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Season 3

Show 307: America's Crossroads

Aclass of American classics: A Louisville slugger, a best of Memphis and a succulent St. Louis secret. Louisville Wings, a Raichlen favorite - simple and short on ingredients but extra long on flavor. Indirect grill this old time crowd pleaser for a smokey and spicy start to any meal. Then it's on to Memphis, where Steven picked up this recipe for ribs from the justifiably famous Rendezvous restaurant. The Professor demonstrates how to make the restaurant's timeless dry-rub mix, shows the art of applying mop sauce and a serves the ribs up with tangy side of Memphis Mustard Slaw. Right after the Big Red Machine and the Arch, this recipe for grilled Pork Steaks is a St. Louis classic in which the Professor grills up here along with tangy, mildly spicy red barbecue sauce.

Memphis Dry Rub Ribs printer-ready version

Method: Indirect Grilling
Serves 4

  • 2 racks baby back ribs (4 to 5 pounds)
For the rub
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the mop sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups hickory chips or chunks, soaked in cold water
1. Wash the ribs and blot dry. Remove the thin papery skin on the back of each rack of ribs. (Pull it off in a sheet with your fingers, using a corner of a dish towel to gain a secure grip.)

2. Combine the ingredients for the rub (the paprika, black pepper, sugar, salt, celery salt, cayenne, garlic powder, mustard, and cumin) in mixing bowl and stir with your fingers to mix. Rub 2/3 of this mixture on the ribs on both sides. Transfer the ribs to a roasting pan and let marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

3. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium (about 350 degrees). Place a drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the chips in the smoker box or smoker pouch and preheat the grill to high. When smoke appears, lower the heat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, toss the wood chips on the coals.

4. Place the ribs on the grill over the drip pan and cover the grill. Cook the ribs until cooked, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Start basting with mop sauce after 30 minutes, basting every 20 minutes. If using a charcoal grill, replenish the coals after 1 hour. The ribs are done when the meat is very tender and it has shrunk back from the ends of the bones.

5. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board or platter. Mop one final time with mop sauce and sprinkle with the remaining rub. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side.


After half a million miles on the barbecue trail, America's "Grilling Guru" celebrates our pit masters and pit stops, backyards and back roads in BBQ USA. From Lone Star Brisket to Maryland Grilled Soft Shell Crabs to Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken, Steven Raichlen offers 425 fiery and fabulous recipes covering all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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