Memphis Ribs Recipe

If we could just get off-a that beat little girl Maybe we could find the groove At least we can get a decent meal Down at the Rendezvous ~ Memphis in the Meantime, John Hiatt

This recipe is patterned after the rib-recipe at the world-famous Rendezvous restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. If you're anywhere near Memphis, you have to make it to the Rendezvous. If you can't make it to Memphis, then this recipe is the next best thing. The recipe produces a 'dry' style rib. It's not meant to be covered in sticky, sugary sauce, and the meat is not meant to be falling off the bone. This is, in my humble-yet-100%-accurate opinion, a more flavourful way to cook ribs. They're still plenty moist but the moisture is provided by the ribs, not a sauce added afterwards. These ribs aren't 'smoked', they're grilled - indirectly. Your barbecue needs to be on low heat but you don't need to dedicate the better part of the day to cook them. I've heard people say that the recipe below is not the 'true' recipe that the Rendezvous uses. That might be true. However, it makes a damn tasty rib. The recipe is fairly salty and probably makes enough rub to work for 8-10 racks of ribs. Once made, the rub should last for at least three weeks in a cool, dry place.


  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 racks of pork ribs
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder (we used chipotle powder)

Lay out your ingredients.

Remove the back membrane from the ribs.

If using charcoal, prep your charcoal for indirect heat and install a pan full of water underneath your cooking area so the ribs stay moist. If you're using a gas barbecue, use indirect heat (and a water pan still isn't a bad idea). Cooking temperature should be around 325 Fahrenheit.

Prep your spice mixture. Add 1/3 of a cup of the spice mixture to the water/vinegar mixture. That is your basting liquid. The rest of the rub will be used as a finishing touch once the ribs are fully cooked.

Load up your rib rack and place on your grill using indirect heat. If you don't have a rib rack, I think that, at this point, you need to be asking yourself some very pointed questions about your priorities in life.

After fifteen minutes, baste your ribs with the spice liquid. Continue to baste liberally every fifteen minutes. Rotate your ribs after 45 minutes (flip the rib rack and switch the racks from the hotter, 'outside' positions to the 'inside'.)

Cook covered for approximately 1 1/2 hours. When the bone tips are exposed at either side of the ribs - they're done.

Sprinkle some of the remaining seasoning mixture on the ribs as they come off the grill. Voila - best ribs ever.

Memphis Ribs

Serve with...actually, it doesn't matter what you serve the ribs with. If ribs were a colour, they'd be 'black' - they go with everything.


Hi Jane,

Most full size barbecues require the larger box: The smaller box of bricks will fit most portable barbecues.

Barbecues Galore

Barbecues Galore

Ceramic briquettes—can I order a set for my grill? I know I need this, but I don’t know what size I need. Thanks! Jane Rahmani

Jane Rahmani

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