Memphis Style Char-Smoked Pork Ribs

Wet or dry? Pork or beef? These are the debates that go down at every backyard cook-off every Summer weekend and will continue for all time. Both have their place and are unarguably delicious. I like picking up pork ribs for testing recipes out or feeding large groups because they are often less expensive and easier to find than good quality beef ribs. In this particular little experiment I’m happy I went with meaty little spare ribs. I was able to fit two market racks, cut in half at the 6th rib, onto my Char-broil Kettleman and grill them perfectly. The leftovers were also pretty amazing for breakfast the next morning!


2 racks pork spare back
2 – 3 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs black pepper
1 tbs salt
1 teas garlic salt
½ teas cayenne pepper
½ teas cumin
½ teas onion powder
½ teas chilli powder
¼ teas ground mustard
Apple Cider Vinegar

Other Needs
Wood chunks


  1. Mix the brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, onion powder, chilli powder, and ground mustard in a large bowl. Add one tablespoon more brown sugar if you prefer a sweeter rib. Remove one heaping tablespoon to be used later and set the rest aside.
  2. Trim the thin membrane from the back of the pork ribs using a sharp knife and a good grip with a hand wrapped in a kitchen towel. (Always remember to move the knife away from your body when trimming.) After a few initial swipes, the membrane will pull off the back with a little tug and help from a paring or boning knife. When the membrane has been removed, cut the racks in half at the middle rib. Season all sides liberally with the spice mix, wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours before smoking.
  3. When ready to cook, arrange heated coals in your Char-Broil Grill for indirect heat with a drip pan positioned below where the ribs will be. Clean and oil your grate. Allow the grill to preheat to 250 120°C degrees. Throw a few chunks of lump hardwood on the smoker over the hot coals to create a delicious smoked flavour and arrange the racks of ribs over the drip pan. Cover and smoke for about 1 hour, watching to make sure the temp holds.
  4. At an hour, using heat proof gloves, remove the grate and add about 10 to 15 more coals over top to keep the fire burning. Place the grill rack back in place, baste the ribs with a bit of apple cider vinegar, cover and cook for another hour to hour and a half, keeping an eye on the temperature of the grill and adjusting the air vents as needed. Baste the ribs once or twice more while cooking.
  5. When things are looking good, baste the ribs one more time, sprinkle that tablespoon of spice mix you set aside over the meaty side of the ribs and cover and let the spices melt in. Pull the ribs off when the meat is fork tender and has pulled back from the bones.
  6. For a memorable side that is sure to please the tastebuds, pair with my Smoked Jalapeño Mac and Cheese.