If you’ve ever been to Memphis, chances are you tried the ribs. Other than Rock-n-Roll, nothing is more famous than the bbq and every bbq joint has dry ribs on the menu.

In Memphis Loin Back ribs rule. There are some places that serve spares, but true Memphis Style ribs are cut from the loin section of the hog.


I always remove the membrane (because it’s tough and blocks the seasoning from getting to the meat on the underside), but some restaurants don’t bother. If I was cooking 400 racks a day, I guess I would get tired of pulling skin too, but at home go ahead and pull it off.

Next comes the seasoning. To be a Memphis style rib you have to have a good dry rub. Typically it’s a sweet & salty blend accented with Paprika to give the ribs color. The Paprika really brings out the mahogany color in the finished product.


Give the ribs a good coat of dry rub on both sides and let them rest for a few hours.

Bring the ribs to room temperature for 30 minutes and place them on the smoker. Memphis style ribs are slow smoked at 250 degrees for about 5 hours over charcoal & hickory wood.


After 1 ½ hrs mop the ribs with a mixture of:

  • 8oz Apple Juice
  • 4oz Red Wine Vinegar
  • 4oz Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Dry Rub

This style rib doesn’t get wrapped, so keeping it moist is crucial. The mopping sauce adds flavor to the ribs as they cook and it’ll keep the ribs from drying out.

Repeat the mopping step every 45 minutes for the remainder of the cook.


At the 4 hour mark, start checking the ribs for tenderness. It normally takes 4-5 hours total cooking time. You’ll see that the meat has pulled away exposing the ends of the bones.


Lift the ribs up and gently tug on the bones. When you feel the ribs start to tear or give a little, they’re done. Just before serving dust the ribs with extra dry rub and you’ll have true Memphis Style Ribs.



Malcom Reed

Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at HowtoBBQright.com, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

1 Comment on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Steve Judkins March 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm -

    Thinking about using this recipe to smoke ribs for Easter this weekend. Due to church, I’d like to smoke them on Saturday and serve them on Sunday. How should I store them overnight and then re-heat the next day? Should I wait to add the final dry rub dusting until the re-heat cycle on Sunday?

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