Competition Rib Recipe by Pitmaster Heath Riles

Fifteen-times BBQ champion Heath Riles shares his winning Competition Ribs Recipe. Pay attention and watch his step-by-step video tutorial so that you can pick up tips and techniques to up your rib game immediately.

Competition Ribs Recipe from Pitmaster Heath Riles

The first step to any competition recipe, is making sure it looks as good as possible for the judges (or your guests). This means squaring it up, and trimming if needed, to give it an even appearance (St. Louis style ribs).

Next up, remove the membrane from the bone side. Using a paper towel to grab onto the membrane, work a butter knife under the membrane to loosen it and peel it off.

Before applying the rub, slather the ribs with something that will act as a binder. Pitmaster Riles uses yellow mustard, in typical Memphis fashion. Alternatively, you can use any vegetable oil.

Apply a generous layer of your favorite BBQ pork rub. For this competition ribs recipe, Pitmaster Riles layers his rib racks in Jalapeño, Garlic, Pecan, and Honey Rubs. Make sure all sides are coated evenly, to ensure each bite looks and tastes the same. Let the ribs sit for 20 minutes at room temperature to sweat through the rub, prior to grilling them.

Let’s get that fire started!

Light up the grill, with some hickory and cherry pellets for smoke. Target cooking range is around 275⁰F.

After about 2 ½ hours, the rub should now adhere to the meat. This is the sign it’s time to wrap. Pull the ribs from the heat, and season again lightly on both sides with the Honey rub (or other sweet rub). Then lay down two sheets of aluminum foil, place the ribs meat side down, and pour ¾ cup of brown sugar, butter, honey, and other spices you like.

Wrap the ribs tightly, making sure not to rip or pierce the foil. Then place back on the pit until core temperature reaches 204ºF.

Take the ribs off the heat again, carefully removing the foil. Dust the back side with the sweet rub, and lightly glaze both sides with a mixture of 1 cup sweet BBQ sauce, ½ cup tangy vinegar.

Finally, place the ribs on the pit one last time for ~15 minutes to set the glaze.


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