Using a well seasoned marinade before these smoked beef ribs hit the cooker adds flavor while helping tenderize the meat. Beef ribs can be a little on the tough side if not prepared and cooked properly. The marinade adds one more way to ensure that your smoked ribs are nice and tender.
This recipe makes enough marinade for two seven-bone slabs of beef ribs. It's important to separate the slab into individual ribs before marinating. That'll let the marinade do it's work easier, since it can soak into all sides of each rib.
Be sure to find beef ribs that are nice and meaty. Look closely between each rib bone on the meaty side. Often times the butcher will trim a lot of the meat out from between the ribs.
If you can't find any meaty ribs, ask the butcher to get you some slabs that haven't been trimmed this way. If he can't help you out, go somewhere else to buy your beef ribs!
For the marinade you'll need:
Cover the ribs with the marinade, letting the liquid work for at least one day, preferably two days. Since the marinade is acidic from the orange juice, do the marinating in a non-reactive container. Plastic, glass or ceramic, and stainless steel are all fine to use.
The easiest and cleanest method is to use a large zip-lock freezer bag. Be sure to place the bag of marinating ribs in a large bowl or baking dish to catch the drips in case it springs a leak.
When it's cooking time, remove the ribs from the bag and wipe off some of the marinade. Season them on all sides with kosher salt, using about two teaspoons per slab.
Preheat your smoker so it stabilizes in the 225°F to 240°F temperature range. Oak wood chips or a fruit wood, like apple or cherry, are good smoker wood choices.
Smoke the ribs for about three hours, then pull them out and wrap them up tightly in a couple layers of heavy duty foil. Place the wrapped ribs back in the smoker for another two hours, or until the smoked beef ribs are tender. No smoker wood chips are necessary from this point on.