Memphis BBQ; Everything You Need to Know, and More...

Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash


Memphis has been long-credited for its insanely delicious barbecue scene, but we realized that many people don’t actually know why that is. So today, we’re getting to the bottom of this heavenly Southern staple.

What Is Memphis Barbecue?

The gorgeous state of Tennessee is known for several attractions: the Great Smoky Mountains, the Nashville music scene, and most importantly, Memphis barbecue. 

But, what is Memphis barbecue exactly? How is it different from just plain old barbecue? We’re so glad you asked. 

Memphis is one of the few Southern cities that can truly claim its own unique and widely recognized barbecue style. They have been famous for their ribs since the early 1920s, when John Mills, a barbecue legend, wooed visiting celebrities (like Bing Crosby) with his famous pit-cooked slabs. 

When it comes to Memphis barbecue, it absolutely must be of the pork variety, whether it's pork ribs, pork shoulder, or the whole hog itself. The other factor that makes it Memphis: the dry rub. Traditionally, Memphis barbecue is rubbed-down before cooking with a dry rub made with a variety of spices, herbs, and sugar.

Photo by Z Grills Australia on Unsplash

The Difference Is in the Dry Rub 

In case you couldn’t tell, Memphis-style barbecue stands out among the rest.

The secret to this famous style is unquestionably the dry rub. If you’ve ever enjoyed true Memphis barbecue, then you know that the “go-to” dish is Memphis style dry rub ribs.

Unlike the barbecue you’ll find in other parts of the country (that are probably drowning in sauce), Memphis pitmasters dress their ribs with nothing more than dry rub that lets the perfectly-smoked meat take center stage. In this process, the ribs are coated with a rub made from savory ingredients like garlic, paprika, onions, cumin, and similar spices, then they’re cooked in a grill or smoker until they are utterly melt-in-your-mouth tender. 

The Memphis dry rub style is uniquely flavorful and significantly less messy to eat than other barbecue. 

So, how is it that this sauce-less style makes for such flavorful BBQ? With a dry rub, there is a reaction between the spices and the surface of the meat, forming a delicious crust which the pros call “the bark.” RawSpiceBar’s Memphis Style Dry Rub is specifically formulated to add unique flavor and a proper crust to your meat, unlike anything you’ve ever had. 

And, when you’re inevitably asked, “What’s your secret?” you can answer like the professionals. “It’s the dry rub, man.”

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Before You Go...

We don’t know what you have planned for the upcoming weekend, but we do hope that you get a chance to debut your Memphis Dry Rub and join your favorite people outdoors for some barbecue and sunshine. 

If you are feeling particularly proud of your culinary endeavors, we’d love to see how it went for you. Tag us on Instagram so we can see your handiwork, and make sure you’re following us for more tips and tricks! 

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