Memphis Wet Pork Ribs

Smoked to perfection and basted in Memphis BBQ sauce, this recipe will have your ribs tender, juicy, and dripping with down-home flavor

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 8 hours


4 racks St. Louis style ribs (peeled)

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (for dry rub)

1/4 cup white sugar

1 Tbsp. kosher salt (for dry rub)

1 Tbsp. black pepper (for dry rub)

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. granulated onion

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. dry thyme (ground, for dry rub)

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 cup yellow onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar (for sauce)

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. dry thyme (ground, for sauce)

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. kosher salt (for sauce)

1 tsp. black pepper (for sauce)


1. Dry rub: Mix 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. granulated onion, 1 tsp. granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp. ground dry thyme in a bowl until well dispersed.

2. Peel membrane from ribs and place on sheet pan or cutting board. Liberally sprinkle with dry rub and work it into meat with your hand.

3. Set smoker to 225-230°F and smoke ribs, bone-side down, for 5-7 hours until reaching an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Allow a 3-minute rest. Cook times will vary based on smoker and preferred tenderness.

4. Memphis style BBQ sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, place butter, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add remaining ingredients, bring to simmer for 5 minutes and turn off heat. In a high-speed blender, puree contents of pot until smooth, making sure it’s not too hot or the top can pop off. Refrigerate until ready to use.

5. In the last hour of cooking, baste ribs with BBQ sauce until meat has a wet and shiny appearance.

Courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.