In late 2014, BBQ pitmaster Melissa Cookston brought her unique blend of Memphis-style barbecue to the Atlanta area with the opening of Memphis Barbecue Co. in Dunwoody. With the outdoor cooking season heating up, Cookston shares her recipe for dry rubbed ribs.
Ingredients for the rub
1 cup turbinado sugar, ground
1/4 cup kosher salt
6 tablespoons Spanish paprika
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
Ingredients for the ribs
One 2.25-pound slab of baby back pork ribs (also known as loin-back ribs)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce, for glazing, optional
For the rub: The day before cooking, mix the turbinado sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, granulated garlic, onion powder, ground cumin, ground mustard, cayenne pepper, and black pepper together.
For the ribs: Take a slab of ribs and turn over so the curved side is up. Using your fingernail or a knife, pry under the membrane until you can put your finger under it and then pull it off.
Sprinkle this side of the ribs with about 1 tablespoon rub, and then about 1 tablespoon yellow mustard. Use the mustard to help evenly distribute the seasoning. Turn the ribs over and repeat the process. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
To cook, start a smoker and bring the temp to 200 degrees F. Use apple or cherry wood chunks to provide smoke and flavor. Place the ribs in the smoker, curved side down. Smoke for 2 hours at 200 degrees F, and then raise the temperature to 250 degrees F for about 2 1/2 hours. Check for tenderness by testing if the bones will pull apart with a slight bit of pressure. If they are still tough, allow to cook for another 30 minutes.
Remove from the smoker. For dry-style ribs, sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon rub. For wet-style ribs, glaze with the BBQ sauce.