April 19, 2017

Memphis-Style Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs

Recipe: Andy Husbands & Chris Hart

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Try this recipe for Memphis-Style Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs from the cookbook Pitmaster.


Everyday Sweet And Spicy Pork Rub

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup paprika
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


  • 2 racks of baby back ribs, 3 to 4 pounds
  • ¾ cup Everyday Sweet And Spicy Pork Rub (see above)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup



Yield: Serves 4

Everyday Sweet and Spicy Pork Rub

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Optionally, pulse the mixture in a spice grinder for 30 seconds to ensure maximum blending. Transfer to an airtight container.

Tip: Store in an airtight container out of the sunlight. Somewhere in the 1 to 2 month range the rub will start to lose its vibrant flavor.


  1. Prepare your smoker for a 300°F 3 hour cook.
  2. With a paper towel, peel the membrane off of the bone side of the ribs.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the Everyday Sweet And Spicy Pork Rub, mustard seeds, dried thyme, red pepper flakes, Old Bay Seasoning, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Grind the mixture in your spice grinder to make a rub.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, water, ketchup, and remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Whisk thoroughly to make a mop sauce.
  5. Using about 3 tablespoons of rub per rack, dust the bone side of the ribs with 1 tablespoon of rub and then flip over and heavily dust the meat side, using the remaining 2 tablespoons. Place the ribs meat side up in your preheated smoker. Smoke for 45 minutes and then liberally mop. Mop the ribs every 30 minutes during cooking process until the mop is gone. Smoke the ribs until they have an internal temperature of 192 to 194°F when measured in the thickest part of the meat between the bones, about 2½ to 3 hours. Another doneness cue is to pick up the ribs in the center with a pair of tongs; if the meat is just starting to pull away from the bone, the ribs are close to done.
  6. When the ribs are done, remove from the smoker and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Liberally dust the racks with about 2 tablespoons of rub on each rack right before you serve them.

Tip: Wrap room temperature leftover ribs tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.


Ken Goodman


Courtesy of Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group