And, of course, like pork ribs they are best when cooked outdoors. But, what’s the best way to cook them outdoors? Well, slow cooked on the grill is the traditional method and I’ve had some mighty good slow barbecued ribs in my time.
The trick to cooking good ribs, either pork or beef ribs, is the low and slow cooking method. And a good smoker grill does low and slow cooking very well. But, do you know what? So does the old fashioned cast iron Dutch oven.
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Cook beef ribs in a Dutch oven
There’s a lot to like about a cast iron Dutch oven. The heat retention and distribution qualities of cast iron are second to none. You don’t have hot spots and your food cooks thoroughly every time.
I like to use my trivet in a deep Dutch oven to get the ribs up off the bottom and I add 1 ½ cups or so of liquid, you can use beef broth, beer or water. And since the heavy Dutch oven lid traps most of the steam, the ribs don’t dry out. They turn out moist and delicious every time. And that’s one of the greatest benefits of Dutch oven cooking.
Another benefit of cast iron Dutch ovens is their portability. In the video above, I set up my cooking table in the backyard and cook up beef ribs and baked potatoes in my Dutch ovens. But, I could have just as easily set them up at a camp site.
You can make some amazing campsite meals with a Dutch oven or two. Beef ribs with baked potatoes are just one of many. So, whether you want to cook beef ribs at a campsite, in the backyard, or even in the kitchen, the cast iron Dutch oven is a great way to go.
The recipe for delicious beef ribs
I cook these ribs basically the same way I cooked my Pork Spare Ribs Dutch Oven Style. The main difference with these beef ribs is I’m using a different rub and no barbecue sauce.
For this meal, I used a 14-inch Dutch oven for the ribs and my 12-inch Dutch for the baked potatoes. The first thing I did was put my rub together. This is a really simple rub and a really simple cooking method. But, just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it aint good.
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
That’s it. I rub that all over 1 rack of beef ribs and let it sit for 6 hours or more. Then I cut the rack of ribs in half (4 ribs in each section) and they are ready for the Dutch oven.
For my 14-inch Dutch oven I will start with 24 coals. If you are not using a trivet, use 9 coals on the bottom and 15 coals on top. If you are using a trivet, I think it’s best to even out the coals, 12 on bottom and 12 on top.
When using a trivet and stacking the ribs, the top layer of ribs is very close to the lid and the heat source, by using a few less coals on top I won’t burn the ribs.
Next, place the Dutch oven on the coals, pour in 1 ½ to 2 cups of liquid, place your trivet in the Dutch and stack your ribs on the trivet. Let them slow cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours.
You will need to replace the coals after about 50 minutes. At this point, I will reduce the number of coals by two, 22 total coals instead of 24. The first set of coals heats up the cast iron and you don’t need as many to maintain that heat, especially when slow cooking ribs.
If you are cooking baked potatoes, you need to put them on after about 1 ½ hours or so. I rub them with olive oil and season each potato with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Use 12-inch Dutch oven with 10 coals below and 19 coals on top, place the potatoes inside and cook until tender. About 45 minutes to an hour.
When it’s done, dig in. Like I said, it’s a simple meal but sometimes simple is really good.
So, dust off your Dutch oven and cook up some delicious beef ribs this weekend.