Famous Dave's Rib Rub

Caramelizing along with the charring and slow smoking is the secret to tender smoky ribs just like the Championship pitmasters used to do in the Deep South.


Rib Rub

  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup garlic seasoning
  • 1/4 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons whole celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash original blend
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt


  • 2 (4 to 5 pound) racks spareribs
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup minced dried onion
  • 1 cup Rib Rub
  • 1 (20 ounce) bottle Famous Dave's BBQ sauce


  1. Rib Rub: Prepare rib rub thoroughly mixing all rub ingredients. Store in airtight container. Makes 6 cups.
  2. Ribs: The night before smoking, trim your ribs of all excess fat. Place them in a large plastic bag and pour in Italian dressing to coat. Seal bag well. Refrigerate for 4 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Remove and wipe dressing off. Sprinkle each rib with pepper then refrigerate overnight. The next morning remove from wrap and wipe sludge off ribs. Generously coat front and back of ribs with Rib Rub and using your hands, rub seasoning into meat and set aside. The smoking process will take 6 hours. Using a chimney charcoal starter get 15 briquettes red hot. Place coals on one end of grill and place 1 pound of green hickory around coals. Use water-soaked hickory chunks of you can't get fresh-cut hickory. Keep internal temperature of the grill at 200 to 225 degrees F. Add more charcoal and hickory chunks every hour as needed. Place rib bone side down but not directly over hot coals.
  4. After 3 hours, remove ribs from grill and wrap in aluminum foil. Hold in covered grill at 180 to 200 degrees F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until fork tender.
  5. Next build a real hot bed of coals over the entire bottom of grill. Place ribs back on grill to add char flavor. When meat becomes bubbly it is done. Make sure to char off bone side membrane until it becomes papery and disintegrates. Slather with BBQ sauce. Let heat caramelize sauce.

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

Source: Chef Dave Anderson - Famous Dave's