Memphis Dry Rub Seasoning - ?

Memphis Dry Rub Seasoning

I have yet to try this dry rub for ribs. But as in a few other recipes in this book I believe the results will be excellent so I have included this recipe. Plus, it is mentioned as something to be used in the Baby Back Ribs recipe. When I try it I will report on my results. Note that the first person descriptions in this recipe belong to the provider, not to me.

In Memphis it is common for the best rib joints to serve their ribs "dry", without sauce, just a liberal sprinkling of spices and herbs. The most revered dry ribs are served at Charlie Vergoís Rendezvous® (called "The Vous" by the locals). In fact, the Vous is probably the most popular rib joint in the world. Notice I didn't say the best rib joint in the world.

Baby backs are the cut of choice and they are sprinkled liberally with their top secret seasoning. "We call it a seasoning, not a rub, because it is sprinkled on, not rubbed in," says Nick Vergos, Charlie's grandson.

Because The Vous is so famous and popular, people, especially the media, are always asking the owners for their seasoning recipe. But, and I know this might shock some of you, the one they give out is most definitely not the one they use in the restaurant or sell in the bottle! Yet the bogus recipe is all over the Internet.

How can I be so sure? The bottle label of Rendezvous Famous Seasoning® says "Spices, paprika (color), garlic, monosodium glutamate, salt and less than 2% silicon dioxide added to prevent caking." The recipe they give the media contains only salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, celery seed, paprika, and chile powder. But if you eat there or buy a bottle and sprinkle some in your hand, you can't miss the whole coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and allspice among other things. So I have tried to reverse-engineer it. My version is a lot closer to the real thing than the one so widely circulated, but it is not perfect.

When in Memphis, you have to do the Vous because it is so much fun, the staff is great, and it reeks of history. But it is not even in my top five in the area for ribs in my book. And forgive me if I'm biased, but most folks think Meatheadís Memphis Dust® is a better pork rub.

Yield. Makes a bit more than two cups, enough for about 12 pounds of ribs. You can keep in a jar for months.

Preparation time. 10 minutes.


8 tablespoons of paprika
4 tablespoons of powdered garlic
4 tablespoons of mild chili powder
3 tablespoons of ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
4 teaspoons of whole yellow mustard seed
1 tablespoon of crushed celery seed
1 tablespoon of whole celery seed
1 tablespoon of dried crushed oregano
1 tablespoon of dried crushed thyme
1 tablespoon of whole allspice seeds
1 teaspoon of ground allspice
1 tablespoon of whole coriander seed
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of Ac'cent®

About the Ac'cent®. The label of the Rendezvous Famous Seasoning® states that there is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in the blend. Ac'cent® is made of MSG and you can find it in the spice section of your store. MSG, also known as the sodium salt of glutamic acid, is a flavor enhancer as well as a natural byproduct of some aging and fermentation processes. Some people believe that MSG can cause headaches, but scientists have had difficulty proving the connection. The eminent food writer Jeffrey Steingarten has attempted to debunk what he considers to be an urban legend in a famous essay "Why Doesn't Everyone in China Have a Headache?©" One might also ask, "Why doesn't everyone who eats at the Vous have a headache?" If you don't like MSG, just leave it out.

Note. If you use a brine, leave the salt out of your rub.


Mix all the rub ingredients in a bowl, making sure to break up all lumps. Put it in an airtight jar.