Memphis-Style Dry Rub Ribs

From The Blog

Picture this: a warm, sunny afternoon, friends and family gathered in the backyard, and the mouthwatering aroma of Memphis-Style Dry Rub Ribs wafting through the air. There’s something undeniably special about the flavors and textures of these ribs, which can turn any gathering into a memorable culinary experience.

But here’s the best part: you don’t need to be a pitmaster to achieve these tantalizing ribs at home. With just a little bit of know-how and a whole lot of love, you can create your very own finger-licking, lip-smacking Memphis-style ribs right in your backyard.

Memphis Magic: The Dry Rub

What sets Memphis-style ribs apart from their saucy counterparts is their signature dry rub. This aromatic blend of herbs and spices packs a punch, creating a flavorful crust that seals in the juicy goodness of the meat. It’s the perfect marriage of smoky, sweet, and savory that keeps you coming back for more.

Tip: To make your dry rub truly shine, experiment with different spice combinations and find the one that speaks to your taste buds.

Low and Slow: The Art of Smoking

When it comes to smoking ribs, there’s no shortcut to perfection. The key is to cook them low and slow, allowing the meat to tenderize and the flavors to fully develop. This process may take a few hours, but the result is fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth ribs that are well worth the wait.

Tip: Be sure to monitor the temperature of your smoker and adjust as needed to maintain a consistent heat throughout the cooking process.

The Finishing Touch: A Hint of Tang

As the ribs near the end of their cooking time, it’s time to add the pièce de résistance: a light mop of tangy apple cider vinegar. This simple, yet effective touch adds a brightness that cuts through the richness of the meat, creating a perfect balance of flavors that makes these ribs truly unforgettable.

Tip: Mop the ribs sparingly, as a little goes a long way in enhancing their overall flavor.

With the right combination of spices, smoking technique, and a touch of tang, you’ll be well on your way to creating the most divine Memphis-style dry rub ribs your friends and family have ever tasted. So gather your loved ones, fire up the smoker, and let the magic of Memphis-style ribs bring everyone together for an unforgettable meal.

Memphis-Style Dry Rub Ribs

Course: Main CourseCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





Sink your teeth into these juicy, tender Memphis-Style Dry Rub Ribs, packed with smoky and savory flavors.


  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup paprika

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (optional)


  • In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper (if using) to create the Memphis-style dry rub.
  • Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs, if it’s still attached. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels.
  • Generously apply the dry rub to both sides of the ribs, pressing it onto the meat to ensure it adheres well.
  • Preheat your grill or smoker to 225°F (107°C), and set it up for indirect heat.
  • Place the ribs bone-side down on the grill grate, away from the direct heat, and close the lid. Cook for 2-3 hours, until the ribs are tender and the meat has pulled back from the bones.
  • If desired, during the last 30 minutes of cooking, wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil to make them extra tender. Return them to the grill to finish cooking.
  • Remove the ribs from the grill and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into individual ribs.
  • Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side, if desired.


  • Adjust the cayenne pepper to your preferred spice level.
  • Ribs can also be cooked in the oven at 225°F (107°C) for 2-3 hours.
  • Leftover dry rub can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

These mouthwatering Memphis-Style Dry Rub Ribs pair exceptionally well with classic barbecue sides like creamy coleslaw, smoky baked beans, tangy potato salad, and warm cornbread. Add a refreshing cucumber salad or a vibrant, crunchy green salad to lighten up the meal. Finish offwith a cool, fruity dessert like peach cobbler or mixed berry crisp, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, to round out your barbecue feast.

Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson
Hey there! I'm Jamie Anderson. Born and raised in the heart of New York City, I've always had this crazy love for food and the stories behind it. I like to share everything from those "Aha!" cooking moments to deeper dives into what's really happening in the food world. Whether you're here for a trip down culinary memory lane, some kitchen hacks, or just curious about your favorite eateries, I hope you find something delightful!

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