Saturday, May 27, 2023


After a recent trip to Memphis, known for their amazing ribs, I wanted to give it a try! Memphis-style ribs are dry rubbed, smoked, and served with optional sauce on the side, coleslaw, and beans. After decided on which recipe I wanted to try, I began the nasty business of trimming the slabs of ribs. First you lay the slabs, bone-side down, and cut along the line of fat at the base of the ribs. Next you flip the slabs over and cut off the flap of meat in the middle of the rack. Save those portions to grill alongside the ribs. Lastly, flip the slabs over, bone-side up, and remove the membrane from the ribs by sliding a knife under the membrane at the edges and using a paper towel, pull the membrane off. Gross! 

This recipe calls for the ribs to be smoked at medium-low heat, which is 300-350 degrees. My husband was watching me, making me nervous, telling me that the heat was too high! I could tell he thought everything I was doing was wrong. He's like the barbecue police! So, when I served these ribs, I was delighted to hear him say, "These are the best ribs I've ever had!" Success!!! They had the perfect smoke ring, the perfect bite, and a fantastic bark! 

Memphis-Style Spareribs

Serves 4


For the Dry Rub
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt

For the Ribs
4 lbs (2 kg) trimmed pork spareribs, in slabs
3 or 4 handfuls hickory chips, soaked in water
Your favorite barbecue sauce, to serve on the side (optional)


Mix all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl, and pat it all over the spareribs, rubbing it in well. Place the ribs in a dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before barbecuing.

Prepare a charcoal grill for barbecuing over medium-low heat (300-350 degrees).

Place an aluminum drip pan half full of water in the center of the fire bed. Sprinkle some of the wood chips on the coals. Place the ribs on the grill rack over the drip pan. 

Cover and grill and smoke the ribs, turning them every 30 minutes or so and adding more wood chips, more coals, and more water to the drip pan as needed.

Continue to cover, grill, and smoke the ribs until they are fork-tender, 2 1/2-3 hours. (I stacked and wrapped the ribs in foil for the last 1/2 hour.)

To serve, cut the slabs into separate ribs and pile on top of a platter and serve proudly!

Recipe from Essentials of Grilling, by Williams-Sonoma.