Smoked Memphis Ribs That'll Make You Want To Sing With Joy!

When You Have a Crusty Bark and a Pronounced Smoke Ring On Your Memphis Ribs, You Know You Did It Right!

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 perfect just as they are, straight out of the smoker.

Memphis Ribs Recipe and Instructions

Seasoning a Full Slab of Ribs With a Perfectly Balanced Memphis Rib Rub

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 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.

Smoking Your Memphis Ribs

A Whole Spare Rib Slab In a Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker

Smoke the ribs for about six hours, more or less. Time depends on the actual temperature of your smoker or your grill. Ideally the temperature should be between 225°F and 240°F degrees for the best results.

I've had great results using my Weber Smoky Mountain cooker, although at times it can be difficult to control the temperature. I've found that by using a divider of brick in the fire ring that reduces its volume by about one-half, I can keep the smoker as a fairly constant temperature of 230°F for six hours straight. That's plenty of time to finish a slab of ribs.

I fill the divided-off section with unlit briquettes, then top the pile off with about 25 white-hot burning briquettes. This helps keep the temperature right where I want it to be.

Whether using a grill or a smoker, hickory is the wood of choice for authentic Memphis ribs flavor.

Three or four foil wrapped packets of smoker wood in your grill or smoker, or a small, clean burning 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 wood smoke. Too much smokiness 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.