Memorial Day Ribs 2015 – Don’t Mess With Success

I started thinking about my Memorial Day ribs back on May 1st. It’s a tradition now. I’ve made ribs on Memorial Day weekend for five years! I think last year’s ribs were the best, so I don’t want to mess with success. This year I’ll oven-bake them first, then finish them outside in a smoke-filled grill; weather permitting.

Although Memorial Day Memphis Style sounds cool, I can stop calling them Memphis style because they’re more of a combination of Central Texas style and dry, Memphis style ribs. There’ll be some kind of thick, tomato-based sauce on the table if we need it. We like Sweet Baby Ray’s.

The new phrase this year is “dry brining.” Basically dry brining is lightly salting the meat 1 to 2 hours before cooking. Last year, Meathead (remember him from removed the salt from his Memphis Dust rub recipe. Now he applies a dry brine for 2 hours then rubs the ribs with Memphis Dust.


3 slabs (~10 lbs) of St. Louis cut spare ribs

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder

(Charro beans)
1 lbs pinto beans
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 lbs bacon

1 lbs bag coleslaw mix
white sugar
cider vinegar
lemon juice

(Potato salad)
5 lbs Russet potatoes
dill relish
sweet relish
yellow mustard

Make the sides

Vincent made charro beans.

Katie made coleslaw.

Barbie made potato salad.

Bake the ribs in the oven (4 hours)

Wash off the ribs, take off the membrane, and coat them with a thin layer of kosher salt; use about 1/4 teaspoon per pound. While the ribs are brining, mix the rub ingredients together. After an hour, apply the rub and put the ribs in a 250 F oven uncovered, bone-side down, for 2 hours.

Take the ribs out, brush them with barbecue sauce, wrap them in aluminum foil, and put them back in the oven for another 2 hours. Now take the ribs out, carefully unwrap them, and check if the bones pull away from the meat. If not, wrap them up, put them in the oven, and come back and check on them again in 15 minutes. When the bones start to slide they’re ready for the grill.

Finish them on the grill (15 minutes)

You can finish them under the broiler in the oven or in a covered grill (outside). If you want to finish them in the oven, paint them with sauce, lay them in a baking pan, bones down, uncovered, about 6 inches from the broiler for 10 minutes.

If you want to finish them with a smokey grill, prepare the grill for indirect heat. When the temperature stabilizes (no flames with charcoal) place wood chips on the coals/flames. Place the ribs on the opposite side the grill from the coals/flames. Smoke the ribs for at least 15 minutes (YMMV). Check internal temperature or pull on the bones every 5 minutes.

Remember – Memorial Day isn’t about sales, parties, or bbq. Memorial Day is about remembering fallen veterans.