Memphis-style Dry-rub Ribs

Every state claims that they have the best ribs, but Tennessee is easily one of the top contenders.

Recipe: How to Make Memphis-Style Dry-Rubbed Ribs
Courtesy Char-Broil

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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Prep time

15 min.

Cook time

200 min.

  • 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.