In Memphis, Loin Back ribs rule. There are some places that serve spares, but true Memphis Style Dry 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 Dry Ribs 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 Memphis Style Dry 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 Dry Ribs are slow smoked at 250 degrees for about 5 hours over charcoal & hickory wood.
After 1 ½ hrs mop the Memphis Style Dry Ribs with a mixture of:
- 8oz Apple Juice
- 4oz Red Wine Vinegar
- 4oz Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tablespoons of BBQ 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 for Memphis Style Dry Ribs. 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 Dry Ribs.