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Rib Tips

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Experience Memphis barbecue with our succulent and tender smoked rib tips! Served with white bread and pickles, it’s a simple yet delicious combination that captures the authentic flavors of this Southern dish.

If you enjoy Memphis barbecue, chances are you’re familiar with smoked rib tips. Since Memphis is Marrekus’ hometown, we couldn’t resist sharing this classic recipe—it also happens to be one of his personal favorites!

To get that mouthwatering flavor, these rib tips are seasoned with a dry rub and slathered in barbecue sauce. The slow-cooking process helps the meat become tender and soak up all that smoky goodness.

Once they’re cooked to perfection, you can enjoy smoked rib tips as is or add extra barbecue sauce for a flavor boost. It’s a simple yet delicious dish that’s sure to please any barbecue enthusiast!

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • SMOKY GOODNESS – When smoked or grilled, rib tips absorb the delicious smoky flavors from the cooking process, adding an extra layer of complexity to the taste.
  • FLAVORFUL & TENDER – These rib tips have rich and intense flavor. When cooked properly, they become tender, allowing the meat to easily pull away from the bone.
  • PERFECT FOR BBQ ENTHUSIASTS – BBQ lovers appreciate rib tips as they are easy to make and delicious.

What are Rib Tips?

Pork rib tips are cut from the lower part of spare ribs, closer to the belly. They’re the bits trimmed off when prepping St. Louis-style ribs.

Where to Buy Rib Tips

  • Grocery Stores: Some grocery stores carry rib tips (e.g. Walmart). Look for them in the pork section.
  • Local Butcher Shops: We go to our neighborhood butcher for rib tips! You can also ask them to cut some for you.
  • Online Retailers: Various online retailers and meat suppliers offer the convenience of ordering them online and having them delivered to your doorstep.

What is Memphis Style Barbecue?

Memphis-style barbecue refers to a distinct and influential barbecue tradition originating from Memphis, Tennessee. Known for its emphasis on pork, particularly ribs and pulled pork, Memphis barbecue is characterized by specific cooking techniques, flavor profiles, and traditional accompaniments. Here are some key features of Memphis-style barbecue:

  • Pork: Pork is the star of Memphis barbecue, with a focus on ribs, pulled pork, and other cuts.
  • Dry Rubs: Memphis barbecue is renowned for its use of dry rubs. These spice blends, often featuring a combination of paprika, garlic, onion, cayenne, and other seasonings, are generously applied to the meat before cooking.
  • Slow Smoking: Slow smoking is a hallmark of Memphis-style barbecue. Pitmasters use wood, typically hickory, to infuse a distinct smoky flavor into the meat. The low and slow cooking process contributes to the tenderness and flavor of the final product.
  • Sauce on the Side: Unlike some other regional barbecue styles that heavily rely on sauce during cooking, Memphis barbecue tends to serve sauce on the side. This allows individuals to choose how much sauce they want to apply to their meat.
  • Types of Ribs: Memphis is particularly known for its “dry ribs,” which are ribs coated with a dry rub and smoked without sauce. However, “wet ribs” with a sauce glaze are also popular. Both styles showcase the versatility of Memphis barbecue.
  • Pulled Pork: Pulled pork sandwiches are another Memphis barbecue staple. The pork is slow-cooked until tender and then pulled or shredded before being served on a bun.
  • Barbecue Contests: Memphis hosts the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, one of the largest barbecue competitions globally. This event attracts pitmasters and barbecue enthusiasts from around the world.

Ingredients

  • Rib tips
  • Mustard
  • Hot sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Granulated garlic mixture
  • BBQ dry rub
  • BBQ sauce

BBQ SpritzER

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Note: A bbq spritzer, also known as a “spritz”, refers to a liquid mixture used to help keep the surface moist, add flavor, and contribute to the formation of a desirable “bark” or crust. This technique is common in barbecue cooking, particularly when slow-cooking meats for an extended period.

Tools You’ll Need

To prepare this rib tips recipe, you’ll need the following special equipment and tools:

  • Smoker or Grill
  • Spray Bottle
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Disposable Aluminum Foil Pan

How to Smoke Rib Tips

  1. Preheat your smoker to 250°F. If using a grill, configure it for indirect cooking.
  2. Pour apple juice, apple cider vinegar, bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce into a clean spray bottle. Secure the top tightly and shake to combine the liquids. Set aside until later.
  3. In a small bowl, combine mustard and hot sauce, creating a binding mixture. Generously apply this mixture onto the rib tips, ensuring an even coating.
  4. Season thoroughly with your preferred BBQ seasoning, plus kosher salt, ground black pepper, and granulated garlic.
  5. Allow the seasoned rib tips to rest at room temperature for approximately 15 minutes or until the seasoning visibly draws moisture from the meat, presenting a slightly moist appearance.
  6. While they are resting, add wood to the smoker to generate smoke. Then, directly position them onto the grates and smoke for 3 hours. Every 30 minutes, spray with the spritz and periodically flip them to ensure uniform cooking.
  7. After 3 hours, carefully remove from the smoker and spray again with the liquid spritz.
  8. Transfer tips to a disposable aluminum foil pan, securely wrap them in foil, and position the pan directly on the smoker for an additional 1 hour of cooking.
  9. Finally, remove rib tips from the smoker, cut them into 2-inch pieces, and serve with white bread, pickles, and your favorite BBQ sauce.

BBQ Spritzer

A BBQ spritzer, also known simply as a “spritz,” refers to a liquid mixture used to moisten and flavor meat during the smoking or grilling process. This technique is common in barbecue cooking, particularly when slow-cooking meats for an extended period. The spritz is typically applied using a spray bottle.

The spritz mixture can vary, but it often includes a combination of flavorful liquids like apple cider vinegar or apple juice. Some variations might include additional ingredients like spices, alcohol or beer, Worcestershire sauce, or even melted butter to enhance the flavor profile.

The primary purposes of using a BBQ spritzer is to:

  1. Moisten the Meat: Smoking or grilling over an extended period can sometimes result in the outer layer drying out. A spritz helps keep the surface moist, promoting a juicier final product.
  2. Add Flavor: The liquid mixture imparts additional flavors, contributing to the overall taste of the barbecue.
  3. Enhance Bark Formation: When smoking meats, a spritz can contribute to the formation of a desirable “bark” or crust on the exterior.

Marrekus develops his own spritz recipes depending on what he’s smoking or grilling to achieve the desired flavor and moisture. Feel free to experiment with your own liquid mixture.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Consistent Seasoning: Ensure even seasoning by coating all sides.
  • Binder for Flavor Adhesion: Using a binder (like mustard) not only helps the seasoning adhere to the meat but also adds an extra layer of flavor.
  • Allow Time for Seasoning: Let the seasoned rib tips sit at room temperature for around 15 minutes before smoking.
  • Choose the Right Wood: Select wood for smoking that complements the flavor profile you desire. Hickory, apple, or cherry wood are popular choices for pork.
  • Spritz Regularly: Regularly spritz with the liquid mixture during the smoking process.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Monitor the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Pork is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C), but for a tender result, you may continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches a slightly higher point, such as 195°F (90°C).
  • Wrap in Foil for Tenderness: Wrapping them in foil during the final stage of cooking helps retain moisture and can contribute to a more tender end result.
  • Rest Before Serving: Allow smoked rib tips to rest for a few minutes after removing them from the smoker. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful bite.

How to Serve

  • Collard Greens: Slow-cooked collard greens seasoned with ham hocks or smoked turkey provide a hearty and flavorful side that balances the richness of the pork.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: Creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese is a Southern comfort food staple that pairs exceptionally well with fried pork chops.
  • Cornbread: Our soul food cornbread recipe is a perfect side dish that complements any Southern meal.
  • Coleslaw: A crisp and tangy coleslaw provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of smoked rib tips.
  • Baked Beans: Sweet and savory baked beans are a barbecue staple.
  • Potato Salad: A well-seasoned potato salad adds a satisfying and cool contrast to the smoky flavors.

FAQ

What’s the best way to cook rib tips?

Rib tips can be smoked, grilled, or even oven-baked.

What wood should I use for smoked rib tips?

Hickory, apple, and cherry are popular choices for smoking rib tips.

Summary

Memphis rib tips are a quintessential Southern barbecue delicacy, renowned for their succulent tenderness and robust, smoky flavor. These meaty bites, are prepared with a distinctive dry rub and slow-cooked on the smoker to perfection!

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Smoked Rib Tips

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main course
  • Method: smoking
  • Cuisine: american, barbecue, southern

Description

Experience Memphis barbecue with our succulent and tender smoked rib tips! Served with white bread and pickles, it’s a simple yet delicious combination that captures the authentic flavors of this Southern dish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 pounds rib tips
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 4 tablespoons BBQ dry rub
  • BBQ sauce, for serving

Spritz

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating smoker to 250°F. If using a grill, configure for indirect cooking to achieve optimal results.
  2. Make spritz: Pour apple juice, apple cider vinegar, bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce into a clean spray bottle. Secure the top tightly and shake to combine the liquids. Set aside until later.
  3. In a small bowl, combine mustard and hot sauce, creating a binding mixture. Generously apply mixture onto rib tips, ensuring an even coating.
  4. Season rib tips with your preferred BBQ seasoning, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and granulated garlic to cover thoroughly.
  5. Allow seasoned rib tips to rest at room temperature for approximately 15 minutes or until seasoning visibly draws moisture from the meat, presenting a slightly moist appearance.
  6. Directly position rib tips onto the smoker and smoke for 3 hours. Every 30 minutes, spray rib tips with the Spritz liquid mixture and periodically flip to ensure uniform cooking.
  7. After 3 hours, carefully remove rib tips from smoker and spray again with spritz mixture.
  8. Transfer rib tips into a disposable aluminum foil pan, securely wrap them in foil, and position pan directly on smoker for an additional 1-hour cooking duration.
  9. Remove rib tips from smoker, cut them into 2-inch pieces, and serve alongside your white bread, pickles, and BBQ sauce.

Keywords: rib tips, smoked rib tips, memphis style bbq, barbecue, smoker recipes

4 Comments

  1. Looks good are these meaty? Can you use another type of cut for this recipe? Have you tried sweet flavor? I’m going to try this memorial weekend. 🤞🏾.

    1. Hi! Thank you so much! The meatiness honestly depends on the how much meat is on the spare ribs that the rib tips are cut from. If you wanted to go with another cut we would recommend country style ribs. For flavor, you can definitely go with sweet! Go with your favorite sauce or whatever your personal preference is. Enjoy!

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