Memphis BBQ Rib Rub Recipe
Memphis style pork rib rubs are a special mouth watering style of preparing ribs, much different from the traditional way ribs are prepared. The main difference, and the most important one, is that the ribs are prepared using a blend of herbs and spices without applying any barbeque sauce during the cooking process. It’s instead served on the side after the ribs are done cooking.
Many people mistakenly think that the ribs will turn out dry and tough because of this but nothing could be further from the truth. A key component in preparing Memphis style BBQ ribs is the “mop sauce” used during the cooking process. This prevents the ribs from drying out and becoming tough.
As with other rub recipes for ribs, it is very important to select a high quality cut of meat. Of course, baby back ribs are always popular but don’t ignore cuts like the St. Louis style rib cut. In case you are unfamiliar with it, St. Louis style ribs are cut from spare ribs to make an even rectangular rack. This makes them easier to prepare and cook. A normal slab is more uneven in shape and tends to be harder to cook evenly. While baby back ribs offer the same uniform shape as St. Louis style ribs, they also contain a lot less meat.
Below are a couple of my favorite Memphis BBQ Rib Rub Recipes.
Simple Memphis BBQ Rib Rub Recipe
This is a simple Memphis barbeque rib rub recipe. Easy to make but great tasting.
Ingredients for the Rub:
- 4 tsp. of Paprika
- 2 tsp. of Sea Salt
- 2 tsp. of Onion Powder
- 1 tsp. of Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. of Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp. of Cayenne Pepper (use a full tsp if you want to give them some extra kick)
Simply mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and store in an airtight container.
Next it’s time to prepare the ribs. Start by washing the ribs off with cold water and patting them dry with a papper towel. Sometimes, you get ribs that are already cleaned up but if not, you need to this yourself. Place the ribs with the meat side up. Cut the line of fat on the base of the ribs to remove the cartilage from the rib tips. Flip the meat over and cut away any flaps of meat that are hanging from the inside of the ribs, otherwise they’ll just end up getting burnt anyway. Now, work your fingers under the membrane on the back of the ribs and pull it off.
Now that the ribs are ready, grab a small handful of the rub and start rubbing in all over the ribs. Make sure you coat the entire rack without letting it cake up anywhere. After that, wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and pop in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. (I usually let it stand overnight!)
Preparing the Grill:
This procedure works the same way whether you are using a smoker or just a standard charcoal burning grill. Fire up the grill as you normally would but once the coals have gotten that thin layer of gray ash on them, push them off to the sides so you can make room for your drip pan. Be sure to use a thick pan for this, as a leak in the pan would be disastrous. Fill the pan about 3/4 full of warm water and slid it down into the space you just cleared away.
Placing aluminum foil on the rack will help prevent sticking but if you do this, be sure to poke a few small holes in the center so the juices will fall into the drip pan and not run off to the sides. Now place the ribs on the grill and place the cover on the grill. Open the air slot at the top about half way to begin with. You can adjust this as you cook to control the temperature. Now it’s time for the Mop Sauce.
Ingredients for the Mop Sauce:
- 1 cup of Apple Cider or Vinegar
- 1/2 cup of Vegetable Oil
- 2 tbsp. of Lemon Juice
- 2 tsp. of Sea Salt
- 2 tbsp. of Hot Sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan then bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low allowing for it to stay warm.
You should start basting generously with the mop sauce after about half an hour and every half hour after that. You will need to replenish the coals from time to time as needed. The ribs should take about 4 to 5 hours to cook to doneness. (see Meat Doneness Temperatures)
Once they are done, allow them to cool for 10 minutes then serve with your favorite barbeque sauce. (see Homemade Barbeque Sauce Recipes)
- Use wood chips to enhance the flavor.
- Take this basic recipe and expand on it. Try adding a couple of bay leaves and some garlic to the sauce.
- Add Worcestershire to the Mop Sauce to give the ribs more of “twang”.
- Like sweet ribs? Add some brown sugar to the rub or some molasses to the mop sauce.
- After you are done, let the drip pan stay in the grill overnight to completely cool down.
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