The Ultimate Guide to Memphis-Style Barbecue: Unlocking the Secrets of Dry Rubs and Sauces

Memphis-style barbecue is renowned for its bold flavors and smoky aromas, tantalizing taste buds and leaving an unforgettable culinary impression. At the heart of this delectable cuisine lie two essential components: the dry rub and the barbecue sauce. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of both, providing a step-by-step approach to crafting authentic Memphis-style barbecue that will elevate your grilling game to new heights.

Chapter 1: The Memphis Dry Rub – A Symphony of Spices

1.1 Ingredients and Proportions:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

1.2 Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Store the dry rub in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

1.3 Usage:

  • Apply the dry rub generously to your preferred cut of meat, ensuring even coverage.
  • Allow the meat to rest for at least 30 minutes before grilling to enhance flavor absorption.

Chapter 2: The Memphis Barbecue Sauce – A Tangy and Sweet Embrace

2.1 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

2.2 Instructions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the oil in a saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the oil until blended.
  5. Store the barbecue sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

2.3 Usage:

  • Baste the grilled meat with the barbecue sauce during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking.
  • Serve the remaining barbecue sauce on the side for dipping.

Chapter 3: Grilling Techniques for Memphis-Style Barbecue

3.1 Choosing the Right Meat:

  • Memphis-style barbecue typically uses pork ribs, pulled pork, or brisket.
  • Select high-quality cuts with good marbling for optimal flavor and tenderness.

3.2 Setting Up the Grill:

  • Use a charcoal or wood-fired grill for authentic smoky flavor.
  • Create two zones of heat: a direct heat zone for searing and a indirect heat zone for slow cooking.

3.3 Grilling Process:

  1. Season the meat with the Memphis dry rub.
  2. Grill the meat over direct heat for 5-7 minutes per side to sear and develop a crust.
  3. Move the meat to the indirect heat zone and continue grilling for 1-2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) for pork and 165°F (74°C) for beef.
  4. Baste the meat with the Memphis barbecue sauce during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking.
  5. Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Mastering the art of Memphis-style barbecue requires a harmonious blend of the perfect dry rub and barbecue sauce, coupled with skillful grilling techniques. By following the detailed instructions outlined in this guide, you can recreate the authentic flavors of Memphis in your own backyard. Experiment with different cuts of meat and adjust the ingredients to suit your taste preferences, and you’ll soon be impressing your friends and family with your culinary prowess. So fire up the grill, embrace the smoky aromas, and embark on a tantalizing journey into the world of Memphis-style barbecue.

Special Equipment

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
43 Calories
1g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 43
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 219mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 190mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir together the tomato sauce, rice vinegar, cider vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, hot sauce, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring periodically, until slightly thickened.
  • Pour the sauce into a blender jar and process until it becomes smooth. Allow to come down to room temperature, then pour into a jar and refrigerate for up to one month.

How To Make MEMPHIS BEATS (Beat Making Overexplained)


What is Memphis rub made of?

Mix paprika, dark brown sugar, white sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, celery salt, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small airtight container. Seal and store in a cool, dark place until ready for use.

What is Memphis BBQ made of?

Like many southern varieties of barbecue, Memphis-style barbecue is mostly made using pork, usually ribs and shoulders, though many restaurants will still serve beef and chicken. Memphis-style barbecue is slow cooked in a pit and ribs can be prepared either “dry” or “wet”.

What is Memphis flavor?

A Memphis joint’s defining flavor comes in large part from their spice rub, which starts with salt, black pepper, and brown sugar, and then adds other herbs and spices that denote a particular pitmaster’s house formula.

What does Memphis sauce taste like?

3. Memphis, Tennessee. The barbecue in Memphis is tangy and thin, which makes it starkly different from its Kansas City competitors. While the sauce is also tomato-based and contains brown sugar, it includes mustard and vinegar among its ingredients as well.

What should I do if I’m going to Memphis for 3 days?

If you’re going to the city for 3 days, you have enough time to see all highlights and do fun things. For example, you can spend a long weekend in Memphis, which is great! Have breakfast at some of the amazing cafes. Visit museums, famous landmarks, and great streets! If you’re going to Memphis for 3 days, you can do it all!

How to get around in Memphis?

There are lots of great places in Downtown Memphis, which makes it easy to walk to many of them. But if you want to go to a further place in Memphis, you need another way to get around. One of the best ways to get around in Memphis is by car. This is often the fastest way to go through Memphis. With a car, you can go everywhere whenever you want.

How do I get to Memphis in 72 hours?

So a car, public transportation, or a taxi are great during the 72 hours in Memphis. Another tip for traveling to Memphis is to listen to music from the city when you are going here. That way you’ll have an even better experience!

How to get to Memphis on a budget?

There are several bus companies that have routes to the city of Memphis. Traveling by bus is often a very cheap way to reach the city. So this is convenient if you want to spend 3 days in Memphis on a budget. But the journey takes longer than other means of transportation. And also, it is often less comfortable to travel by bus.

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