Best Ribs in the Universe

Posted by Ray Basso on May 03, 1999 at 16:22:01:

I talked to Mike Scrutchfield last night and he gave me permission to post this. He said that while this is a really good and a prize-winner he now has one that's better.

This recipe and cooking procedure won the prestigious title "Best Ribs in the Universe" at the 1993 American Royal Bar-B-Que contest as the Overall Grand Champion. They also took "Reserve Grand Champion" at the 1994 American Royal. This is the largest Bar-B-Que contest in the World. Enjoy!

Meat: IBP Brand Loin Baby Back Ribs. 13/4 - 2 lb. Size. Membrane on the inner (Stomach) side removed. All excess fat trimmed.

Dry Rub: Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store unused in moisture proof container

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Non-Iodized Table Salt
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (Dried out lightly by exposing on cookie sheet room temp. several hours, or slightly warmed
5 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
4 Teaspoons MSG (Accent)
4 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
4 Teaspoons Black Pepper freshly ground (important)
4 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
4 Teaspoons Onion Powder

Sprinkle Meat 2 hours before cooking with rub and allow meat to come to room temperature. Do not over-season. A good overall dusting of the spices is all that's needed. The spices will become a nice red liquid coating after sitting for about an hour, if you used the proper amount.

Basic Cooking procedure: Smoke ribs in a "Water Pan" smoker i.e. Brinkman, or Weber "Smoky Mountain Cooker" (the best) Start Charcoal (7-10lbs.) and 4 chunks of White Oak and 2 chunks of Cherry wood (about the size of a tennis ball) at least 1 hour before cooking meat. All fuel should be started in a chimney style starter, no starter fluid and all the charcoal must be gray/white hot. Remove all bark from wood chunks, do not soak. Very little smoke will be visible. Don't worry about that you'll get the flavor. Use straight water in the water pan and keep it full during the entire cooking process. Control oven temperature of cooker by regulating the bottom vents only. Never, ever, completely close the top vent! If you don't have one, put a thermometer on your cooker. Cook ribs for 3 hours fairly cool at 225 degrees on rib racks. After 3 hours lift the lid for the first time, flip the slabs end for end, and upside down, and open all the vents on the smoker wide open. Temperature of the cooker should rise into the 250 to 275 degree range. Peek every hour to monitor doneness. Ribs will be finished when fairly brown in color, and the meat has pulled down on the long bones at least of an inch. (usually another 1 or 2 hours) Remove from cooker and sauce both sides before cutting individual ribs. I like K. C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce sweetened even more. ( 5 parts sauce, 1 part Honey), and so do the Judges! This basic cooking procedure is probably the most important of all, and works very well with other meats as well. Forget about how much smoke is coming out of the cooker, if you've got the wood you like in there burning up cleanly, the flavor will be in the meat. Smoke is nothing more that a smoke screen, and any coming out of the top of the cooker is flavor lost!

Note from Ray Basso.

Everyone knows Mike has been very generous with his knowledge of BBQ. He is very busy now with his real estate business. Please don't email or call him he is so busy that he said he can't answer all the email he gets now. This information is for the BBQ Forum and should not be copied in any manner.  I will add that he told me once that you should use a digital thermometer and when you think the ribs are done stick it in the meat between the ribs and it should read 205 degrees.


As you can see the recipe is simple and probably the most important thing is the chili powder. I do not know what Mike use's and I won't ask. I have had great results cooking ribs as Mike says to do, on my Klose BYC. I use Gebhardt's chili powder.