Great Balls of Fire- Memphis Style Dry-Rub and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Besides loving to cook , I’m a big fan of rock and roll. One day while strolling the bargain aisle of Barnes and Noble, I found the perfect book ” Are You Hungry Tonight? Elvis’ Favorite Recipes” complied by Brenda Arlene Butler. I couldn’t believe my luck finding a cook book that combines two passions of mine. This book sits proudly in my cookbook library. The book is filled with southern home cooking recipes, including barbecue. Memphis ,the home of rockabilly, is also the home of great barbecue. Memphis style barbecue uses combinations of both dry rubs and sauces. I’ve worked on creating one of each. During the summer, there are lots of occasions for grilling. I  like to keep some dry rub prepared and stored in a jar ready to use at a moment’s notice. If it’s a big holiday weekend, I just make some of the barbecue sauce and keep it in a jar in the fridge ready to season meats or use a a base to make baked beans with a kick or  as sauce to make a pizza. Both are really simple to make and worth the extra effort for some really great barbecue.  Try these recipes and then kick back, with music recorded at Sun Studio with a rib and napkin in hand!

From by the bay wishing you Rockin food memories!
blog memphis ribs

Great Balls of Fire- Memphis Style  Dry-Rub

2 tablespoons smoky paprika

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 ½  teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

( at the time of use 1 tablespoon white vinegar)


To make the rub combine all dry ingredients well and store in a covered jar. When ready to use add a little white vinegar, if using all the rub add 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

To make ribs: 

Use 4 pounds of slab baby back ribs. To prepare the ribs, remove the thin papery skin from the back of each rack of ribs. Wash and pat dry. In a bowl mix all the rub ingredients together .  Rub ½ of the mixture all over the ribs on both sides and place in a shallow roasting pan. Keep the remaining rub for later. 

Place ribs in a 450 oven for 30 minutes. Continue baking in a 350 oven for about 2 more hours. Half way through take the drippings and mix with remaining rub and baste the ribs with the mixture.  When done transfer the ribs to a cutting board and cut into pieces. Serve with your favorite  barbecue sauce. 

Rockin Blue Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Makes 2 cups

1 1/2 cups Jack Daniel’s Black Label or Bourbon

1 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons dark molasses

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

 Pour 1 cup of whiskey into a saucepan. Bring the saucepan to a boil and reduce the liquid to about 2 tablespoons. Don’t let the alcohol flame. 

 Add 1/2 cup of the whiskey and the other ingredients. Simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes and reduce it by about 1/3. Use it immediately or bottle it and keep it in the refrigerator for a month or more.