Memphis soul: Pork ribs you’ve got to try!

One word comes to mind when I think of Memphis, Tennessee: barbecue. That said, when I think of Memphis-style barbecue, one thing in particular makes my taste buds tingle. You’ve probably guessed it from the title – pork ribs!

During a road trip across the southern states of the U.S., I came to realize that Memphis made the best pork ribs. Succulent and saucy, the fall-off-the-bone pork ribs were something I’d crave every now and then but could never enjoy at home in India. One day, the craving was so severe that I decided I absolutely needed to get some of those ribs. Thus, the research and studying began. Today, I’m proud to say I’ve created a recipe that’s pretty close to the real thing (let’s face it – being as good as the Memphis pit-masters is no easy feat).

Source: The BBQ Info

You’re most likely wondering how I’ve managed to put together a Memphis-style pork ribs recipe that can be executed in a humble Indian kitchen, i.e. a grill-less kitchen (or backyard, for that matter). Well, this recipe calls for the use of an oven.

In addition to an oven, this recipe calls for minimum equipment. You’ll need a:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Baking tray
  • Tongs
  • Knife and cutting board

It already seems doable, right?

Before I get into the details about the ingredients, I’d like to address the kind of pork ribs I recommend for this recipe. While spareribs or baby back ribs may seem like the obvious choice, St. Louis-cut ribs are in fact the best for this recipe. Why? Well, St. Louis-cut ribs is fattier, which helps keep the meat tender. They’re also thinner and flatter than the other styles, which allows them to cook and brown more evenly. If you’d like to know more about the different kinds of pork ribs, you may want to check out this article by Bon Appetit. You can also take a look at the image below for a quick understanding of what St. Louis-cut ribs are:

Source: Smoked BBQ Source

Another thing to remember when cooking ribs is to remove the membrane found on the underside of the rack. This will help the pork absorb more flavour. For more on how to do this, watch the embedded video.


  • 2 St. Louis-cut rib racks
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Cooking instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Rub them all over the ribs in a baking tray. Ensure the ribs are meat-side up. Set aside in the refrigerator for the night.
  2. Adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 120°C.
  3. Place the ribs in the oven and cook for about 3 hours, until they are tender.
  4. Take the ribs out of the oven and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Cut them apart between the bones and serve.

How easy is that?! I’d love to know your thoughts on this recipe. If you try it out, show me your work by tagging me on Instagram @culinaryquests. Also, if you’re looking to try another American classic, may I tempt you with my Philly Cheesesteak recipe?