These Memphis style ribs recipe coat St. Louis-style spareribs with a paprika, garlic, coriander, and pepper rub, slowly smoke them on a grill, and finish them in the oven until almost-but-not-quite-fall-apart tender. No barbecue sauce necessary. Swear.
Memphis style ribs draw quite the dedicated following—and not just down South. Understandably so. These ribs rely only on a rub of warming spices—notably paprika and cayenne and black pepper for a mild heat along with the subtle sweetness of brown sugar. As always with ribs, they’re smoked low and slow, but then they’re wrapped tightly in foil and slid in the oven to let the meat gently braise in those seasoned juices. The ribs are traditionally served dry, meaning without sauce, as the rub is sufficiently spectacular to render anything else unnecessary. Though of course if you crave something slathered over the top, we won’t stop you.
Memphis style ribs are most commonly made with St. Louis-style spare ribs, although the approach works equally terrifically on other ribs.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Memphis Style Ribs
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 5 H
- Serves 4 to 6
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
If using a gas grill, heat it for indirect cooking.
Recipe Testers Reviews
There are many different ways to cook a rack of ribs, but there is no doubt that ribs kissed with smoke are king. If you have not tried the method in this recipe don't be intimidated to give it a go. It is spot on.
The dry rub in this recipe is very good and it does pack a little heat. You may want to omit the sauce.
I like to smoke for 2 hours and then in to the oven for 2 hours. The ribs will pick up plenty of smoke in that 2-hour time frame. I would definitely recommend this method of smoking. Chicken also does well with this method.
I will say the most challenging thing is adding more charcoal and wood, but you can buy a grill grate with flip up or hinged sides. They are not that expensive and worth it if you want to smoke on the grill. Smoking on the grill relies on controlling your vents, both top and bottom, and once you have them under control it is a breeze.
These Memphis style ribs were very, very tender and developed a wonderful smokiness from the dry rub and the long braise.
I prefer my ribs "wet" so I served them with a nice store-bought bourbon barbecue sauce.