Recipe for Dry Ribs Memphis-Style

Memphis dry ribs, traditionally, are cooked on charcoal at medium heat. They’re then brushed with vinegar every 15 to 20 minutes and finished with a dry spice rub. The result? The result?

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Why this recipe works

The ribs are given a beautiful mahogany colour and tangy taste by a vinegar mop combined with dry rub, applied every 15 to 20 minutes while cooking.
Smoke is created by hitting the charcoal with the fat that drips from the ribs. This gives the meat a delicate taste.
The seasoning will adhere better to the ribs if you brush the mop one last time.
Note: It is best to cook these ribs directly over the charcoal. If this is not possible on your grill or smoker then you can cook them over indirect heat in order to prevent the bottoms of the ribs burning.

It’s all in the Rub! How to make authentic Memphis-style dry ribs

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Recipe Facts



90 minutes to 2 hours

90 minutes

Four servings

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For Dry Rub:

Half a cup of paprika

Dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup

1/4 cup kosher Salt

2 tablespoons of granulated Garlic

Celery salt, 1 tablespoon

1 Tablespoon chile powder

Freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons of onion powder

Two teaspoons of dried thyme

Oregano dried, 2 teaspoons

Mustard powder 2 teaspoons

Celery Seed, 1 Tsp.

Cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon

The Mop

Half a cup of distilled white vinegar

Half a cup of water

1/4 cup dry rub

Two racks of baby back ribs (or St. Louis-cut spareribs)


To make the dry rub, combine paprika with dark brown sugar and kosher salt. Add celery salt, chili pepper, black powder, dried oregano and dried thyme.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water and dry rub. Set aside.

Start grill or smoker at 325degF. Place ribs in a vertical water-smoker, like the Weber Smokey Mountains, on top rack, with water pan removed. Place ribs on indirect heat if you are using a grill, offset smoker or a barbecue. Cook ribs until they have a slight bend in one end when lifted, approximately 1 1/2 hours for St. Louis cut ribs and 2 for babybacks. Brush liberally with mop after every 15-20 minutes.

Transfer the ribs onto a cutting board, and then brush them with a mop. Rub generously over the ribs and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice the ribs into thin slices and serve them immediately.