Short Ribs Never Reaching Temp

Rel C

New member
Completed my first ever smoke this weekend. I have to say the info on here is amazing, was beyond impressed with results and ease of operation. So thanks to everyone who contributes.

I did a few flanken beef short ribs, about 2" thick at the bone, and I am very confused by the results. Everything I read online says this cut should reach 200F to be ready. A whole slab takes about 6 hours at 225F, so I figured these would be done in a few hours less.

Out of excitement and curiosity I cut one bone off at the 3 hour mark (when I was doing my first check on some baby backs), with the internal temp having reach around 170. It was amazing, juicy and tender. I was debating taking them all off at that time, but I decided to follow the recipes online and let it reach 200F. 2 hours later when my baby backs are done, the internal temp of the short ribs is still only at about 180, and at this point they look dried out. This time they were much tougher, and I wish I would have taken them off earlier.

My smoker temps were very consistent between 225-250F. So what's the deal? Would the ribs have gotten more tender if I had left them in there much longer and finally reached 200F? Neither time I sampled the ribs was the meat shredding, but I much preferred the earlier sample (it had the texture of a grilled steak but with smoke flavor). Considering I had almost reached the estimated cook time for a full slab, I don't understand how a 2" wide short rib would take the same amount of time.

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Honor Circle
I've never cooked them flanken style. I've done single bones and I've done a 3 or 4 bone rack. My experience is that that they do need to be at 200 or close to be tender. I know that people grill the thinner sliced flanken cut ones more like a steak. I googled it an I see a bunch of sous vide pages talking about taking them to around 170. So my answer is that I don't know. They probably toughen up when you cook them and reach a point at which the collagen breaks down and they become juicy and tender again. Generally they have a lot of fat so a longer cooker would render more of that out. Everything about English cut short ribs is usually talking about a long braise or in our case a long smoke to a higher internal finishing temp. Flanken cut seems to be a short cook, but they are both the same part of the cow, just cut differently! It's a head scratcher for sure.

Rel C

New member
Thanks for your feedback Dustin. Flanken cut was all I could find on short notice. I'm going to try the whole slab next time to see what happens.
They definitely were very fatty, and I wanted to render more of that fat out, but I really feel like going longer would have dried them out completely. I might try one more flanken cut at take it to 200 to see what happens.


I haven't tried them yet but I thought they were to cook more like a brisket than baby backs. So I wouldn't be surprised if they took longer to get to that temp.

Rel C

New member
Hey Daryl. I can see how a whole slab would take a while (6-8 hours according to most recipes), while I was doing a 2" flanken cut and took them off about at the 5 hour mark... should have been close to 200 at that point but not even close. My smoker temp was very consistent around 230F. That's my confusion. I will try again soon and give me results.

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
Just probe for doneness. Like Aaron Franklin does in this vid. He uses his Thermopen to probe and never takes a temp. I've found probing to be more useful on most meats, pork butt, pork ribs, brisket.


Bob Correll

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I agree with Lynn, as it's been said here many times, it's done when it's done, you can't always go by time and temp.