Memphis Ribs

In Memphis, Tennessee it's common to eat Memphis ribs without sauce. That's not to say that the spareribs are bland and flavorless, no, not at all! Memphis style ribs are generously seasoned with a spicy rib rub before being hickory smoked to perfection.





Before serving, a little more dry seasoning can be sprinkled on. And if you really like barbecue sauce you can have it on your ribs. But the point is, these ribs just don't need sauce. They are really good as-is.




Memphis Style Pork Spare Ribs

Start with a prepared sparerib slab. Make sure to remove the rubbery membrane from the bony side of the slab, since it will prevent the seasoning from getting into the meat on that side. To make the simple dry rub seasoning, you'll need...

  • Two tablespoons of paprika, sweet, hot or smoked...you choose
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • One tablespoon of onion powder
  • One teaspoon of black pepper
  • One-half teaspoon of white pepper
  • One-quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • One-quarter teaspoon of ground red pepper


After mixing up the spices, season the slab on both sides with a good sprinkling of the dry rub mixture. Let it rest for an hour, then sprinkle on just a little more.

Smoke the ribs for about four hours, more or less. Time depends on the actual temperature of your smoker or your grill. Ideally the temperature should be at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. If you're using your grill to smoke the ribs, the following pages may be helpful to you:

Gas Grill Barbecuing

Charcoal Grill Barbecuing

Whether using a grill or a smoker, hickory is the wood of choice for authentic Memphis ribs flavor. One or two foil-wrapped packets in your grill, or a small, clean burning hickory wood fire in your pit smoker will give you all the hickory flavor you'll need. Be sure you don't overdo it with the hickory. Too much smoke flavor is a much worse problem than not enough smoke flavor. Like too much salt in the gravy, you can't take it out if you overdo it.

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