7-Bone Whole Rib De-Boned: Rib Lunch & Ribeye Dinner Q-view W/Method

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Smoking Guru
Original poster
OTBS Member
Aug 27, 2008
Hey all! For today's drool-view, I have a 18lb 7-bone beef rib which I wanted to make a double meal from. I had a minor delema, being the single piece was too large to eat for one meal without leftovers, and I'm not a big fan of reheated beef roasts, as I like my beef med/rare. I tossed a few ideas for a couple days while the beast was thawing in my Q-fridge after after a 12-hour water bath to get the thaw started, and ribs for lunch with bone-less prime rib for dinner seemed to keep topping my list, and, slicing a bone-in whole beef rib is somewhat of a PITA ('cause everyone wants a bone), so I had to go with the flow and see where the ride takes me.

I decided I'd try my hand with a carving knife and attempt to make a rather meaty slab of ribs, somewhere in the 6-lb range, while leaving 12-lbs for the bone-less ribeye. This will make for a faster cooking rib roast than I'm accustomed to, so I'll need to make adjustment on timing to have it ready on time without being excessively early. Once I get finished with the knife-work, I'll have a better idea on timing by looking at the cross-section to determine the approx, rate of time it will cook through.

Anyway, that's todays project. Come along for the ride!

***Notes on this smoke: 1) beware of the drool factor... 2) I'll post this in progress due to tons of pics and slow uploads, so bear with me, please...I promise it'll be worth the wait.

Todays victim which will soon succum to aspiration of thin blue (hickory) smoke, with it's final resting place being in our bellies! LOL!!!:


This cutting board is 15" x 21", so yeah, that's a good sized slab of beef;


Lets get started preparing this cherished whole beef rib, shall we?

I cut the end of the bag open with the package in a vertical position in the kitchen sink, filled it with cold water, poured the liquids into the sink and repeated. This reduced the messiness of laying out the meat onto a board by removing the thicker juices from the meat. I like my meats to be able to drip dry a few minutes before I begin doing any trimming or other processing anyway, and this removes the stickiness of the packaged liquids which will be lost before it ever get cooked, so I figure it's best to just get rid of it right away.

The small end with the heaviest cross-section:


The large end with the lightest cross-section:


You'll notice the exterior color of the wet aged beef is nearly the color of cyro-vac packaged pork ribs...more pink than a deeper red color typical of freshly cut beef:


I worked out an end-to-end fillet with the rib bones up (ribeye flat on the board) for separation of the slab of ribs from the ribeye with a 9" carving knife (fresh off the steel, of course). This resulted in a relatively flat cut accross the length and width of the ribeye, leaving the typical heavier edge which tapers down towards the cut end of the bone in a whole roast. This can cause issues with even cooking throughout the cut, but I can take advantage of minor grate temp variances in the smoker to compensate for this by placing the heavy edge of the cut in the hotter area, so that problem is solved already.

Here, I'm holding the slab of ribs over the ribeye, and there's that nice dark red beef color:



The slab of ribs, laying bone down, as I begin to assess the cross-section for cooking times...nearly 2" in thickness on the edges, and 1.5" at the center of the arc of the bone...I'll weigh them in a bit for a better assessment:


Bones up:


I'll get these rubbed and into the smoker in a minute, but I want to have a better look at the ribeye, get it rubbed, wrapped and resting in the fridge for 30-60 minutes before smoking, so these can wait a bit: 


The ribeye, still laying in bone-up orientation:


Large end, again, the thinest cross-section, now being approx. 2-1/2" thick:


The small end, about 3-1/4" thick...notice the pink on the end and red on the fresh cut, just the way it should be: 


It's time to get the final prep of ribeye done...fat cap up:


The fat-cap is scored to assist rendering and self basting, and to reduce fat cap shrinkage which can bare the meat and leave it completely unprotected on that area...and, it just looks so cool when the meat comes out of the smoker, too:



Rubbed with my Cherry Beef Rub for heavy cuts (recipe found in the Wiki under "C", if you're interested), wrapped and ready to rest in the fridge...this weighed 12.5lbs, so I have a better idea on smoke time now (approx 8-9 hrs for 145* I/T):



Let's get those ribs rubbed and smokin'!!!

The same rub as used on the ribeye, only you can see it un-wrapped here:




I weighed an identical cookie sheet as the slab of ribs was resting in, zero-ed the scale and commenced my final assessment before the smoke. Pretty close weight for what I wanted to accomplish with this project today, so let the smoke begin!:



Into the Smoke Vault 24 @ 225* with a 1/3 full water pan, 24* and snowing:


And, 30 minutes later, I found myself unwrapping the ribeye with the fat-cap down by cutting through the poly to open it all up, then, flipping it over onto the smoker grate. The cherry rub has really melted away into the natural meat juices here:


Time to start making the ribeye happier:




3 hours for the ribs, and 2.5 hours for the ribeye...I rotated the rib grate 180* for more even cooking @ 2hrs into the smoke:



Let's have a closer look at the ribs. I did a 180* grate rotation @ 2hrs into the smoke for more even cooking of the slab. Juice is puddling up on the surface indicating some of the extent of cooking. Pull-back of meat from the bones is the best indicator, then, a bend-test in which lifting of the slab off the grate with tongs from the center of the slab shows how much it sags. Less sag = more done, due to tightening of the meat fibers between the bones from the natural process of meat shrinkage when cooking:


I spun the grate around again, and found some nice pull-back already, so this rib slab is pretty happy already @ 3hrs. I'll try my hand at no-foiled beef ribs today. I've only had a few opportunities to smoke beef ribs...hmm, last time was loin backs if I recall, and I foiled them for a 4-2-1, I think. Anyway, going straight smoke/open grate, I figure 6 hours on these...we'll see:


Let's not forget the ribeye...scored fat-cap is rendering out nice and slow as evidenced by the increasing spread between the cuts, and it should leave some nice crispy fat when the smoke clears tonight:



I'll have at least two more installments before this is finished...hmm, ribs will come out in about another ~2 hours, so of course the finished pics and review of the no-foiled beef ribs. I'll stab a probe into the heavier cross-section of the ribeye at that point as well, and see how it's coming along. Then, the finish pics and review of the boneless ribeye.

Hope you're enjoying the ride so far! Back ASAP!

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Geez Eric once again I'm drooling all over my keyboard. I don't know if I can stand the finish! 

BUt BUT BUT Eric you take us right to the almost end and and then you stopped. Man I'll kick your right plum in the kister now show us the sliced Q.  Come  on old buddy old pal........Well it started out really reallt great there Eric.
Incredible looking smoke Eric. I agree with Mark you do owe us some sliced pics too.
I'll tell ya, this guy is so good it's almost scary. Not only does he blow you away with pics, he gives the details of why he does what he does along the way. I cannot wait to see the finish on this latest one.
Thanks guys, yes I owe sliced pics for sure.

I did add a bit more to the Vault, so I caught these for your drooling pleasure while I had the door open...

I just couldn't resist the urge to toss in some Russet taters...I mean, what's a really great smoked beef dinner without smoked taters? They're just going in @ 5-hrs, 20-min for the ribs (4:50 for the ribeye). Originally, I had a 2-grate position step between the ribeye and the beef rib slab, but the ribeye has bulked-up from shrinkage enough now that I needed to drop it down one grate postion to fit the grate of potatoes up above. The rib slab will baffle heat getting to the ribeye somewhat, but it should still come out about right, as I had chamber temps running about 10* over target quite a bit, but I didn't get concerned over it...:


Ribs are chugging along nicely...as soon as I see the juices begin to dry up a bit on the surface, I'll do a bend test and see if we're eating beef ribs for a mid-afternoon lunch as the big game starts or not...should be pretty close, I think...:


The ribeye, just getting happier by the minute...:



Ribs in about an hour, from the looks of things.

Back soon!

Looks Great, Awesome Pics...


Thanks all! This is truely an easy and enjoyable smoke today. Finished pics and reviews are here!!!

Aaaaaaaaaaaah man, this is the stuff great smokes are made of!!!

I pulled both cuts of beef within 2 or 3 minutes of each other, then cranked the Vault to 300* to get the taters finished.

6-hrs, 45-min to finish temp of 145* for the ribeye, which was 1 hr, 15 minutes less than my lowest estimate, but better early than late when you have a house full of hungry bellies:




The ribeye will rest covered with a towel only on this board for 40-45 minutes to redistribute the juices before slicing.

My totally smoky beef trophy:


Now, onto the ribs while the ribeye rests...the cherry rub gives a very deep color after a nice low & slow smoke...no, that's not charred, but it is a naturally sticky glaze that's oooooh so good. 7-hrs, 15 minutes for the ribs when I decided my bend test was satisfactory...which sort of fooled me, as I figured a bit less time, but foiling would have picked up the pace by an hour or so, although this can soften up the rub's natural glazing a bit...hmm, that shouldn't be an adverse effect though:




Time for a knife!!!

I rested these for about 10 minutes or so before grabbing a steel and knife...freshly straighten knife on every chopping, cutting or carving project...sharp knives are your friend.

I like to lay my ribs membrane up to begin slicing, cutting the lenght of the rib meat, and most of the way through to the crown/meat side as it's easier to work the blade between the chine bones, then, I lift the slab and draw thew blade up from the bottom following the first cut to get all the way through:


Mmm...juicy, tender, smoky, beef ribby goodness...:







My oldest boy was home for the weekend from college and has not had the opportunity to eat my cherry dry rub yet, as my days-off work have been mid-week since I that rub was concieved. He said was eating a rib and said it was the best dry rub I've made so far, and that I should not change a thing with the rub.

That in itself set me back a couple paces, while I re-grouped my thoughts. He's had tons of my smoked meats and other items as well, and for him to say that kind of had me wondering if I had hit my peak in this flavor quest I seem to have been on for the past year or so. Nah, can't be so! It is a very good dry rub, but I already have another flavor sensation in the works, slated for release sometime in March...sorry, you'll have to wait for that story.

Everyone here, including myself, really, really enjoyed these ribs. For unfoiled, the texture was far better than I expected, which was likely due to the extra thickness of meat I left on the rib bones, and also owing some extra moisture and juiciness from the natural intermuscular fat layering of the beef rib itself. Too good to not try this again, that's for sure.

Anyway, I think that's a rap for the rib smoke.

The ribeye was really nice...

The small end was done to med/well, which was a tad drier than I like, but we have several who like their beef more done than I do, so this worked out just fine today:



The small end (heavy cross-section) was pink and bursting with juices:





Yeah, I'm way beyond hungry by this point in time, and everyone in the house knows what the sound of a knife drawn over a steel means when I'm cooking dinner.

Served with a tablesponn of meat juices from center-bowl of the cutting board...(no au jus needed here...
...), and a smoked russet with butter and S & P:





Will I ever do a seperation of the ribs from the ribeye again? Believe me, it was too easy to not do it from now on. I don't know why I never did it until now. Serving the ribs as an appetizer before the main entree of the ribeye and potatoe was the bomb. Those ribs had an amazingly juicy and tender texture and such intense flavor, not only from the dry rub but the rib meat...and the boneless ribeye sliced up so nicely for serving and was also done to near perfection for my palate...the natural flavors unadulterated by anything (coffee au jus included)...oh yeah, I'll do this again!

Overall, if I had fewer mouths to feed with the preference of med/well beef, I'd have foiled the large end (thinnest cross-section) after about3.5-4 hours to slow it down a bit for a more med-med/rare temp like the small end (heavy cross section). Other than that, I can't think of anything I would change. The dry rub is a very unique flavor which I'm very pleased with thus far. If you visit the Wiki to check it out, you'll see what I mean...several variants are posted already, including a glaze.

Wheew! I think I wore out my computer and digi-cam today, but after more than 9 hours total uploading/posting time, I now can only say..........................

..........................it's been fun and now I'm done!

Thanks again all! See ya on the next trip to smoke heaven!

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Eric, here I set in Virginia, on a very cold night, outside temp. is 28 degrees, I only had a light lunch today at around 2:00 PM, it is now 12:26 AM and I just went through your entire post and now I am drooling all over my computer key board and thinking of what I've got in the fridge to eat this late at night.  I will be on the road most of the day tomorrow as I travel to the University of Virginia Medical Center for a kidney exam on Tuesday at 12:00 noon and I have to be NPO after 12:00 midnight tomorrow night.  That is some of the best looking Q I have ever seen, don't know if I could do the butcher work but I am sure I can use your rub and follow all of the instructions you have given on this one post.  That meat looks absolutely fabulous, looks more like something I'd see in a high dollar restaurant than something coming out of a meat smoker!  Your pics, instructions and commentary along the way was wonderful, can't hardly wait till I get back later in the week and maybe I can fire up my new smoker, get it seasoned up good and then do some ribs or a butt or something just to kill my craving for something smoked that you have so simply kicked into high gear!  Great job Eric, fantastic!

Your SMF Friend,

Thanks Barry. The knife work was actually pretty easy once I had a plan on how I wanted to get it accomplished...just be sure to start with a very sharp and freshly straightened edge on your blade, and work it smoothly through the meat. Draw the knife through the direction of your cut with as little force as possible...that's when you'll be the safest and can cut most accurately. I actually have much more difficulty in accurately filleting a smaller fish (2-3lbr) than I had turning out these two cuts of beef today. I don't handle a knife other than to sharpen and straighten our kitchen cutlery, and a few times a week to do some light trimming (mostly) for my smokes, so if I have any unusual knife work like today, I make sure I have a solid plan on what I want to do before I put the blade to the meat, so I can do it safely and effectively. Not too hard to do, my friend, but do avoid any distractions.

I have had prime rib and baron of beef from some pretty decent establishments over the years, and most of the visits I had for these meals were good experiences and very good food as well. IMO, there is a huge difference in what goes into a smaller cooking session when someone with an eye for details is tending things, especially just a family meal instead of mass quantities. There seems to be quality control issues from time to time, and these are likely to not be intentional, but these cooks have alot going on in their kitchens and can easily miss checking temps, times, etc. A few little things can add up rather quickly. Seasonings aren't even close to what you can do at home either, because you build the flavors you want and leave out what you don't want. And as you mentioned, to bring something like this out of a smoker, well, it's just not expected by most folks. The two separate parts of this smoke, being the ribs and the ribeye, are likely not a widely practiced method (I know some here do it this way, but not much is posted on this particular subject), but it seemed to be the right path for me today.

Hey, sorry to hear about the kidney issues...never a good thing to deal with that. Hope they get you straigthened out without too much more trouble and loss of time. Hate to have a fellow smoker down and out. I have a co-worker who's been battling with his kidneys for about 10 years...even had one transplant shortly after it all started...there just does not seem to be an end in sight for his battle, and not alot of quality time for him either...at least not what I would call his share of QT.

Yeah, when you get back home and are rested/healing up, a good smoke will help bring the spirits up as well as provide some great eating.

Best wishes for a safe trip, and good news from the doc!

Great Job Eric 

Thanks Brian,

Sheesh, musta stomped on ya quite a while back...still jumping back and forth here, and it probably took me an hour and a half to get my last post up.

Ah, neccesary distractions are OK...part of life.

Good smokes to ya, brother!

That is some awesome looking grub there. Why do I always look at this stuff when I still have an hour and a half til lunch time. You're killin me. Nice job. I'll bet those crusty little fat checker squares on the roast were good.Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
eric man you are hurting me that is some great looking beef

i have got to try that

thanks for the pic and step by step.that is fantasied
Those are some great looking money shots there!

 Thanks, I had a blast with this smoke...I knew I couldn't go wrong with any of it.

That is some awesome looking grub there. Why do I always look at this stuff when I still have an hour and a half til lunch time. You're killin me. Nice job. I'll bet those crusty little fat checker squares on the roast were good.Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Thanks, oh, yeah, you gotta watch what threads you open here, especially if meal-time is a long wait...LOL!!! Oh, rendered fat-cap? Yep, just like you say...crispy goodness in the third degree. I had trouble leaving that alone so I could head on into the center of the eye. Man, we ended up with 1/2 of the ribeye in the fridge...I think I have a plan on how to reheat it without over doing it and drying it out. I'll get on that on the evening of the 9th (Wed).

eric man you are hurting me that is some great looking beef

i have got to try that

thanks for the pic and step by step.that is fantasied
Thanks, hey, if you have the opportunity to grab one and try this, I think you'll relly enjoy it. One thing to remember is that the ribeye actually takes less time than the ribs, at least in a vertical. And the ribs, even without foiling, having a bit of extra meat on them as I did here seem pretty hard to overcook. At least they seem like they would be pretty forgiving. I pushed the time pretty long to get it tender and they still had a great texture and moisture. I don't think much of that came from the dry rub...well, not likely anyway. It's just a good cut for this, and with a heavier than normal rib slab, it worked out fine. The ribeye itself...not much to it, other than monitor temps after about 4 hours, and keep the thinnest end towards a cooler section of the cooking grate, and maybe foil that end about 1/2 the way through to slow it dowd.
Good Lord Eric, your killing me. That ribeye was unbelievable!

Thanks AL! That was a pretty decent run. I've only smoked 4 or 5 of the 7-bone whole beef ribs now. My first was Christmas Eve of 2009...that was a killer too...heck, they all were, I guess. Anyway, this was by far my favorite of them all. I guess being able to make two projects from one piece of meat was pretty cool, too. It helped to keep things even more challenging for me...yeah, I'm a sucker for a good challenge...I look for ways to test my skills sometimes just to stay sharp, but along with every challenge there are things to be learned...that's probably why I keep pushing myself and stretching the boudaries so much.

The ribs for a snack to get the belly ready for the real deal...that was great. The ribeye to top it all off, mmm-mmm-mmm! And best of all, I had a great time bringing it all together!

Thanks again, everyone!

I will post what I do with the remaining ~5 lbs of ribeye...got a pretty good idea already how to bring that together for another good meal. At least the beef end of the meal.

EDIT: sliced the remains to 1" thick steaks and did a quick reheat under the broiler on high heat and close clearance...drizzled some worcestershire on mine...not bad, still moist, tender and had the crispy scored fat-cap. Forgot pics, but nothing special anyway.

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