Memphis-Style Dry Rubbed Ribs Recipe


For this Memphis-Style Dry-Rubbed Spare Rib recipe, we up take the flavour up a notch by seasoning the ribs before AND after smoking. Rather than use a water and vinegar baste, we leverage the powerful flavour grilled lemons offer, infusing the smoke with citrus zest.


Pork Spare Ribs

2 racks pork spare ribs, St Louis style
2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
1 cup apple juice
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup lemon juice from 2 grilled lemons

Dry Seasoning

3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dry parsley


  1. Season the ribs. Mix the dry seasoning ingredients. Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel and then lightly apply the oil all over the ribs. Sprinkle about half of the dry seasoning on the bottom and top of the ribs.
    HOT TIPDon’t forget to remove the membrane from the back of your ribs if your butcher hasn’t already done so.
  2. Preheat the smoker. Fill the firebox with charcoal and six to eight fist-sized apple wood chunks, evenly distributing them throughout the coal. Light one corner of the coal and leave firebox lid and side door open for 10 minutes. Now, shut the firebox lid so the smoker temp rises to 200°F. Then, shut the side door with the vent wide open. Incrementally close the smokestack damper and intake vent as the grate-level temperature approaches 135-145°C. Make sure the temperature has stabilized and smoke comes out clear or light white prior to cooking the ribs.
    HOT TIPCook the ribs on a cooling rack and sheet pan to help keep your smoker clean.
  3. Place the ribs in the smoker and smoke for four hours, spritzing with apple juice every 45 to 60 minutes.
    HOT TIPSpritz ribs with apple juice to build flavour and keep exterior moist. Moisture attracts nitrogen compounds in smoke, helping to develop smoke rings.
  4. Meanwhile, make the mop sauce by mixing water, vinegar, grilled lemon juice and one tablespoon of the dry seasoning.
  5. Monitor ribs until they’re done, using one or more of the techniques listed above. If they aren’t ready, check back in 30 minutes, basting with the mop sauce each time.
  6. When the ribs are done, take them out of the smoker and immediately baste them with the mop sauce one last time. Then, liberally sprinkle the last of the dry seasoning over them.
  7. Let the ribs rest for 5 minutes, slice between the bones and serve.

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