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Workin' It BBQ Short Ribs

By David Bowers
Published: June 1, 2009
Photo by John and Tanya Bäck
A pound of meat per person may sound like a lot, but that’s the uncooked weight, not to mention that a good third of that weight on a short rib is bone. These ribs require a fair amount of effort, but you’ll be amply rewarded by rich, tender, smoky meat in a tangy BBQ sauce.

Serves 6.

What you Need:

  • 6 1-pound beef short ribs
  • Salt

  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne


1. Put the ribs in a large pot (such as a stockpot) and cover with water. Add a generous tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the ribs gently for 1 ½ hours, until they are extremely tender (but don’t keep cooking until the meat actually falls off the bone).

2. While the meat is cooking, put the sauce ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for about 25 minutes, until the onion bits have melted into tenderness and the sauce is thickened. You can prepare the meat and sauce early and refrigerate up to 2 days.

3. When ready to grill, preheat a gas grill on high with the lid closed for 10 minutes or prepare a medium charcoal fire.

4. Place the ribs on the grill (if using gas, lower the heat to medium). Grill for 5 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice, until heated through. Brush the sauce onto the ribs and continue grilling, brushing and turning for another 10 to 12 minutes, until the ribs are smoky and browned, and the sauce is thick and caramelized on the surface. Turn often to prevent the sugar from charring. Serve hot..
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