Memphis-Style Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

Cooking ribs hot & fast like they do at the world-famous Rendezvous BBQ joint in Memphis, Tennessee isn’t possible when using the majority of grills sold today. To do this technique, the ribs need to be placed high above the coals or they will burn, and a typical grill just doesn’t offer that ability. The Shokunin Kamado, with all of its versatility, excels at this style of cooking, and puts out amazing Rendezvous style ribs in just 90 minutes.

By Matthew Eads, Grillseeker

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For the Mop

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup dry rub

To set your Shokunin up for this style of cooking, ensure all vents are in the 100% open position. Fill one chimney with a heaping load of lump charcoal. Light charcoal with the chimney sitting on the main fire grate. Once the charcoal is ashed over, use a pair of heat-resistant gloves to pour the chimney out onto the center of the main fire grate.



Add a half of a chimney of unlit lump charcoal to the lite charcoal and return the adjustable fire grates to the down position at the roast level. Ensure the adjustable fire grates are positioned so that they are centered and there is no gap between them.

Place the cooking grates down and close the lid. We’re cooking at 400°F so monitor your grill’s temperature and when it gets to about 340° F using the heat-resistant gloves, close both supply vents down to 30% open. Close both exhaust vents to 20% open. Depending on the amount of charcoal used, this will result in a stabilized grill temperature of roughly 400°F. Minor adjustments may be needed on the exhaust vents to achieve the desired temperature.

Some mild trimming of the ribs may be necessary, but these are much leaner than spare ribs, so the trimming process is much easier. Take off any stray hanging pieces of meat and clean up the edges as needed. The main objective is to get the membrane off the back of the ribs. Grab a corner of the membrane with a paper towel and simply peel it off.


Mix all ingredients for the dry rub in a shaker bottle until well blended. Because of the brown sugar, you may consider mixing them with a whisk in a bowl first, then transferring to a shaker bottle, reserving ¼ of a cup. Season the bone side of the ribs first, then flip them over and season the meat side of the ribs. Set aside for 20 minutes while you make the mop sauce used for this style of ribs.


To make the mop sauce, simply bring wet ingredients to a low boil over medium heat and whisk in the reserved rub. Reserve one cup of mop sauce and set aside. Keep the remaining sauce over very low heat to keep warm while cooking the ribs.

With the grill temperature stabilized at 400°F, place the ribs centered on a cooking grate bone side down. Close the lid and set a timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, open the lid and mop the ribs with the warm mop sauce. Flip the ribs over, close the lid and set the timer for 15 minutes. You’ll repeat this process a total of 5 times over 90 minutes.


Note* Try to do this as quickly as possible as the open lid will allow a surge of oxygen and cause your grill's temperature to rise rapidly.

Remove the ribs from the grill and place them on a platter meat side up. Give the ribs one final mop and a light sprinkle of rub. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving with reserved mop sauce.