you put it in the smoker. By putting cold meat into the smoker, you are able to create a better developed smoke ring.

Place the rib racks into the smoker with the bones on the bottom. If available, insert a meat thermometer (the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet includes one with the pit computer) into the thickest portion of one rack, making sure to not get it close to the bones. Set the meat thermometer alarm to 200°F.

Beef Ribs in the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet

Beef ribs smoking in the Kalamazoo charcoal smoker cabinet

Smoke the meat, maintaining constant smoke, until the internal temperature reaches 200°F, about 7 to 8 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat.

While the ribs are smoking, make the harissa. Begin by preheating a grill for direct grilling with a multi-zone fire. One zone of the grill should be as hot as possible for roasting the red pepper. Two zones are needed for the onion, one zone with MEDIUM heat, and another with LOW or indirect heat (in a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill, you can use the warming rack area above the MEDIUM zone for the indirect cooking).

Roast the red pepper until the skin is black all over, about 15 minutes, then remove it from the grill and place it in a bowl covered by a plate. Let it steam like this until the onion is ready.

Place the onion halves on the grill grate over the MEDIUM-hot fire with the cut sides down. Leave there until quite charred, about 5 minutes. Then move to the LOW heat or indirect zone, close the lid, and continue cooking until soft, about 15 minutes more.

Once cool, remove the outer layer of the onion. Chop the onion and place in the vessel of a blender or food processor. Discard the stem, skin and seeds from the bell pepper. Roughly chop the flesh and add it to the vessel. Add all of the other ingredients and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until the ribs are done.

Smoked Beef Ribs with Harissa

Once the ribs have reached 200°F internal temperature, remove them from the smoker. Wrap them in foil and let them rest for about 30 minutes. The ideal internal temperature for serving the ribs is around 140°F. Slice them into individual ribs and serve with the harissa for dipping.

Note: If you would like to smoke these ribs in the Hybrid Fire Grill, we have described a few methods in our Barbecue Techniques Grilling Guide. We recommend following option one, and placing the ribs on the warming rack.

Garlic-Braised Short Ribs

Garlic-briased Short Ribs

The best short ribs are tender and succulent with a deep, flavorful, brown crust on the outside. That is one reason I prefer to braise short ribs on the grill. After braising in a cast iron vessel for a couple of hours, I remove the ribs from the liquid and crisp up the outsides by grilling them on the hottest part of the grate.

In this recipe, the ribs are braised in garlic and white wine with a little rosemary. After braising, we use an immersion blender and a bit of butter to transform the braising liquid into a luscious sauce.


  • 6 beef chuck short ribs, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds total
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (Pinot Grigio is a good choice)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter


Generously season the short ribs with salt. Reserve.

Prepare the grill for indirect grilling at 350°F. Preheat the Dutch oven in the direct zone. (For a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill, place the Dutch oven on the grill grate in the center of the grill. Preheat the grill with the lid closed and all main burners on HIGH for 15 minutes.)

Heat the canola oil in the Dutch oven, then brown the short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the ribs from the Dutch oven and reserve. Brown the onion and garlic in the same oil until slightly translucent. Deglaze the Dutch oven with the white wine. Stir in the chicken stock and rosemary. Add the short ribs back into the Dutch oven, cover, and place it in the indirect zone of the grill. (For a Kalamazoo K750 Series Hybrid Fire Grill, turn the middle burner and left burner OFF. With one main burner running on HIGH, the air temperature in the indirect zone will be 350°F.)

Braise the short ribs in the indirect zone at 350°F with the grill lid closed. Rotate the Dutch oven every 30 minutes for even cooking. Braise the ribs until tender, about 2 hours.

Remove the ribs from the braising liquid, and brown them on all sides on the hottest area of the grill grate for about 5 minutes. Reserve.

Add the butter to the braising liquid. Use an immersion blender to create a velvety sauce.

Plate the ribs and dress with the sauce. We served these ribs with grilled ramps and white rice.

Wood-fired Rotisserie Beef Ribs with Smoky Red Chimichurri

Wod-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.


  • 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.

Innovation is at the heart of every Kalamazoo product. Each part of the collection – from grills and pizza ovens to refrigeration and cabinetry – represents a significant departure from the established norm. Our passion for outdoor cooking and our fiercely independent design philosophy drive us to establish new industry benchmarks. Consequently, our list of exclusives and innovations speaks for itself.

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