Method for Ribs

Not open for further replies.

David Munson

TVWBB Super Fan
Spare or baby backs; which ever is on sale. I don't know why, but I have a hankering for a good Memphis style sweet sauce and a two racks of ribs. Something to plan for this coming weekend.

Two questions.

First, can you recommend a sauce that will taste like a sweet smoky Memphis style? I would rather buy a bottle than 20 different ingredients to make the sauce. My usual rub is a lazy man's rub: seasoned salt, brown sugar, a bit more paprika and whatever seems right at the time.

Second, how would you smoke the ribs? That is, what is your recommended method. I have an well used WSM, a couple bags of kingsford and a small seasoned pile of apple wood.

I figured I would try something new.



Gary Wiviott

TVWBB Member

I generally do not use commercial barbecue sauce, particularly sweet, smoky Memphis-style. I am not a fan of sticky, sweet barbecue sauce and I avoid sauces, rubs and any other barbecue accent with a li*uid sm*ke component at all costs.

If you must have a sweet barbecue sauce, read the label and purchase one without a 'natural' smoke component. The only commercial sauce I might use is Open Pit, because I like the tanginess and it’s what my dad used when he charred meat, so there’s a sentimental attachment. Whatever sauce you choose, use it the same way you would any other condiment—sparingly.

You asked how I would cook the ribs. Far as trying something new, might I suggest going back to the basics? Instead of a brown sugar/seasoned salt rub, try a simple combination of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Hold back the Kingsford for this cook and use lump charcoal along with your apple wood. When you taste the kiss of smoke and the pure porky goodness, I’m hoping you realize the beauty of this simple style and never get another hankering for smoked meats drowned in sweet, sticky, artificial smoke-flavored sauce.


p.s. I know you didn’t ask for a recipe, but I thought I’d include my version of the sauce for Memphis Wet Ribs, from page 169 in the book. It only has 12 ingredients (not 20), and certainly nothing out of the ordinary—any barbecue guy worth his salt should have all of these ingredients readily available in his pantry.

Memphis Wet Ribs
Neely’s Bar-B-Que in Memphis serves one of the most famous examples of the wet rib. The ribs are repeatedly mopped with a sweet tomato-based sauce in the final thirty minutes of the cook, then doused again when the racks are pulled off the cooker. Don’t baste earlier in the cook with this sauce; the high dose of sugar in the sauce can burn easily. This is not my personal preference in rib styles, but it certainly is a crowd-pleaser. Add more hot sauce or a pinch of the Toasted Mexican Pepper Blend (page 18) if you want more heat.

Makes about 4 cups

2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
2 ?3 cup cider vinegar
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 lemon, juiced (about1?4 cup juice)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1?2 tablespoon onion powder
1?2 tablespoon garlic powder
1?2 tablespoon dry mustard
11?2 teaspoons Louisiana-style Louisiana-style or Mexican-style hot sauce, such as Texas Pete, Louisiana, or Búfalo

Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring the sauce to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.When the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
Follow the cook instructions for Lesson #4.When checking the ribs for doneness and when checking
the charcoal and water pan levels in the last 30minutes of the cook, paint a thick layer of the sauce on the ribs. Paint on a second layer of sauce in the last 15minutes, and a third as soon as you pull the ribs off the cooker.
Not open for further replies.