Memphis Style Ribs (Dry Rub Oven Baked Ribs Recipe)

These Memphis Style Ribs are PERFECT for any summer get-together. This oven baked ribs recipe is rubbed with Memphis-style dry rub and basted with BBQ sauce. The low and slow baking makes for the most tender ribs. Makes 4-5 slabs of ribs, but can easily adjusted for a bigger or smaller gathering.

Hosting a barbecue? Serve Instant Pot Vegetarian Baked BeansNo Mayo Honey Mustard Coleslaw and No Mayo Potato Salad with these pork ribs!

Dry rubbed Memphis Barbecue Ribs are served on a platter, shown with beer and barbecue sauce

I’m a Memphis girl through and through. Even though I haven’t lived in the Bluff City since I was 18, I’ve still got some Memphian ways.

For example…

  • I have a fondness for all things Elvis.
  • Memphis style ribs are my personal preference.
  • I eat my pulled pork sandwiches with the slaw on ’em, not on the side.
  • Barbecue is my comfort food.

As a native Memphian, I never made barbecue before I moved away.

But since I can’t get my hands on Memphis-style BBQ in Texas, I’ve figured it out since I’ve found myself craving dry rub ribs more than once.

Why I love this recipe:

These Memphis Style Ribs taste like the real deal, but they don’t require a smoker or fancy equipment.

All you need is a baking sheet (or two) and an oven.

You don’t need fancy ingredients, either. This ribs recipe is pretty straightforward. The ingredient list is easy to find, and you might have some of them at home already. You can also make elements OR purchase them at the store.

I’m breaking down all my tips and tricks for this delicious Slow Baked Rib recipe, so read through and learn how to make them!

Other favorite BBQ dishes for the summer: BBQ Chicken Burger Bites with Avocado SlawPulled Pork Coleslaw EggrollsSheet Pan BBQ Chicken NachosInstant Pot BBQ BrisketGrilled BBQ Chicken Flatbread

Looking for something more general for the summer? Check out my July 4th Recipe index!

A baking sheet holds pork baby back ribs, before the ribs are baked

What you need to make this recipe:

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You’ll also need some ingredients to make these beauties, too.

  • Baby back ribs—while I’ve tried pork spare ribs with this recipe, they’re a fattier cut of meat. To me, this made them a lot messier (in the oven itself) and didn’t result in additional flavor.
  • BBQ dry rub—you can use the store bought kind (from a Memphis restaurant, like Corky’s or Rendezvous). You can also make your own dry rub for ribs in the oven. It is a combination of spices, including brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and more that adds amazing flavor.
  • BBQ sauce—again, you can get your favorite at the grocery (we prefer Rendezvous and Stubb’s brands in our house) or you can make your own barbecue sauce
A collage of four images shows how to prepare oven baked ribs recipe before and during their cooking process

How to make Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs in the Oven

Prepare the tools and ingredients

Our success in this oven baked ribs recipe is all about the preparation!

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 275°F. The ribs are going to slow roast in the oven, so we don’t want the temperature any higher than this.
  • Line a roasting pan or a baking sheet with foil. Line it well because the juices from the meat will bake into your baking sheet, and it will be challenging to clean.
  • PRO TIP: If you’re making a lot, you might need more than roasting pan or baking sheet. 

Once your tools are prepared, it’s time to work on the baby back ribs, too.

  • Clean the ribs. Rinse them in the sink and pat ’em dry with paper towels.
  • Remove the silver skin from the underside. Dig your fingers beneath the filmy skin and yank it off. 
  • Trim the ribs into 4-5 rib sections. This is optional, but it makes for an easier time if you have smaller baking sheets. Each rack should have 2-3, depending on how large they are.
  • Season the ribs with BBQ dry rub. As a rule, I use about 1 tablespoon per pound. You want the seasoning to go on top of the ribs, as well as the backside.

Once you’ve gotten the tools and ingredients prepared, arrange the ribs on the prepared roasting pan or baking sheets. Cover with aluminum foil, and transfer to the preheated oven.

Bake the dry rub baby back ribs in the oven

The ribs will bake for 5 hours. Don’t be tempted to open the oven as they cook because you want the temperature to remain as consistent as possible.

Once the 5 hour bake is up, remove them from the oven. Brush with barbecue sauce and sprinkle with additional dry rub.

Then you’ll put ’em back into the oven and bake for 1-2 more hours… or until the ribs are tender.

You’ll know they’re tender when the meat starts pulling off the bones. When the meat does pull away the bones, your ribs are almost ready, so remove them from the oven.

Dry rub ribs on the grill, after glazing

How to finish these dry rub baby back ribs on the grill

Preheat the grill. (You may use a gas or charcoal grill.) When it reaches the optimal temperature of around 500-550F, turn off the burners on the side where the ribs will be finished. We want them to cook in indirect heat because the sugar in the BBQ sauce can catch fire.

Baste the ribs with additional sauce, and grill until sticky sweet and darkened. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

How to finish this oven baked ribs recipe under the broiler

Preheat your oven’s broiler. Mine goes up to 550F, so make sure that yours goes up that high, too. While it heats, brush the ribs with additional barbecue sauce.

When the broiler is screaming hot, transfer the ribs back into the oven. Broil for 6-8 minutes, or until the tops of the ribs are browned and sticky. Keep an eye on them because the sugar content in the BBQ sauce could cause them to burn.

When done, sprinkle with additional dry rub, and enjoy immediately with your favorite barbecue side dishes.

Sliced oven baked ribs recipe sprinkled with barbecue dry rub

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

Ribs are the PERFECT entree for outdoor entertaining because they can be eaten with your hands.

They’re also good to make in a large batch, too, because they take so much time. (Keep in mind that it’s not all hands-on time, but they require planning.)

Backyard barbecues are one of my favorite summertime events, and you can’t go wrong with hosting one.

Here are a few tips and tricks for throwing one:

  • Plan out your menu in advance. Choose to make dishes that can be made ahead of time that can also sit out for a little while without problems or assign dishes for guests to bring. 
  • Give yourself extra time. Build wiggle room into your cooking timeline because the ribs can take longer than expected. Have a backup plan in case things go awry. (For example: you can broil these if your gas grill is out of gas, etc.)
  • You don’t have to serve this oven baked ribs recipe piping hot. If they finish cooking earlier than expected, wrap them in foil, and keep warm in the oven (which is at 175F tops) until it’s time to serve.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Entertaining should be fun! Crack open a beer (or any beverage!) as you get things ready—it’s going to be FUN!
Memphis Style Ribs with slaw, barbecue sauce and beer

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the story behind this ribs recipe?

In 2011, my younger sister drove to Baton Rouge for a visit before she and I drove cross country to Denver.
The day before we left, we made a ton of barbecue and fixings, including RIBS!

That weekend, I spoke with one of Winston’s friends from South Carolina, whose ribs we enjoyed on multiple occasions. He shared his recipe to give me an idea of what cooking ribs actually was like.

Then I took what he shared and adapted it to make the ribs reminiscent of Memphis ones.

Tell me a little more about dry rub. What is it? Why do we use it?

At Memphis barbecue restaurants, you can order your ribs wet or dry.

“Wet ribs” are slathered in sauce while dry ribs aren’t. They have an extra sprinkling of the spice mixture. Dry rubbed ribs are a Memphis thing.

Before cooking, the pitmaster seasons the ribs with a blend of dry spices. As they cook, the ribs are slathered in vinegar and barbecue sauce. When they’re fall off the bone tender, the pitmaster adds more dry rub before serving.

Do you smoke or bake these Memphis style ribs?

I don’t have a smoker, so we bake these ribs, then finish ’em off on the grill. You can also finish them under the broiler if you don’t have a grill or don’t want to grill your ribs.

Why do you call them “Memphis Style? Ribs” Are they really the classic Dry Rub Ribs?

These aren’t traditional Memphis ribs because I don’t have the equipment. You probably don’t, either.

These ribs use a Memphis dry rub to give tons of flavor, which is a signature in Memphis ribs, and are slathered in homemade barbecue sauce that’s sweet, a little spicy and vinegary.

Close up of dry rubbed ribs on a platter, ready for eating

Tips and tricks to making ribs in the oven

  • Give yourself some wiggle room. Timing ribs can be hard because everyone’s oven is different. If you want to, remove the silver skin and prep the ribs the day before so that you can simply season ’em and pop them into the oven the morning of your gathering.
  • Prep what you can beforehand. If you’re making your own dry rub and barbecue sauce, make ’em a day in advance so you’re not hustling to get those together while also trying to get the ribs in the oven at a specific time.
  • Make as many as you and your guests can handle. You’re going to spend a lot of time on them either way, so it’s worthwhile to make extra if you think they’ll be eaten. (Also, they’re great leftover, so don’t worry if you’ve got some leftovers.)
  • If you finish them on the grill, ensure the fire isn’t lit directly beneath the ribs. Our first batch caught fire because of this, and it was heartbreaking.
Pinterest graphic for Memphis-Style Barbecue Ribs, showing the ribs on a platter

What dishes can I serve with this oven baked ribs recipe?

Now who’s ready to make some BBQ Ribs in the oven?

Here’s how we’ve made them time and again!

A platter of Memphis-Style Barbecue Ribs sits with barbecue sides on red, white and blue linen.
Yield: 10 large servings

Memphis-Style Barbecue Ribs

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 10 minutes

Summertime is the season of barbecue... so it's time to learn how to make a barbecue classic. Even though ribs take time, they're well worth the effort, and these Memphis-Style Barbecue Ribs are PERFECT for any summer get-together. Seasoned with homemade barbecue dry rub, these ribs cook low and slow for hours. Finish this nod to the Memphis dry rib on the grill or in the broiler, and serve with traditional barbecue sides to complete the feast!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a roasting pan or a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and set aside. (This may require more than one pan if you're making a lot of ribs.)
  2. Rinse ribs and pat dry with paper towels, and remove any silver skin from the backs. (You should be able to remove this with your fingers.)
  3. If you want, trim the ribs into 4-5 rib sections.
  4. Season the ribs liberally with Memphis-style barbecue rub. You'll use about 1 tablespoon per pound.
  5. Arrange the ribs on the roasting pan or prepared baking sheet(s), and cover with aluminum foil. Transfer to the preheated oven, and bake for 5 hours.
  6. Once the ribs have baked for 5 hours, remove from the oven. Brush the ribs with ¾ cup barbecue sauce, then sprinkle with additional barbecue rub. 
  7. Transfer the pan(s) back into the oven, and cook uncovered for an additional 2 hours or until the ribs are tender. The meat will start pulling off the bones, and once it does, you'll know your ribs are almost ready!
  8. When the second bake is done, remove from the oven.

To finish on the grill

  1. Preheat the grill to 350°-400°F.
  2. Turn off the burners on the side where the ribs will be finished, as the barbecue sauce will cause them to catch fire.
  3. Baste the ribs with an additional ¾ cup of the barbecue sauce, and grill until sticky sweet and darkened. (About 10-15 minutes.)
  4. Sprinkle with additional barbecue rub to finish, and enjoy!

To finish in the broiler

  1. Preheat the oven's broiler.
  2. While the broiler is heating up, brush the ribs with an additional ¾ cup of the barbecue sauce.
  3. When the broiler is screaming hot, transfer the ribs back into the oven, and broil for 8 minutes, or until the tops of the ribs are browned and sticky.
  4. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with additional barbecue rub to finish, and enjoy!

    Notes

    You can easily double this recipe or half it. Keep in mind that you'll have to have enough space in your oven if you double it and that if you want to make a smaller batch, you're still going to be doing the same amount of work. Ribs are a labor of love, so it's worth making a bigger batch, in my opinion.

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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    10

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 943Saturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 335mgSodium: 727mgCarbohydrates: 20gSugar: 14gProtein: 88g

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    35 Comments

        1. Erin, I just found your ribs. I’m in Memphis and these sound great. In Baton Rouge, the best place is Ralph & Kakoo’s – try the Red Fish Lafitte. (or Flounder if Red Fish is out of season).

          1. Thanks, Susan. Glad to know that another Memphis girl thinks they sound good. 🙂

            And I love Ralph & Kakoo’s! One of my good friends worked there during college, so I had the opportunity to try several things there, including the Red Fish Lafitte.

    1. Oh my goodness. I love bbq ribs but I’ve never made them. A friend of my parents makes excellent ones but after reading this, I might just have to give it a whirl.

      1. Give it a shot! They sound terribly time consuming and complicated, but they’re really easy. And I’d be interested to know your parents’ friend does with their recipe!

      1. Mary, I’m sure you could leave them in the oven to continue roasting, but I’ve never tried making ribs without throwing them on the grill. (Granted, they might have been better one time when the ribs CAUGHT ON FIRE — true story.) I’d be interested to see how just roasting them the entire time would be.

    2. These ribs are GORGEOUS!!! I want all of that finger-licking goodness right NOW.

    3. We are OBSESSED with Memphis style ribs! I am so sharing this with BF so we can make it soon!

    4. Scrumptious! Whenever someone asks me what kind of BBQ I like, I never know what to say. I think this is the style I love 🙂 Your sauce sounds ah-mazing!

      1. Hey, you can like ALL the BBQ. There’s nothing wrong with that. 😉 But it makes me happy that you think THIS is the style you love. And the sauce is totally drinkable, haha.

    5. Wow, this looks the bomb. My husband and kids would love a batch of these. They look juicy and very tasty!

    6. I have not made a lot of ribs, but these look super simple and delicious too! Looking forward to trying these juicy ribs!

      1. Thanks, Kathleen! They are definitely pretty simple to make and utterly delicious, too. I hope you’re able to make them soon!

    7. All I have to do is MENTION ribs in our house and my family goes crazy!! These ribs didn’t disappoint! We loved everything about them! In fact, I am making them on Memorial Day again, and I can’t wait!

    8. I LOVE these kind of ribs! Honestly, they are even better than the ones you get at a restaraunt! And way easier than most people think!

    9. This is my go-to recipe when making ribs now. It’s super easy and I don’t have to spend time worrying about a fire and keeping an eye on everything. The rub is perfect, and the ribs fall off the bone every single time, perfectly moist and juicy.

      1. This makes me so happy to hear, Krysten! We love these ribs so much, too, and AGREED on not worrying about a fire and keeping an eye on everything.

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