Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rendezvous Style Memphis Dry Ribs

Charles Vergos, the late proprietor of the beloved Rendezvous Restaurant in Memphis, invented this style of BBQ ribs.  They are unique, in that they are served "dry" (with no sauce.)  Ruth and I ate at the Rendezvous several times during trips to the Memphis in May BBQ festival, and I have to say they were pretty darn good!  The restaurant was within walking distance of the legendary Peabody Hotel, where we stayed (it’s the one with the ducks in the lobby fountain.)  I bought some of the Rendezvous’s dry rub at the restaurant and I have been working on deconstructing it and duplicating the flavor.  I think I’ve gotten pretty close with this recipe.  Give it a try and let me know what you think


8 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons granulated garlic
4 tablespoons granulated onion
4 tablespoons mild chili powder
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons Morton's kosher salt
4 teaspoons whole yellow mustard seed
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon crushed celery seeds
1 tablespoon whole celery seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon allspice seeds, coarsely crushed
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
5 bay leaves, crushed and crumbled
½ tsp. crushed fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Msg (Accent)
2 racks St. Louis-cut pork spareribs (about 3 lb. each)
¾ cup apple juice
¼ cup cider vinegar


Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Trim any excess fat from the ribs and rub them generously with the spice rub.  Loosely cover the seasoned slabs with plastic wrap and let them sit at room temperature for about an hour (or place in the refrigerator overnight.)  Whisk together ¼ cup of the rub, ¾ cup apple juice, ¼ cup cider vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and set this basting sauce aside.  Prepare a charcoal grill and let the coals completely ash over.  Add apple wood chunks or chips to generate smoke. Place the ribs bone side down on the grate and cover with the lid.  Adjust the vents to maintain a temperature of 225° to 275°  Replenish the fire with unlit coals, as needed, to maintain temperature.   Cook the ribs for 30 minutes then baste and turn them meat side down for another 30 minutes.  Turn the ribs meat side up again and continue basting with sauce every 20 minutes until the meat tears slightly and separates from the bone when lifted with tongs (about 2 to 4 hours.)  When the ribs are done, mop them with the basting sauce and sprinkle the meat side generously with the dry rub.  Serve immediately with BBQ sauce on the side.

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