Siblings Brad Orrison and Brooke Lewis run The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint and The Saucery in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where they specialize in crafting high-quality, Southern-style barbecue. Their baby back ribs in particular are among their most popular items — Guy Fieri even featured them on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Orrison and pitmaster Scott Zink start the ribs by covering the meat with their homemade rib rub, which has a brown sugar base. Zink says that when the restaurant is busy, he’ll roll the ribs with the rub in a barrel, as opposed to doing it by hand, to save time.
“We don’t shoot for a competition-style rib,” says Zink. “A competition-style rib would be one that you can take a bite out of and see your bite mark. What all of our fans and all of our regulars have become used to, and what we’ve found the majority of the public likes, is a fall-off-the-bone rib.”
Once the racks are seasoned, they marinate overnight. The marinated ribs are then placed on trays to go into the smoker. The practice of putting them on trays is not traditional, but it allows Zink to fire lots of ribs at the same time. “I think, honestly, we retain a lot of the moisture on the ribs by doing it this way,” he says. “You’re not wide-open drying out the entire rib.” Once the ribs are halfway done being cooked, Zink takes them out of the smoker.
The next stage is what the team calls the “cut and wrap,” where they score each rack of ribs and apply another layer of rub and sauce to them before wrapping them in foil.
“Not only does it allow us to have a beautiful rack of ribs, but once we score the backside, they come apart in four and six bones each, so it also helps with the efficiency of the line,” says Orrison.
The wrapped ribs are then placed back on the trays upside down so that all the juices that are sitting at the top of the ribs trickle down. “Otherwise you’re just gonna end up with too much bark,” says Zink. “It’s too much brown sugar, too much sweet, too much smoke.”
The ribs go back into the smoker for another hour or two until they become tender, and then they go straight to the line. “We end up with a picture-perfect, extremely juice, fall-off-the-bone, rib,” says Zink.
Watch the full video to see how the Shed BBQ & Blues Joint makes its rib rub, pork, brisket, barbecue sauces, and more.