Memphis is not only the pork barbecue capital of the world, it’s home to dry rubbed ribs. Here with her take on the Bluff City classic is Kingsford Invitational judge and owner of Memphis Barbecue Co., Melissa Cookston. Make the dry rub (and add it to your rack of ribs) a day in advance for maximum flavor.
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The day before cooking the ribs, mix the turbinado sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, granulated garlic, onion powder, ground cumin, ground mustard, cayenne pepper and black pepper together.
Take a slab of ribs and turn over so the curved side is up. Using your fingernail or a knife, pry under the membrane until you can put your finger under it and then pull it off.
Sprinkle this side of the ribs with about 1 tablespoon rub, and then about 1 tablespoon yellow mustard. Use the mustard to help evenly distribute the seasoning. Turn the ribs over and repeat the process. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
To cook, start a smoker and bring the temperature to 200 degrees F. Use apple or cherry wood chunks to provide smoke and flavor. Place the ribs in the smoker, curved side down. Smoke for 2 hours at 200 degrees F, and then raise the temperature to 250 degrees F for about 2 ½ hours. Check for tenderness by testing if the bones will pull apart with a slight bit of pressure. If they are still tough, allow to cook for another 30 minutes.
Remove the ribs from the smoker. For dry-style ribs, sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon rub. For wet-style ribs, glaze with the BBQ sauce.