Competition Rib Recipe

Competition Rib Recipe with Heath Riles

Competition Rib Recipe with Heath Riles

Pit Master Heath Riles from Heath Riles BBQ stopped by for this video to show me his secrets to winning rib competitions. Heath has won the Rib Team of the year in the MBN Competition BBQ Circuit for the past 4 years; (He’s well on his way to locking up a fifth title) so he knows a little something about cooking ribs. I’m thankful he’s willing to share his technique with us.

Heath cooks Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork in bbq competitions. This meat is known for its’ superior marbling and flavor.

Competition Rib Recipe

The ribs are given a quick trim to remove and excess fat or sinew and he pulls the membrane off the back. For KCBS contest Heath cooks 4-6 slabs of St. Louis cut ribs and for MBN contests he cooks 12 slabs of the loin back ribs which are a Memphis staple.

Competition Rib Recipe

The ribs get a light coat of yellow mustard; then a generous layer of his Garlic Jalapeño seasoning; followed by medium layers of his signature Pecan Rub and Honey Rub. The same process is repeated on both sides, and he seasons the ribs about 20 minutes prior to going on the pit.

For this cook Heath used my Traeger grill running at 275⁰ with a mixture of Hickory and Cherry pellets for smoke flavor. The ribs go on the grill for about 2- 2 ½ hours or until the rub adheres to the meat and then they’re wrapped.

Competition Rib Recipe

In the wrap apply a light layer of Honey rub and lay the slab meat side down. Add a touch more Honey rub to the back side and ¾ cup of Heath’s Butter Bath mixture (it’s a powdered form of Brown Sugar, Butter, Honey, and other spices mixed with apple juice). Be sure to double wrap the ribs so the bones don’t poke through the foil.

Competition Rib Recipe

The ribs go back on the pit for an hour to tenderize and Heath pulls them off the pit when the internal temperature reaches 204 – 208⁰. We always use a Thermapen to check internal temp of anything we are cooking.

Competition Rib Recipe

He carefully takes the each slab out of the foil wrap and dust the back side with his Sweet Rub and light glaze (1 cup Sweet BBQ Sauce & ½ cup Tangy Vinegar). Then repeats the same process on the meat side.

The ribs go back on the pit for 15-20 minutes to set the glaze and then it’s time to serve them to the judges.

Competition Rib Recipe

Competition Rib Recipe

These ribs had a beautiful appearance and perfect texture, but the best part was the flavor.

Competition Rib Recipe

The rub combination and tangy sweet glaze brought out the richness in the Cheshire Pork. I see why Heath is a rib champion!

Malcom Reed
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Comments 27

  1. After watching your youtube video of this recipe, I purchased Heath’s products off of your website and I’ll be smoking some ribs like this Thursday for my employees.

  2. What changes are you going to make based on what Heath taught you? What will you not change? Basically, how are you going to beat him? I would love to watch a video of you answering this question (while cooking ribs of course).

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  3. I GT THIS RECIPE FORTHE SUPERBOWL COMING THIS SUNDAY SO I WILL LET YOU KNOW WHAT THINK ON MONDAY. THEY LOOKS GREAT AND I THINK THEY WILL TASTE GREAT.

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  4. Hey Malcolm……why use a premium or brand name pork rib like Compart if your going to be adding unnatural rubs and then using a synthetic butter bath that seems to only disguise the flavor of the meat? Or is competition BBQ about one bite and getting that right? Seems like a big difference between the treatment of a premium pork product and all these rubs and baths.

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  5. Great recipe! I’m new to comp bbq so this will be a “no brainer” to most. What’s the difference between a competition recipe and something I would serve at a 4th of July gathering?

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  6. How do you cook these over a charcoal grill and keep the coals hot enough? In the past I have cooked them over indirect heat with a drip pan. If you have some youtube links to share that would be awesome. Also, so glad you guys have an app now!

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  7. Quick question me and my buddy are on a rib kick and he just smoked some ribs on a pit boss pellet and after he finished his ribs he had no shrinkage? Could you tell me what have might have gone wrong.

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  8. Hey Malcom,
    I made these ribs and two racks of Baby Back ribs using the combination of three of your different rib recipes.
    The Baby Back were really good eating ribs however, the Heath Riles ribs were unbelievable!
    His combination of spices were incredible, my son tells me they were the best ribs he has ever eaten.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and recipes to us Backyard Quers!
    If you have ever thought of moving to Massachusetts, the house next door is for sale!!

  9. Malcom, thanks for all the great videos and tips. I have a question about the knife you used there in the video. Did you say it a Dalstrong and if so which one and I live to see more about some of the other accessories like the knives and thermometers that you use.

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