Grilled Bison Short Ribs

Chef's notes:

A bison short rib might seem like a hard thing to find. But there are a growing number of bison ranches and farms springing up across the country as more and more people are discovering that bison is really tasty. As well as realizing that it is a lot better for you than “feed-lot beef”. One place that you often run into bison ranchers is at the farmers market. Bison is often featured at co-ops as healthy alternatives to corn-fed beef. This is absolutely true. As far as I know they haven’t yet figured out how to feed corn to bison. Hopefully they never will.


  • 5–6 pounds bison short ribs (eight rib sections)
  • ½ tsp coriander, cracked
  • ½ tsp white peppercorn, cracked
  • ½ tsp black peppercorn, cracked
  • ¼ tsp mustard seed, cracked
  • 1 tsp coarse grind salt
  • Vegetable oil to coat the grill grates
  • 10 oz baby button mushrooms, washed
  • 1 tomato, seeded, peeled, and chopped
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz Guinness
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 sprigs thyme

Smoky-Grilled Bison Short Rib Recipe: Peppercorn and Coriander Rubbed, Braised with Mushrooms and Guinness

  1. Pick up some short ribs. There are basically two different cuts of short ribs: English style and flanken style. Either will work for this recipe. These happen to be English style, which is usually easier to find. If you are unable to find bison short ribs, which are sometimes hard to get, substitute beef short ribs.
  2. Crack the spices. Add the whole spices to a mortar and pestle with the coarse salt and crack them together. You want some bigger chunks in there, so don’t go too crazy. You can also use a spice grinder to do this. Just pulse it once or twice and check before pulsing again. Or you can crush the spices with a heavy pot on a cookie sheet.
  3. Season the short ribs and grill them. Roll the short ribs through the spice mixture to coat them evenly on all sides. Fire up the grill to high heat and let it warm up for 10 minutes. Then brush the grill clean and wipe it with a paper towel lightly soaked in vegetable oil. Brown the short ribs until they are crispy and dark brown on all sides.
  4. Begin braising and smoking the short ribs. Put the short ribs in the aluminum cake pan and add the other ingredients. Make an aluminum foil smoker or use a smoker box to add smoke to the grill while the ribs braise. Put two handfuls of soaked wood chips into a heavy-duty foil pouch (poke a few holes in it) or a cast-iron smoker box, and place it over the heat under the ribs. You can do this by removing one of the grates as I have here. Turn the heat to medium-low and close the lid.
  5. Flip the short ribs every 15 minutes. Once you see some smoke escaping from the lid of the grill, check to make sure the smoker box isn’t burning too hot. We want just a little smoke at a time as we will be cooking these ribs for a couple of hours. The internal temperature of the grill should be somewhere around 400 degrees F. Flip the ribs every 15 minutes. Don’t refill the smoker box more than once or your ribs may be too smoky.
  6. When the short ribs are done they will be fork tender. The ribs should be getting close to done after a couple of hours. If the liquid runs low, add more beer or stock. Be careful if you are using a salty stock, the ribs may get too salty. Use more beer than stock if this is the case. Once the ribs begin to fall apart, remove them and put them on a plate. Fish out the mushrooms or just serve them with what’s left of the braising liquid. It should be pretty flavorful.

Tips & Tricks

  • Sometimes I trim the fat off the short ribs before cooking them. It’s not necessary for this recipe. Almost all of the fat is rendered off during cooking.
  • Hold the paper towel with your tongs to avoid getting burned when oiling the grill grates.
  • A good mortar and pestle is a great tool. This one pictured is only about 40 bucks and it’s worth every penny.
  • A cast-iron smoker box is definitely the way to go. The tin ones get all warped and twisted when they get hot. Or you can just make your own using aluminum foil. It’s more wasteful, but it works just as well.
  • The smoker-box or foil packet if you are using it, doesn’t have to go under the grates to work. They actually work right on the grill too. Just don’t wet down the wood chips before you put them on.