Jacob's Ladder - BBQ Beef Rib
"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."
"And he cooked, and behold a BBQ set up in the back garden, and the temperature of it was 125 centigrade, and behold a fiery hot beef rib slathered in chilli sauce cooking on it."
This is the best piece of meat you are ever going to eat. But you need to read carefully. Beef rib is very easy to cook and very forgiving, but don't muck around., Everything has to be just perfect and then your beef will be astonishing.
Ask your butcher for a Jacob's Ladder, short rib, or beef rib. If he or she says "you can't get them", "they are not that nice", "they need to be boiled", or "they are an American thing" then walk out and never buy a single sausage from that man again.
We like our short ribs with lots of meat (chuck? or brisket?) attached and dry-aged for about 3 or 4 weeks. Some butchers dry age for longer than that, but they get a bit cheesy for my liking. Wet aged short ribs (in plastic) are fine too, but they might need a little more seasoning.
The cut pictured is grass-fed Irish beef from Crosby Family Butchers in Collon, Co. Louth and cost just €20. It will easily feed 10 people as part of a meal, or 5 as a BBQ treat.
Seasoning a beef short rib is simple. Do not use sugar or sweet sauce.
Start by rubbing in a generous measure of sea salt. Slather with hot sauce, mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or any similar savoury sauce. Finally, use sugar and salt-free beef dry rub to cover the joint. You can just use pepper if you want to keep it simple.
In a domestic oven simply set the temperature to 125C or 250F and cook until a skewer goes into the meat like a knife into butter. This will take 4 to 8 hours depending on the meat weight.
NB: This beef needs to be cooked fully and if it feels overcooked and tough the chances are it needs a lot more time. It will become juicy and tender if you keep patient.
In a BBQ arrange your charcoal for offset cooking (so the meat is not over the charcoal). Use some wood chunks or chips if you have them - beef should work well with almost any wood, but oak is the classic.
Get the BBQ up to 125C or 250F and do whatever you have to to keep it there for up to 8 hours! If you have only ever made burgers on your BBQ before then you are in for a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, beef rib is forgiving so keep at it. If like us you are using a Weber BBQ Kettle then try keeping the top and bottom vent about 75% closed (lid on obviously). You will need to add more charcoal at some stage.
As with the oven, the meat is cooked when a skewer or probe slides into it like soft butter. This will take 4 to 8 hours.
Leave the beef rib to rest for an hour. If you keep it in a cool box or under a few towels it will not get cold.
Slice between the ribs and serve with mashed potato, mac and cheese, corn, or anything else that takes your fancy. You could even up the heat now and serve with our fiery hot Fury or #killerplum. This meat should be the best beef-based meal you have ever eaten. If it is not the best then find yourself a new butcher and try again.