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Memphis-Style Dry-Rubbed Ribs

Memphis-Style Dry-Rubbed Ribs


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Memphis is not only the pork barbecue capital of the world, it's home to dry rubbed ribs.

Memphis is not only the pork barbecue capital of the world, it’s home to dry rubbed ribs. Here with her take on the Bluff City classic is Kingsford Invitational judge and owner of Memphis Barbecue Co., Melissa Cookston. Make the dry rub (and add it to your rack of ribs) a day in advance for maximum flavor.

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Ingredients

For the Rub

  • 1 Cup turbinado sugar, ground
  • ¼ Cup Kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground

For the Ribs

  • 1 2.25-pound slab of baby back pork ribs (also known as loin-back ribs)
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
  • Tablespoon BBQ sauce, for glazing, optional

Servings4

Calories Per Serving860

Folate equivalent (total)12µg3%


The Meatwave

Back in the day, I'd call pretty much any rib I didn't slather with sauce, "dry ribs." Not only were they indeed dry, but they looked and tasted like the dry ribs I've always been served at restaurants. It wasn't until I had some excellent dry ribs at Peg Leg Porker, down in Nashville, that I understood just what I'd been missing. So I got to talking to pitmaster Carey Bringle about what sets his ribs apart from the crowd.

For starters, Carey's ribs more closely follow the Memphis tradition, in which the meat gets slapped with a vinegar mop during cooking, followed by a rub applied at the very end. The result is tangy ribs that pack in the full, raw flavor of the rub, making it drastically different from your average recipe&mdashor really any rib I've cooked and labeled "dry" in the past.


Memphis-style Dry-rub Ribs

We love a good rack of ribs. The only thing we love more? A good rack of ribs on gameday.

But you don’t need to hit a sports bar to order up a pile of meaty goodness when you can make them at your very own tailgate with just a little bit of time and effort. Impress your buddies with these Memphis-style dry-rubbed ribs, which’ll require a bit of smoking time, but will deliver tons of flavor.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Char-Broil.

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  • 1 rack baby back ribs
  • 2 cups Char-Broil Whiskey Wood Chips
  • 1 1/2 cups fruit juice, such as apple or cherry
  • For the dry rub:
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • For the sop mop:
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp dry rub

Mix the dry rub ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Mix together the vinegar, water, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of the dry rub in a jar or bowl.

Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Reserve a tablespoon of the dry rub for using at the end and season the ribs with the rest of the rub, about 3 tablespoons, until the ribs are covered on all sides and edges.

Set up the grill for indirect cooking. Make a "smoke bomb" by putting 1 cup of the wood chips in a 12-inch by 12-inch piece of foil folded to make a sealed envelop. Poke holes in the top and place the packet directly above the burner that will be lit. Place the fruit juice in a small tin pan or bowl and place on the grill grate next to the burner.

Preheat the grill to low (300-325 °F) and wait until the smoke begins to wisp out of the packet.

Place the ribs bone side down on the grill grate on the opposite end of the lit burner, close the lid, and cook for 90 minutes. When you see the smoke stop coming out of your grill, replenish the wood chips in the foil pack. When you replace the chips, also brush some of the sop mop onto the ribs if the surface has dried.

Remove the ribs from the grill and place bone side up on a 18-inch by 48-inch piece of foil that has been folded in half to form an 18-inch by 24-inch rectangle. Pour 1/4 cup of the fruit juice over the ribs and tightly seal the pack. Place back on the grill for another 90 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil pack from the grill, remove the ribs from the foil and place them directly over the lit burner. Cook about 10 minutes per side until done. Note: For extra thick ribs, this can take longer, up to 30 minutes total. The ribs are done when the meat has drawn back from the bones and a toothpick inserts easily into the meat.

Remove ribs from the grill and cover the top and bottom with the remaining sop mop. Season with the remaining dry rub. Slice and serve.


It's All in the Rub: How to Make Real-Deal Memphis-Style Dry Ribs

Back in the day, I'd call pretty much any rib I didn't slather with sauce, "dry ribs." Not only were they indeed dry, but they looked and tasted like the dry ribs I've always been served at restaurants. It wasn't until I had some excellent dry ribs at Peg Leg Porker, down in Nashville, that I understood just what I'd been missing. So I got to talking to pitmaster Carey Bringle about what sets his ribs apart from the crowd.

For starters, Carey's ribs more closely follow the Memphis tradition, in which the meat gets slapped with a vinegar mop during cooking, followed by a rub applied at the very end. The result is tangy ribs that pack in the full, raw flavor of the rub, making it drastically different from your average recipe—or really any rib I've cooked and labeled "dry" in the past.

Greek Meets Barbecue

Trace the history of these dry ribs back to their source, and you'll land at the place synonymous with the style: Rendezvous, in Memphis. Founder Charlie Vergos first brought ribs to his restaurant in the early 1950s, in an attempt to find a use for the cheap cut—generally considered scraps back then, and priced accordingly. He cooked the ribs in a coal shoot used to smoke hams, grilling them directly over charcoal a few feet below.

Influenced by his Greek heritage, Charlie used an acidic vinegar baste that he brushed on the ribs while cooking. Once done, they were coated with a spice mixture that brought together traditional Greek elements like oregano and garlic, with Cajun spices like paprika and chili powders. And so, dry ribs were born (although Rendezvous doesn't like to call them "dry" and you won't find that term on their menu). Regardless, that was the formula I set out to follow, in the hopes of staying at least somewhat true to the original.

Forget Low and Slow

There are many ways that Rendezvous' ribs depart from standard barbecued ribs, but one of the most stark differences is that they're not smoked over low, indirect heat. Popular wisdom would tell you that pork ribs need to be slowly cooked in order to render the fat and break down connective tissue in a way that ensures a juicy and tender end product. Well, these ribs throw that ideology out the window, instead relying on cooking hot and fast over direct heat. In reality, it's not all that hot, but compared to standard barbecue temperatures around 225°, the 325-350°F range I shot for here is blazing.

You can easily hit that temperature range on a standard kettle grill and hold it for the one-to-two hours of required cooking time, but over direct heat, the ribs would burn. In order to deliver a more gentle heat, the ribs have to placed a safe distance from the hot charcoal—ideally, about two or three feet. Luckily, my Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker presented the perfect solution.

This vertical smoker diffuses heat and maintains a low temperature by placing a pan filled with water right above the charcoal. By removing the water pan, I was able to bring my smoker up to a steady 325°F, and place my ribs on a top rack approximately three feet away from the charcoal.

If you don't have this type of smoker, you can still pull off this recipe on a kettle grill by using a two-zone indirect fire, in which all the coals are placed on one side of the charcoal grate and the ribs are placed on the cool side of the grill. But while this technique will produce fine ribs, you'll miss out on one thing that direct grilling delivers—smoke created by juices and rendering fat hitting the sizzling-hot charcoal.

Getting Cooking

The oddest part of testing this recipe was putting fully naked meat on the smoker. Without any seasoning on them, they just didn't look right. But I stuck with the process, starting the ribs off plain and applying a mop of vinegar, water, and dry rub every fifteen-to-twenty minutes.

After the first couple brushes, the ribs started picking up a light reddish color, and by the time they were done, they had turned a beautiful burnished mahogany.

I tested doneness by lifting the ribs from one end and seeing if they had the slight bend that indicates they're tender, but not quite ready to fall off the bone. I cooked up both baby backs—the traditional Rendezvous choice—and spare ribs that I had trimmed down into a St. Louis-style cut. The baby backs took about 90 minutes from start to finish, while the spares clocked in between two and two-and-a-half hours, depending on how meaty they were.

The Rub Down

Hot off the pit, it was time to give these ribs their defining characteristic—a dry rub. "Rub" isn't really an apt description here because the spice mixture doesn't get literally rubbed in. Instead, I applied a final brushing of the mop (in order to help the seasoning adhere), and sprinkled the spice mixture all over each rack.

There probably aren't many people who can tell you with confidence the exact ingredients in, and volume of, Rendezvous' rub, but I did come up with a mixture of herbs and spices that I think represents the Memphis flavor pretty darn accurately. I started off with a standard paprika base for a nice red color, followed by brown sugar, salt, granulated garlic and onion, celery salt and seed, chili powder, black pepper, thyme, oregano, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper. Altogether, it makes a slightly sweet, slightly spicy rub with a delicate earthiness and an herbal touch that combines both the Cajun and Greek influences in the original.

Dry, in a Good Way

I can understand why you wouldn't want to call these ribs "dry"—they're still tender and juicy. They do have more chew to them than your standard slow-smoked ribs, but there's no world in which the meat would be considered tough or dry.

But, as I'd hoped, the dry rub is what really defines this dish. It does give the ribs an herbal, earthy, sweet, and spicy flavor that works harmoniously as a whole, but because the rub doesn't spend hours in the smoker, you're still able to pinpoint individual spices.

Below the rub, the pork develops a delicate tanginess from all those bastings of vinegar, along with a mellow smokiness from the steaming charcoal. They're certainly unique, hinting at barbecue tradition, but far enough outside the norm that they can't be mistaken for anything other than the Memphis classic.


About Rendezvous Famous Seasoning

Founded in 1948, Rendezvous is crammed with memorabilia, romance, and history. Plus, you can’t beat the location right downtown Memphis in an alley.

Baby backs are the cut of choice, they are cooked hot and fast, and they are sprinkled liberally with their top secret seasoning. “We call it a seasoning, not a rub, because it is sprinkled on, not rubbed in,” says Nick Vergos, Charlie’s grandson.

Because The Rendezvous is so famous and popular, people, especially the media, are always asking the owners for their seasoning recipe. But, and I know this might shock some of you, the one they give out is most definitely not the one they use in the restaurant or sell in the bottle! Yet the bogus recipe is all over the internet.

How can I be so sure? The bottle label of Rendezvous Famous Seasoning says “Spices, paprika (color), garlic, monosodium glutamate, salt and less than 2% silicon dioxide added to prevent caking.” The recipe they give the media contains only salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, celery seed, paprika, and chile powder. But if you eat there or buy a bottle and sprinkle some in your hand, you can’t miss the whole coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and allspice seeds, among other things. So I have tried to reverse-engineer it. My version is a lot closer to the real thing than the one so widely circulated.

Now for my disclaimer: When in Memphis, you’ve gotta do The Rendezvous because it is so much fun, the staff is great, and it reeks of history. But it is not even in my top five in the area in my book. One of my complaints is that the rub is sprinkled on the ribs raw, uncooked. Most other restaurants that serve dry ribs sprinkle it on the raw meat, cook, and perhaps sprinkle on some more and cook some more, but the spices lose their rawness and bloom their full flavors when cooked in the oils of the meat. And forgive me if I’m biased, but most folks think Meathead’s Memphis Dust is a better BBQ pork rub. But if you are a fan of Rendezvous, this recipe will take you back.

Special thanks to several readers who have also attempted to duplicate the Vous technique and offered feedback.


Memphis Style Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

We don’t cook baby back ribs that often, but when we do, we usually do a wet marinade. This time we decided to try our hands at creating a Memphis style rub for a change of pace and it turned out quite delicious. We cooked the ribs on the grill, but we didn’t put them directly on the rack, but instead used a foil-lined baking sheet. They turned out to be moist and tender with just enough spice to have a little zing. The rub is something that could be used on different types of meat such as pork or chicken as well. We matched it with a Southwestern Pasta Salad that we’ll share the recipe for next week.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Rack of Baby Back Ribs – membrane removed
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Paprika (we used a hot paprika, but smoked paprika is fine)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp All-Spice
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all of the spices in a bowl. Using your hands, rub the ribs generously with the spice mixture. Let the ribs marinade in the rub for 2 to 4 hours in order to let the flavors absorb into the meat. Heat a grill to a medium-low heat, about 325 degrees. Place the ribs, bone-side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a non-stick spray. Set the baking sheet onto the grill and close the lid, keeping the heat around 325 degrees. After 10 minutes, flip the ribs to meat-side down. After another 10 minutes flip the ribs back to bone-side down. Cook another 10 minutes and remove from the grill. Let the ribs rest for about 5 minutes, then cut into individual ribs and serve.


Memphis Style Dry Rubbed Ribs

In late 2014, BBQ pitmaster Melissa Cookston brought her unique blend of Memphis-style barbecue to the Atlanta area with the opening of Memphis Barbecue Co. in Dunwoody. With the outdoor cooking season heating up, Cookston shares her recipe for dry rubbed ribs.

Ingredients for the rub

1 cup turbinado sugar, ground
1/4 cup kosher salt
6 tablespoons Spanish paprika
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground

Ingredients for the ribs

One 2.25-pound slab of baby back pork ribs (also known as loin-back ribs)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce, for glazing, optional

For the rub: The day before cooking, mix the turbinado sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, granulated garlic, onion powder, ground cumin, ground mustard, cayenne pepper, and black pepper together.

For the ribs: Take a slab of ribs and turn over so the curved side is up. Using your fingernail or a knife, pry under the membrane until you can put your finger under it and then pull it off.

Sprinkle this side of the ribs with about 1 tablespoon rub, and then about 1 tablespoon yellow mustard. Use the mustard to help evenly distribute the seasoning. Turn the ribs over and repeat the process. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.

To cook, start a smoker and bring the temp to 200 degrees F. Use apple or cherry wood chunks to provide smoke and flavor. Place the ribs in the smoker, curved side down. Smoke for 2 hours at 200 degrees F, and then raise the temperature to 250 degrees F for about 2 1/2 hours. Check for tenderness by testing if the bones will pull apart with a slight bit of pressure. If they are still tough, allow to cook for another 30 minutes.

Remove from the smoker. For dry-style ribs, sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon rub. For wet-style ribs, glaze with the BBQ sauce.


How to make Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs in the Oven

Prepare the tools and ingredients

Our success in this oven baked ribs recipe is all about the preparation!

Here&rsquos what you need to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 275°F. The ribs are going to slow roast in the oven, so we don&rsquot want the temperature any higher than this.
  • Line a roasting pan or a baking sheet with foil. Line it well because the juices from the meat will bake into your baking sheet, and it will be challenging to clean.
  • PRO TIP: If you&rsquore making a lot of ribs, you might need more than roasting pan or baking sheet.

Once your tools are prepared, it&rsquos time to work on the baby back ribs, too.

  • Clean the ribs. This means we&rsquore going to rinse them in the sink and pat &rsquoem dry with paper towels.
  • Remove the silver skin from the underside. To do this, you can dig your fingers beneath the filmy skin and yank it off.
  • Trim the ribs into 4-5 rib sections. This is optional, but it makes for an easier time if you have smaller baking sheets. Each rack should have 2-3, depending on how large they are.
  • Season the ribs with BBQ dry rub. As a rule, I use about 1 tablespoon per pound, and you want the seasoning to go on top of the ribs, as well as the backside of &rsquoem.

Once you&rsquove gotten the tools and ingredients prepared, arrange the ribs on the prepared roasting pan or baking sheets. Cover with foil, and transfer to the preheated oven.

Bake the dry rub baby back ribs in the oven

The ribs will bake for 5 hours. Don&rsquot be tempted to open the oven as they cook because you want the temperature to remain as consistent as possible.

Once the 5 hour bake is up, remove them from the oven. Brush with barbecue sauce and sprinkle with additional dry rub.

Then you&rsquoll put &rsquoem back into the oven and bake for 1-2 more hours&hellip or until the ribs are tender. You&rsquoll know they&rsquore tender when the meat starts pulling off the bones. When the meat does pull off the bones, your ribs are almost ready, and remove the dry rub ribs from the oven.

How to finish these dry rub baby back ribs on the grill

Preheat the grill. When it reaches the optimal temperature of around 500-550F, turn off the burners on the side where the ribs will be finished because the sugar in the barbecue sauce will cause them to catch fire.

Baste the ribs with additional barbecue sauce, and grill until sticky sweet and darkened. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

How to finish this oven baked ribs recipe under the broiler

Preheat your oven&rsquos broiler. Mine goes up to 550F, so make sure that yours goes up that high, too. While it heats, brush the ribs with additional barbecue sauce.

When the broiler is screaming hot, transfer the ribs back into the oven. Broil for 6-8 minutes, or until the tops of the ribs are browned and sticky. Keep an eye on them because the sugar content in the BBQ sauce could cause them to burn.

When done, sprinkle with additional dry rub, and enjoy immediately with your favorite barbecue side dishes.


The Ribs

Memphis ribs are typically spareribs cut St. Louis style. This means that you take the full sparerib rack and trim it to nice, neat ribs. Start by laying the ribs out, bone side down and cutting along the line of fat at the base of the ribs. This will give you a good piece of cartilaginous rib tips. Now flip over the rack and cut off the flap of meat in the middle of the rack. Grill these two portions up for a tasty appetizer. Lastly, remove the membrane from the back of the ribs to let in the flavor and allow excess fat to melt away. Memphis tradition also suggests that you remove the long muscle from the front of the ribs. If you look at the rack, bone side down, you can see it. This really isn't necessary and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure why was done. This practice is somewhat obsolete today.


Memphis-Style (Dry Rubbed) Baby Back Ribs

I’ve been experimenting with ribs for the past few months. I’ve been trying to recreate the ribs they serve at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous in Memphis, and I think I’ve pretty much nailed it.

Ribs are pretty easy to cook. As long as you’ll be home for about four hours, they’re not much trouble at all. There’s a little prep involved, but most of the time you’re just checking the grill and adding wood chips. What makes these ribs so good is the dry rub. Cook’s Illustrated published a feature on Memphis-style ribs this summer and I’ve been using their spice rub mixture with great success. I’ve deviated from their grilling/smoking instructions a little, but my version is still pretty close to theirs.

Here’s everything you need for the ribs:

Memphis-Style Baby Back Ribs

  • Grill
  • Foil pan
  • Wood chips
  • Charcoal
  • Thermometer
  • Basting brush
  • Sheet pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • 2 slabs baby back ribs
  • 2 cups beer
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons table salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

There’s not much to the dry rub recipe. Just combine everything in a bowl and break up any lumps.

Next, you need to trim the slab of ribs. There’s usually a chunk or two of meat at the big ends of the slab. I cut those off and save them for other recipes. Then you need to pull off the membrane that runs along the bottom of the ribs. This is one of many places where Cooks Illustrated and I differ. They say leaving it on helps to keep the fat in the meat, which keeps it moist throughout the cooking process. But if you leave it on, what’s the point of rubbing the spice mixture on the bottom side of the ribs? The flavor won’t permeate the membrane. More importantly, it doesn’t really break down in the cooking process, so it’s like have a piece of wax paper on the underside of your ribs. If I was cooking hundreds of slabs of ribs per day, I probably wouldn’t bother removing it. But it’s worth the effort when you’re only doing a couple of slabs.

Removing the membrane can be a little tricky. Use a paring knife to cut away the membrane on the smaller end of the slab. Then get a firm grip on it with a folded paper towel and pull it off.

Finally, rub most of the spice mixture all over both sides of the ribs. Leave enough left over to lightly dust the ribs at least two more times. You can do this as far in advance as you like, but I usually just do it before I light the charcoal and leave it out on the counter to come to room temperature.

Next, you need to soak your wood chips. I just soak them in a foil pan. You’re going to fill the pan with water and put it under the grill grate anyway (to catch dripping and act as a heat sink), so go ahead and just use the water to soak the chips. You can take them out later and toss them into a bowl. They’ll stay damp. I use two or three big handfulls of wood chips when smoking. I add even parts dry and wet wood chips to my coals at a time. Some people complain that soaking the chips does nothing, and they’re right from a flavor standpoint. But soaking some of the chips creates a delayed burn, meaning that I can smoke longer before I have to open the lid and add more chips.

Now you need to get the grill going. I don’t know how many briquettes of charcoal I add whatever fills up a chimney starter. Anyway, fire it up and let it burn for a half an hour. While the coals are heating up, you need to make the mopping liquid for the ribs. Just combine the beer, applesauce, and vinegar in a bowl. Cook’s Illustrated calls for apple juice, but I never have any at my house. Anyway, the mixture isn’t going to impart hardly any taste on the ribs. But by using apple sauce, I’ve found the texture makes it stick to the meat a little better. Honestly, though, don’t go out of your way for this step. Just use anything wet (and non-flammable) that you happen to have on hand. You could put some water in a spray bottle and that would suffice.

When the coals are nice and hot, pour them in the grill/smoker and rake them all to the front of the grill. Take the wood chips out of the water pan, toss them into a bowl, and carefully set the pan in the back half of the grill. I use this same indirect heating method for all of my barbecue recipes. Set the ribs over the water pan, stacking them a little if necessary to avoid placing them directly over the hot coals. Make sure the thicker section of the meat is always facing the flame. Go ahead and brush the mopping liquid over the ribs.

Sprinkle a third of the wet wood chips over the coals. Adjust the vents so the heat stays between 225-275° and check on it every thirty minutes for the next two hours. You want it to be closer to 225° than 275°.

Each time you check on the ribs, sprinkle some more wood chips on the grate and baste with the mopping liquid. At the one hour mark, flip the ribs over. At the two hour mark, put them on a cooking rack and transfer them to a 300° oven. Add a half-cup of water to the pan so the ribs steam, dust them with a little dry rub, cover tightly with foil, and place the pan in the middle of the oven. Cook for about 1½ hours. If you don’t have a baking tray, just double-wrap the ribs tightly in foil. They’ll render and boil in their own juices, so you might want shorten the cooking time.

After 1½ hours in the oven (3½ hours total cooking time), remove the foil and let the bark on the ribs dry out in the oven for the final thirty minutes. You can crack the oven door to let the steam escape if you want.

After the ribs have baked in the oven for two full hours, they should be done. The bones should be protruding from the sides of the slab and you should be able to bend the whole thing easily. Some people like their ribs to fall apart when they try to bend them, but I think that means they’re either dried out or they rendered too much liquid, making them a little less flavorful.

Transfer the slabs to a cutting board. Dust with a tiny bit more rub mixture and separate the ribs between the bones. If this is your first time to cut ribs, you’ll probably find it a little tricky. But you’ll eventually figure it out.

These ribs don’t need to be slathered in sauce like the folks do in the Midwest. The spice rub and the wood smoke provide plenty of flavor. The wife and I like to put a little bit of South Carolina-style barbecue sauce on the plate to dip the edges of the ribs into. If you prefer a Western North Carolina style barbecue sauce (thin, hot, and full of vinegar), then click here for a recipe. I think SC-style goes better with ribs and NC-style goes better with pulled pork.

These are really good. They might not be exactly like Charlie Vergos’ ribs, but they end up just the same…

UPDATE 1/2012

In 2011, I made a huge batch of Memphis-style spice rub and packed it into a dozen pint jars to be given away as Christmas gifts. On top of each jar, I placed a QR code that links to this recipe. It was a great gift that cost me around $4 per jar. Learn more here: DIY Barbecue Spice Rub Jars

If you’re new to barbecuing—which should not be confused with grilling—then click here for a tutorial on smoking a pork shoulder. I got tired of giving the same advice to so many people, so I wrote it all down.



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