Memphis-Style Barbecued Spareribs

Not only are the days are getting noticeably shorter, but there are fewer and fewer warm days. So this sunny weekend in mid-October could be the last slow-cooked ribs for 2010.  While I’ve been making spareribs with sauce for years, I also wanted an easier recipe using only a spice rub. These Memphis Spareribs fit the bill; really they are quite simple. They only spend 1-1/2 hours on the grill after which they spend another 2 to 3 more hours in a 300-degree oven. The results were good, but I did miss the sauce.  The shortcuts did take their toll on the final ribs. Overall about 3-1/2 stars.


Exterior was a little overcooked, but interior was perfect.


The complete recipe is here. Soak 1/2-cup wood chips for 30 minutes. Mix the spice in a bowl for spice rub. Rub on both sides of the spare ribs, and set aside while preparing the grill. Mix 1/2 cup apple juice and 3 tablespoons cider vinegar in bowl and set aside. Put 15 unlit charcoals on one side of grill and put a disposable aluminum pan on the other side to catch the drippings. Light 1/3-full chimney starter, and when coals are ready pour them on top of unlit coals. Put ribs above pan over indirect heat and cook for 45 minutes. Flip, rotate and brush with 2 tablespoons of apple mixture; let cook for 45 more minutes. Transfer to wire rack over rimmed backing sheet. Pour 1-1/2 cups water into baking sheet. Finish in 300-degree oven for 2 to 3 more hours until meat registers 195-degrees, basting every hour with apple mixture. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

These ribs are 3-1/2 stars. They were easier to make and were well-seasoned. Still, I missed the sauce which gave them an extra degree of potency. For me the best ribs recipe is still Kansas City Sticky Rib. But by the time I make the homemade BBQ sauce and smokey beans the entire day is gone.


  1. I didn’t use St. Louis Style Ribs, rather I just used regular spareribs.  I can usually find the St. Louis cut in summer, but my supermarket doesn’t stock them this late in the year. On the plus side, this substitution cuts the ribs from $20 to $10. Always appreciated.
  2. When baking I put 1-1/2 cups of water in the sheet pan per the recipe, but this was too little. Next time I will add another cup after an hour.
  3. While the ribs exterior was a little overcooked, the interior was perfect. It could be my fault, because I let my oven use convection mode.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $12.00; for 5-lbs of ribs
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Started: 2:00 PM.  Dinner time:  7:00 PM.

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