Making World Champion BBQ Recipes Easy for a Memorial Day Party

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Making World Champion BBQ Recipes Easy for a Memorial Day Party

Nothing gets the summer kicked off better than a solid Memorial Day party.  And nothing makes a Memorial Day party as tasty as perfectly executed St. Louis-style spare ribs.

Our competition BBQ travels have taken us to all parts of the country. The one common denominator of delicious barbecue in almost every part of the United States are ribs.  Sweet and sticky St. Louis ribs, dry Memphis style ribs, giant beef ribs down in Texas—all of them delicious, eaten with hands, and a great way to start a delicious summer.

My competition barbecue team, Old Virginia Smoke, built our rib recipe and process from tasting and trying ribs from all over the country.  This recipe is a guideline – feel free to swap out ingredients for things that you and your family like.  Follow these tips to give yourself the best chance at success!


  • Start with great product!  When looking for spareribs at the grocery store, look for as much lines of fat in the meat.  This will help you get a juicy, tender rib.
  • Remove the membrane the back of the rib.
  • Wrap on color and pull-on feel.  When your rib is a nice deep, dark red, wrap the rib in aluminum foil for the remainder of the cook.  After an hour in the wrap, use your temperature probe to feel the tenderness.  If the probe feels like it’s going into a stick of butter, your rib is perfect.  This usually happens between 203-210 degrees.
  • Smoke is an ingredient!  Only one or two chunks are necessary.  The ribs should have a hint of smoke.  Not overpowered.

Old Virginia Smoke World Champion Rib Recipe


  1. Three racks of St. Louis spareribs
  2. Blues Hog Sweet and Savory BBQ Rub (or your favorite BBQ rub)
  3. Brown Sugar
  4. Two sticks of butter
  5. Honey
  6. One bottle of squeeze butter
  7. “Blues Hog Smokey Mountain BBQ Sauce” (or your favorite BBQ sauce)


1) Trim off the end bones of the ribs, leaving 10-12 bones for cooking.

2) With a butter knife, slide it under the membrane on the back side of the rib.  Use a paper towel to pull the membrane off.

3) Season the back side of the rib with Blues Hog Sweet and Savory.  Enough that you cover the meat. Flip the ribs over and season the top of the rib with Blues Hog Sweet and Savory. Use enough rub so that you cannot see the white of the fat, but not too much that it’s caked on.

4) Let the ribs sit for an hour.

5)  Light your smoker and set your temperature to 300 degrees. Add a small amount of wood 30 minutes before you put your meat on the smoker.

6) Put your ribs on the smoker, meat side up.  Leave them in the smoker, with the door closed, for 90 minutes.  After 90 minutes, squeeze butter on top of the ribs in a zigzag pattern.  Cook for an additional 30 minutes.

7) Arrange three sheets of foil on a table near your smoker.  Make them long enough so that you can wrap the entire rack of ribs.  On the foil, layer a handful of brown sugar, half a stick of butter and a zigzag pattern of honey.

8) Remove the ribs to the smoker, and place each one on one of the sheets of foil, meat side down on top of the butter, sugar and honey.  Add another handful of sugar to the back side of the ribs and a drizzle of honey.  Return the wrapped ribs to the smoker.

9) Cook the ribs for an additional 45 minutes and then start checking for tenderness.  They will be tender between 203-210 degrees.  Your temperature probe should feel like it’s going into a stick of butter.

10)  Once the ribs are done cooking, remove from the foil and place them on a cutting board meat side down.  Using a silicone brush, brush the backside of ribs with Blues Hog Smokey Mountain BBQ Sauce.  While your ribs are still meat side down, slice them between the bones.

11)  Once you have sliced your ribs, turn them over carefully and sauce the top of the ribs with your brush.  Sprinkle lightly with salt, and then serve.

Luke Darnell is the owner and pitmaster of Old Virginia Smoke BBQ.  Old Virginia Smoke is a competition BBQ team, a food truck, caterer, and instructor.  Luke was featured on the first season of The Food Network’s BBQ USA and is a three-time World BBQ Champion.  You can find more information about Luke and Old Virginia Smoke at


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