A Christmas Eve Tradition

RIBS Kate’s BBQ Ribs Memphis Style

Served Christmas Eve 2010


I needed an entrée that we (my brothers with eager assists from the kids) could grill for Christmas Eve – it’s a tradition!!!  We grill out no matter the weather!  Some feelers out to the family and it was decided – BBQ ribs for dinner and sushi before to keep our strength up!  Fantastic!!

I’d never cooked ribs before, but it sounded soooo gooood!!  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I researched BBQ Ribs.  The Internet was hot with ribs.  WOW!  There’s a lot out there.  So I ‘boiled’ down everything I learned, consulted with a few experts in and out of the family and …… VIOLA!!!  Both styles – St Louis and Memphis – were going to be served.

For the tomato based (St Louis style) ribs I used Sweet Baby Ray’s regular sauce – recommended by Dave (#2 bro) & Gwen and a few friends.  I used the same technique of marinating (up to 24 hrs) and cooking (oven followed by the grill) for these ribs as for the Memphis style.

Memphis Style Ribs ala Kate

This style rib involves a dry rub of spices which you rub into the meat up to 24 hours before cooking and then a mop sauce (talk to John on why its called a mop sauce) of primarily vinegar with which you baste the meat while it’s cooking.

This recipe is for 3 racks baby back pork ribs, about 7 pounds.


3 Tbs Paprika – not smoked

1 ½  Tbs sea salt or kosher salt

2 Tbs onion salt

1 Tbs fresh ground pepper

1 Tbs garlic powder

1 ½ – 2 tsp cayenne pepper, for more of a kick boost this to 1 Tbs.

Mix all ingredients together.  This makes approx ½ cup of rub.  Truly enough!


1 cup cider vinegar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs mustard (optional)

2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

2 tsp hot sauce, boost this to 3 tsp if you must

Mix all ingredients together.  This makes approx 1 ½ cups of mop sauce, more than enough!



Prepare the ribs by scoring the membrane on bone side twice along the length.  Gwen’s recommendation – no membrane peeling!!!

Rub 2/3 of the dry rub onto the three rib racks, most on the meat side.

Lay HD foil to hang over by a couple of inches, on a half-sheet baking/cookie pan. Place the ribs, bone side down, in the pan and cover with more foil.

Place in the fridge to cure for 4 hours min to overnight max.

TO COOK for finishing on the grill

Take ribs out of the fridge and bring close to room temp, 20 mins.  Arrange the meat for minimum overlap.  Daub some mop sauce on meat side.

Preheat the oven to 250F

Bake the ribs for 2 to 2 ½ hours covered. Take out.  Drain off the cooking juice, you don’t need it.  Daub with a bit more mop sauce, cover and refrigerate till it’s time to grill.

TO GRILL – as per John’s (#4 Bro) directions and consultation with Mike (#3 bro) over the grill.

Take the ribs out of the fridge about 15 mins before grilling

Place the meat side down and grill for 15 to 20 mins.  Baste bone side with mop sauce.

Lift the ribs with tongs along the length of the slab to turn over to meat side up.  Baste the mop sauce on meat side.  Grill for 15 mins more.

Lift the ribs with tongs halfway down the length of the slab. You want the slab to bend – not quite flop and never to break.  ALMOST to the breaking point is what is desired! – that means they are ready to enjoy!

You’re done!!  Serve

If you want to serve the mop sauce on or with the ribs, put it in a pan and bring to a boil before serving along side or over the ribs.


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