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Smoked Memphis-Style Beef Ribs Recipe

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

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

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 coarse 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.

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.

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 flare-ups and burn the ribs.
  2. Add some smoking chips by either adding them to your BBQ's chip holder or soaking some chips in water for 30 minutes and then wrapping them in tinfoil and poking 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 of sauce to lightly baste after the ribs are fully cooked and sliced.