Memphis BBQ Spareribs for a Charcoal Grill
In Memphis, traditional barbecue sauce has no place. We wanted a recipe that gave us flavorful ribs with a crispy, crusty exterior, or "bark."
Why This Recipe Works
Every Southern city seems to put its own spin on ribs. In Memphis, cooks season the ribs with a spicy dry rub both before grilling and just before the ribs come off the grill. For an easy-to-accomplish BBQ recipe that captured the flavor and spirit of Memphis, spareribs worked fine, but St. Louis spareribs were an even better bet because they had much of the excess fat and cartilage already trimmed. Using more sugar than salt balanced the spiciness of the rub. Light brown sugar lent an earthiness to the rub that emphasized the pork flavor. Rubbing the ribs at least one hour before grilling gave the spices a chance to penetrate the meat. Soaking the wood chips for at least one hour in water assured that they smoked—rather than burned—when added to the coals. Finally, we simmered the remaining “mop"—the liquid used to baste the ribs as they cook—to concentrate it, then used it tableside as a sauce—it had too much flavor to let it go to waste.