Memphis Pork Ribs

This is Steven Raichlen’s recipe for Memphis Pork Ribs.  It calls for 2 racks (5lbs) and includes a dry rub and an optional mopping sauce. Serve it with your favorite BBQ sauce.


This recipe works equally well in the oven with the ribs on a roasting rack. Raichlen also says to marinate in the dry rub 4 hours to overnight, but I don’t find this necessary.


 Memphis Pork Ribs


  • Rub –

    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Mopping Sauce –

    • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Ribs –

    • 5 lbs pork ribs (2 racks)


Set up your grill for indirect heating at 350 degrees F; place a drip pan in the middle of your coals.

Use your hands to remove the silver skin from the ribs.  Combine all the rub ingredients and rub 2/3 of it on both sides of ribs.  Place ribs on the grill and close the cover.

Combine all the ingredients for the mopping sauce.  After 30 minutes of cooking, mop the ribs with the sauce; repeat mopping every 20 minutes thereafter.

Continue to cook the ribs until they are tender and the meat has shrunk a bit from the bones, about 1 1/2 hours.  Remove ribs from the grill, once they are done, and place on a cutting board; mop ribs one last time and sprinkle with remaining dry rub.

Cut into serving size pieces as desired.