Saucy ribs are tasty, but sometimes you just want an excellent old-fashioned dry rib. This recipe is unique because it uses my brand-new Competition BBQ Rub. Though these ribs have a dry rub, they are anything but brittle. I smoked these ribs on the Traeger Timberline 1300, a great pellet grill that gives meat the perfect wood-fired flavor. I let the ribs cook for about 3 hours, giving my pork a delicious, caramelized crust. You won’t believe how juicy these ribs are. Don’t just take my word for it; fire up the grill and see for yourself!
This is one of the most effortless styles of ribs to make, thanks to my competition-winning cooking method. Like all my recipes, prep time is minimal, and the return on investment is high. I’m confident you’ll consider this recipe one of the best you’ve ever tried. The secret ingredient? Not just one, but two of my famous pitmaster rubs. Unlike other recipes, these ribs don’t require a long rest time. Within 10-15 minutes, you’ll be biting into the juiciest Memphis-Style Dry Ribs you’ve ever tasted.
You don’t need a hundred ingredients to make good ribs. I’ve found that investing in high-quality rubs is a total game changer that saves you loads of time in the kitchen. My Memphis-Style Dry Ribs recipe turns four simple ingredients into gourmet BBQ. Here’s what you need to add to your shopping list.
- Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeño Rub. This all-purpose rub is a fan favorite, and I must say, I’m pretty fond of it as well. One whiff of this blend will have your mouth watering! You can use my BBQ Garlic Jalapeño Rub on shrimp, chicken, beef, and more. Sneak some onto your movie-theater popcorn for a zesty twist. I created this rub to have a hint of spice, but it’s mild enough that anyone can enjoy it.
- Heath Riles BBQ Competition BBQ Rub. I love the combination of sweet and savory, and this rub reflects my style well. This secret blend of spices helped me win 1st place at the 2022 Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest. I knew I had to share the recipe so the rest of the world could enjoy it just as much as I did. It’s great on pork, but add it to your burgers and steaks and see what you think.
- Prairie Fresh Prime Baby Back Ribs. I love Prairie Fresh’s pork products because they’re high-quality and taste great. Bonus: You don’t have to spend much time trimming them. I can usually locate Prairie Fresh meat at my local Costco.
- Yellow Mustard. You can use all sorts of binders on your meat, but my tried-and-true favorite is yellow mustard. It gives the pork a delicious tang, is easy to find, and creates a gorgeous crust every time. I use French’s yellow mustard because its smooth texture helps the spices adhere to the ribs.
The Smoker Setup
Here’s a quick rundown of the setup I used to smoke my Memphis Style Dry Ribs. For more pit boss must-haves, check out the equipment and tools section.
- Pellet grill/smoker. I used a Traeger Timberline 1300 for this recipe. I love this model because it’s a grill and smoker in one. This is an excellent setup if you have limited space but enjoy various cooking methods. The Traeger functioned as a smoker for this recipe, creating fall-off-the-bone ribs.
- Pellets. I prepped my Traeger with Royal Oak’s Charcoal Hardwood Pellets. They haven’t steered me wrong yet! I can’t recommend them enough for smoking meat without any harmful toxins
The Process for Making Memphis Style Dry Ribs
If you prefer more details or a visual demonstration, be sure to check out the recipe card and video at the bottom of this post. Here’s a brief overview of how I make my Memphis Style Dry Ribs on the Traeger Timberline 1300.
- Prep the smoker. To get this party started, I prepped my Traeger with Royal Oak Charcoal pellets and heated it to about 300°F.
- Remove the membrane. While the Traeger fired up, I got my ribs in prime condition. I took my ribs out of the package and removed the membrane. Using my fingers is most straightforward, so I started on the bone side and slid my finger under the membrane, releasing it in one easy swoop. If your ribs are high-quality, this is an easy task and another reason I recommend Prairie Fresh ribs.
- Trim the ribs. After I removed the membrane, I trimmed off any uneven edges and loose fat. I usually don’t trim the ribs too much, just enough to help them cook evenly.
- Add binder and seasoning. I covered my ribs with a light coat of French’s mustard, using my hands to set it in place. Then, I added a medium-coat base layer of my BBQ Garlic Jalapeño Rub. I finished the ribs with a dusting of my new BBQ Competition BBQ Rub.
- I wanted my ribs to have a well-rounded flavor, so I flipped them over and repeated the process. These rubs are great standalone options, but they shine when paired together.
- Start smoking the ribs. I gave my ribs about 5 minutes to bring that moisture to the top; then, I stuck them on the grill. At this point, my ribs are uncovered, allowing them to create that beautiful bark.
- Spritz the meat. After the ribs had smoked for an hour, I gave them a quick spray of water. I repeat that process every 30 minutes until the ribs have cooked for 2 hours or have an internal temperature of 170°F.
- Wrap the ribs. After those two hours were up, I took two long pieces of aluminum foil and wrapped my ribs. Then, I set them back on the Traeger for another hour until they hit about 203°F-207°F.
- Finish cooking. I removed the ribs from the grill and opened the aromatic package. Then, I dusted both sides with a little more BBQ Competition BBQ Rub and put the ribs back on the grill, still wrapped, for 5 minutes.
- Serve the dry ribs. I took the ribs off the grill for the final time, unwrapped them, and drained some of the meat juice. Then, I gave the ribs one final dusting of my BBQ Competition BBQ Rub and let them rest for 10-15 minutes. For the grand finale, I sliced and plated them.
Even though I didn’t cook with any liquids, these ribs rendered a lot of moisture and fat. They were dripping by the time I took a bite! The bark was perfect, and the meat had the perfect ratio of pork to seasoning.
Serving Suggestions for Memphis Style Dry Ribs
These dry ribs are a fantastic main dish that pairs well with my filling sides. Here are a few of my favorite serving ideas.
- Smoked Buffalo Chicken Dip. Add potato chips or pita wedges, and you have a fantastic, easy side dish. This spicy dip is a game-day favorite.
- Smoked Brisket Baked Beans. These dark baked beans are one of my most popular sides. Baked beans are a must for any BBQ.
Storing Memphis Style Dry Ribs
If you have leftovers, keep them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Ensure they’re wrapped in foil or placed in an air-tight container.