Slow-Cooked Memphis-Style Ribs

Slow-roasted baby back ribs are rubbed with a zesty spice mix and cook in the oven for hours, becoming nice and tender. The ribs are then finished on the grill with some barbecue sauce for a finger-licking delicious meal.

Slow-roasted baby back ribs are rubbed with a zesty spice mix and cook in the oven for hours, becoming nice and tender. The ribs are then finished on the grill with some barbecue sauce for a finger-licking delicious meal.

It may be Mother’s Day today, but today’s recipe is probably more in line with something you’ll want to cook up for Father’s Day. In fact, today, with the warmer weather approaching, I’m joining some blogging friends and celebrating the season for Cookouts. Grilled deliciousness, warm temperature side dishes, fresh fruit… it’s a wonderful time of year. You can check out what they have in store for you at the bottom of this post.


Anyway, yes, today’s recipe is one that is great for cookouts – whether you’re hosting or attending as a guest. These Slow-Cooked Memphis-Style Ribs cook at a low temperature in the oven for a few hours and are then finished on the grill. While it might take several hours to make, the recipe is pretty hands-off and one that we’ve been using for years. The ribs start with a homemade zesty spice rub, get popped in the oven for a few hours, and then are brushed with barbecue sauce and transferred to the grill to get warm and gooey. 

Slow-roasted baby back ribs are rubbed with a zesty spice mix and cook in the oven for hours, becoming nice and tender. The ribs are then finished on the grill with some barbecue sauce for a finger-licking delicious meal.

What are Memphis-Style Ribs?

While I’ve been making this recipe for years, I’ve never really known what Memphis-Style Ribs were. Most of my research indicates that Memphis-Style Ribs are usually served “dry.” That is, with a flavorful rub of spices, rather than with barbecue sauce. There is some literature out there that indicates that Memphis-Style Ribs can also be served “wet,” with a sauce, but the most prominent feature is that zesty spice rub.

Additionally, St. Louis-cut ribs are the most traditional cut used in Memphis-Style Ribs (as opposed to baby back ribs).

Slow-roasted baby back ribs are rubbed with a zesty spice mix and cook in the oven for hours, becoming nice and tender. The ribs are then finished on the grill with some barbecue sauce for a finger-licking delicious meal.

Recipe Notes:

  • The original recipe came with a homemade barbecue sauce, but I prefer to use Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce. Finishing the ribs on the grill, brushed with barbecue sauce is optional, but we really like how the sweet sauce pairs with the zesty spice rub.
  • Make it a complete meal with a grilled vegetable and Classic Macaroni Salad, which can be made ahead.
  • Entertaining? Pair a Macaroni Salad or Old-Fashioned Potato Salad with a Mexican Elote Salad (we love Oh Sweet Basil’s Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad, which can also be made earlier in the day) and some freshly sliced watermelon. Other great recipe that will work as a dip (serve with tortilla chips) or a side dish are Avocado Corn Salad and Texas Caviar.

Slow-roasted baby back ribs are rubbed with a zesty spice mix and cook in the oven for hours, becoming nice and tender. The ribs are then finished on the grill with some barbecue sauce for a finger-licking delicious meal.

Have you tried this recipe? Leave a comment and a recipe rating, and let me know what you think! You can also tag @booksncooks and use #booksncooks on Instagram. 

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Slow-roasted baby back ribs are rubbed with a zesty spice mix and cook in the oven for hours, becoming nice and tender. The ribs are then finished on the grill with some barbecue sauce for a finger-licking delicious meal.

Slow-Cooked Memphis-Style Ribs

Slow-roasted baby back ribs are rubbed with a zesty spice mix and cook in the oven for hours, becoming nice and tender. The ribs are then finished on the grill with some barbecue sauce for a finger-licking delicious meal.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Author Liz

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Memphis spice rub:

  • 2-1/2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 2 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tbs. paprika
  • 1/2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne

Ingredients for the Ribs:

  • 2 13-rib racks of St. Louis-cut pork spareribs (about 3 lb. each)
  • 1/2 - 1 c. Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue Sauce

Instructions

Make the Rub:

  1. Combine all ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Set aside.

Slow Cook the Ribs:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with foil (to make it easier to clean) and set a wire rack on the top.

  2. Generously season top and bottom of the ribs with prepared spice rub - I used almost all of it. Set ribs, meaty side up, on top of the preparing baking sheet.

  3. Cook for 1 hour. Rotate baking sheet and cook another 30 minutes. Rotate again, and cook for 30 minutes longer.

  4. After about 2 hours, check for doneness - ribs should be tender. When picked up in the center with a tongs, the ends should flop downwards, indicating that the cartilage and fat have been broken down. If not ready, rotate pan again, and continue to cook, checking every 15 minutes until complete. (Mine took about 2 1/2 hours in the oven.)

Finish Ribs with Sauce, on the Grill (Optional):

  1. Start preheating grill around the 2 hour mark. Pour 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce into a small bowl. When ribs are done, brush with barbecue sauce to coat, refilling bowl as needed. Transfer to a hot grill, meat side up. Grill for 10 minutes, until sauce is hot.

  2. Serve immediately.

This recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking #56.

Slow-roasted baby back ribs are rubbed with a zesty spice mix and cook in the oven for hours, becoming nice and tender. The ribs are then finished on the grill with some barbecue sauce for a finger-licking delicious meal.

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4 thoughts on “Slow-Cooked Memphis-Style Ribs”

  1. These sound amazing Liz. I love that they are just finished on the grill. I bet the house smells amazing when these are cooking in the oven.

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