Recipes: Wet and Dry Barbecued Ribs

In Memphis, it's been a long-running debate. Are wet ribs tastier than dry ribs?

Decide for yourself, with these two recipes from two famous Memphis rib joints, Neely's Bar-B-Que Restaurant and Charlie Vergos Rendezvous restaurant.

Ingredients For Neely's Wet BBQ Ribs

• 32 ounces ketchup • 16 ounces water • 6 ounces brown sugar • 6 ounces white sugar • 1 Tablespoon black pepper • 1 Tablespoon onion powder • 1 Tablespoon ground mustard • 2 ounces Neely's Seasoning (see recipe below) • 2 ounces lemon juice • 2 ounces Worcestershire • 8 ounces apple-cider vinegar • 2 ounces corn syrup • 3 to 4 pound Spare Rib

Neely's Seasoning

Mix the following ingredients:

• 4 ounces paprika • 2 ounces white sugar • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions For Neely's Wet BBQ Ribs

1. Combine sauce ingredients in a stockpot, cook at a high temperature and bring to a boil and stir to prevent sticking.

2. Lower temperature and simmer without cover for at lease 30 minutes.

3. Trim a 3 to 4 pound spare rib (remove the upper brisket bone and any other excess; this will produce a St. Louis style rib)

4. Rinse and season rib with Neely's seasoning, then refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours.

5. We recommend that ribs are cooked on an indirect barbecue pit to prevent burning. The ideal temperature is 250 degrees for the first three hours, and 300 degrees for the final three hours.

6. Load ribs curl side up, so the juices will maintain their moisture. After three hours, turn ribs and increase temperature. Baste ribs with Neely's barbecue sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking so sauce will not burn.

Recipe courtesy of Patrick Neely of Neely's Bar-B-Que Restaurant in Memphis, Tenn. Copyright 2002.

World Famous Rendezvous Dry BBQ Ribs

Yield: 4 servings Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour


• 4 cups white distilled vinegar • 4 cups water • 1/3 cup Rendezvous Famous Seasoning Rub (see below) • 2 slabs pork loin back ribs (approximately 2 pounds each)

Rendezvous Seasoning Rub Recipe

• 1/2 cup salt • 1/4 cup pepper • 1 Tbsp garlic powder • 1 Tbsp oregano • 1 Tbsp celery seed • 1 Tbsp paprika • 1 Tbsp chile powder

Combine ingredients and set-aside.

Directions for Dry BBQ Ribs

1. Mix vinegar, water and seasoning together to make your basting sauce.

2. Cook meat over direct heat on the grill, approximately 18-inches above fire. Coals should be at 325 to 350 degrees.

3. Start ribs bone side down, until bone side is golden brown. Baste 2 times with basting sauce then flip slab and cook meat side down until this side reaches a nice golden brown.

4. The meat is ready when it is so hot that you cannot touch it with your fingers. That is approximately 30 minutes per side.

5. Baste again and sprinkle with Rendezvous world famous seasoning and you are ready to serve.

Recipe courtesy Nick Vergos of Charlie Vergos Rendezvous restaurant, Memphis, Tenn. Copyright 2002