Smoked Memphis-Style Beef Ribs Recipe

Updated on March 8, 2020
Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul is a barbecue enthusiast. He is currently grilling and smoking on a Komodo Kamado Ultimate 23.

Smoked Memphis-style beef ribs
Smoked Memphis-style beef ribs

Oh, my, I love beef ribs—and in my opinion, this is the very best recipe out there. It's a Memphis-style dry rub with a vinegar mop and dipping sauce.

Many of my recipes are heavily influenced by pit masters. This one is a modification of one of Steven Raichlen's recipes from his book, How to Grill. It's a bit more intricate than my basic beef rib recipe. This recipe is so good it can be used on beef tenderloin, rib roasts, and even pork ribs.

Memphis-style dry rub
Memphis-style dry rub

Step 1: Make the Memphis Dry Rub


  • 3 tablespoons paprika (smoked or sweet)
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons course salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Set aside two tablespoons of the rub for the vinegar sauce.

Using your hands, work the rub into the meat
Using your hands, work the rub into the meat

Step 2: Work the Rub Into the Ribs

  1. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of rub on the bone side for every four ribs.
  2. Work the rub into the meat with your hands.
  3. Flip the meat side over and sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of rub on the meat side and work it into the meat. The ribs should look well seasoned.

Beef ribs in rib rack on smoker
Beef ribs in rib rack on smoker

Step 3: Smoke the Ribs

  1. Set up the gas or charcoal grill for indirect heat. Beef ribs are fatty. If you put the ribs over direct heat, you'll likely have flareups and burn the ribs.
  2. Add some smoking chips by either adding them to your BBQ's chip holder, or soak some chips in water for 30 minutes and then wrap them in tinfoil, poke some small holes in them.
  3. If you're smoking the ribs on a Big Green Egg, or another Kamado-style grill, add the charcoal and smoking chips. Set the temperature of the grill to 250 degrees.
  4. If you're using a rib rack that holds the ribs on their edge (this is what I do), rotate and flip the ribs twice during the cook so each side is touching the grill the same amount of time. I've been using coffee wood chips for smoke, but hickory or apple also work really well.
  5. Smoke the ribs at 250 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The ribs should draw back on the bone, and when you bite them they will have a little chew. For fall-off-the-bone beef ribs, smoke them for an additional 1/2 hour. I love ribs with a little chew, so I tend to smoke them for 2 1/2 hours tops.

Vinegar mop sauce
Vinegar mop sauce

Perfect Mop Sauce for the Ribs


  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Memphis dry rub (recipe above)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Take the rub that was set aside and mix it with additional salt and vinegar.
  2. Lightly baste the rubs after 1 1/2 hours on the grill.
  3. Save a little mop sauce to lightly baste after the ribs are fully cooked and sliced.

How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques, A Barbecue Bible! Cookbook
How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques, A Barbecue Bible! Cookbook
I adapted this recipe from one that appears in this fantastic barbecue book.


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      That dry rub sounds really flavorful and the vinegar would help to tenderize the ribs. Thanks for your recipe and instructions. Will have to give it a try!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      Holy Moses this sounds good, and I don't even eat beef. Wow!

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 

      4 years ago from Mobile, AL

      At home we use a little bit of Worcestershire in with our mop sauce. They always turn out delish!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Looks just delicious. I'll have to give it a try.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      Now you're talkin', Paul. This beef ribs marinade seems delicious even though it contains everything but the kitchen sink. Thanks for sharing it. Beef ribs happen to be my second favorite meal after pork ribs so I will try it on both.


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