Dry rub or wet?

Hah, made you look. The pressing question of the day is, do you prefer your barbecued ribs done the long, slow way with a good dry rub, or good ‘n’ fast with some sauce?

Ever since I saw a foodie show describing the advantages of dry rub and long, slow cooking, this is how I’ve done my ribs. However, keeping the 'cue going for 8-10 hours sort of ties you down. The idea is to lay in a good supply of beer, start a low-temp barbecue, lay on the ribs and hang out all day in the backyard, periodically sampling the beer and rubbing on layers of dry rub. By the end of the day, the ribs are delectably tender/chewy. You may, ten minutes before removing them from the 'cue, add a little shmear of your favorite barbecue sauce if you wish. Some 'tater salad or cole slaw, and there you are - cholesterol heaven.

This post has been brought to you by about three weeks of intermittent rain here in the Bay Area and an overwhelming desire for a sunny weekend. Thank you.

So: sauce or dry rub?

I would have to agree that good dry ribs can’t be beat. There’s nothing like “goin to the bone pile”. If you’re in a hurry or you’re using beef ribs, boil them in some water first, you don’t want to boil pork ribs too long (cook them but don’t let the meat start falling off). They turn out pretty good.

I moved to Tahoe this year from the Memphis Tenn area this year. If you ever make it down to Memphis, the worlds greatest dry ribs are Rendezvous on Bealle street, the best wet are Gridleys.

Dry, with cider vinegar, garlic, and cayenne in
the bullet.

And beer in the belly.

The only way! Heathens can add sauce later.

There are advantages to both methods, and i love a good dry rub, BUT, it is time consuming, so what I usually do is this:

*Note Purists avert your eyes.
The day before, I boil my ribs in beer until cooked. A generic American beer like Coors or Bud will do just fine.
This imparts a distinct taste to the ribs that is quite nice in and of itself.
After they’re cool and dry, they can be rubbed with your favorite rub and stashed in the fridge, or dumped in a large freezer bag with an appropriate amount of BBQ sauce, and refridgerated.
On the appointed day, they can be placed on the grill and heated, with additional spice or sauce as you see fit.
I find this leaves a lot more time for beer swilling, lie swapping, new car ogleing, or whatever.

I’ve never had any complaints.

notguilty, the foodie show I saw was Al Roker in Memphis, attending the famous Memphis barbecue contest. Do you know of it? Al spoke to many contestants about the virtues of dry rub vs. wet sauce (incurring passionate debates), and that was the source of this thread and my changeover to dry rub. After the show, I got on the 'net and found a recipe for a homemade dry rub, and it’s pretty good. However, if anyone opening this thread wants to share their homemade formula, I’d appreciate it.

Okay, sun, now it’s time for you to do your part.

::hopefully scraping last year’s crud off the BBQ grill::

Dry rub, with BBQ sauce on the side. Preferably from Corky’s in Memphis. :slight_smile:

I prefer a dry rub, similar to a jerk, left on overnight. Then, after scraping that off, I like to doctor up some nice smokey bbq sauce with a touch of sweetnes and toss a few habeneros in for some real fire! And just let those babies cook for a few hours on the grill…mmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMM.

Yes, I do like food that slaps my tongue around a few dozen times!

I had to come out of hibernation for this one.

Thank you, pugluvr and Falcon, for recognizing a good thing. I am from Memphis, the home of the only barbeque ribs in the world. Corky’s does rock.

Dry rub is the best, because it gives the pork a chance to be pork and not just a transportation device for sauce. Wet ribs are too sticky and, well, wet.

Best way to do it? Get a whole pig, stick it on the smoker, and stay up all night long playin’ cards and drinkin’ beer. Technical recipes are usually not handed out to strangers, as they are closely guarded family secrets. Personally, I have no idea how to do it, as Mr. Sophie takes over the operation…and won’t even tell me what he does to the poor beast.

Also, it should be noted that pig is the only animal that is appropriate for the proper barbeque. Chicken may be substituted occasionally, but it is not the best way to go.
Barbequed cow is blasphemous.

Sophie: the show I mentioned did indeed show someone doing a whole porker in the way that you mention. The critter was rubbed inside and out with secret dry rub, and then entombed in a smoker over low heat. The attendants spelled each other so that piggie got 12 hours of consistent temperature and attention, and beer was freely consumed throughout. The amazing thing was that the porker ended up being only about 1/3 of its original size. Al Roker tasted a bit, and said it was about the nearest he had come to heaven on earth. Sadly, unless I get a big honkin’ bbq/smoker, I’ll never be able to duplicate this. Maybe I’ll try a big pork shoulder instead.

Thanks for the tip on Corky’s. If I ever come to Memphis, I’ll make a beeline for it.

Give me a good lip-burning dry rub and a cold lager!

No argument from this quarter.

I’ve just started a SF Bay Area Straight Dope Spring Break™ thread so we can answer this very question. I’ll be happy to share my Carolina style no-tomato barbecue sauce recipe and some pointers on dry rub construction with those who attend. Good pork ribs need only take a few hours to make. Feel free to revisit my Barbecued Pork Spareribs writeup in the Recipe Thread for my take on preparation.

To those who have the chance, go to Memphis and try the Rendezvous’ ribs. I have modeled my recipes after theirs and get nothing but rave reviews. I have also heard nothing but good words about Corky’s too. One day I shall go to Memphis on a barbecue pilgrimage.