Baby Back Ribs – Best Ribs In The Universe

Baby Back Ribs – Best Ribs In The Universe

Best Ribs In The Universe Rub – 1/4 Batch

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-iodized table salt
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar, dried
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Accent (MSG)(I left out the MSG as it sometimes gives me a headache)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder


There are many tasty ways to cook pork loin back ribs, but one of my favorites is the recipe used by Mike Scrutchfield to win the “Best Ribs in the Universe” title at the 1996 American Royal Invitational. This recipe is also referred to as “BRITU”.

Buy pork loin back ribs weighing 2 pounds or less per slab, if possible. I get mine from Sams Club. Apply a “good overall dusting” of rub (recipe below) and allow ribs to sit at room temperature for
2 hours. Fill the catch pan with water. Cook ribs at 225F for 3 hours, turn slabs, then increase cooker temp to 250-275F and cook an additional 1-2 hours until done. Remove ribs from cooker and apply KC Masterpiece/honey mixture (recipe below) to both sides of slab before serving.

When using the BRITU recipe, it’s important to remember that it consists of a rub recipe and a cooking procedure. They go hand-in-hand, and you can’t separate the two and still say that you’re
cooking BRITU ribs. For best results, try to adhere to the cooking procedure as closely as possible.

Some people complain that BRITU ribs taste too salty. One cause is applying too much rub. The recipe says, “Do not over season. A good overall dusting of the spices is all that’s needed.” The key word is “dusting”, so go lighter on the rub than you normally would. Also, you must sauce the ribs as directed after cooking. The sweetness of the sauce balances the saltiness of the rub.

Selecting And Prepping The Slabs

Preparing And Applying The Rub

Prepare 1/4 of a batch of rub according to Mike Scrutchfield’s recipe. A full batch will render much more than is needed for three slabs of ribs.

Spread the brown sugar out on a cookie sheet and let it dry at room temperature for several hours, or place it is a slightly warm oven. Once dried, place brown sugar in a Ziploc bag and break up any clumps using a rolling pin or the bottom of a drinking glass. The recipe says to apply “a good overall dusting” of rub to the ribs. When I made the rub, I did’nt think it smelled very good. In
fact I made a comment to Tammi (my wife) that I bet we just ruined these ribs… Trust me we did’nt.

The recipe also says to allow the ribs to sit at room temperature for two hours before cooking. As they do, the salt in the rub draws moisture from the meat, forming a red liquid coating on the surface. I’ve also prepared them the night before and placed them in a bag and put them in the refrigerator.

Selecting The Smoke Wood

Mike’s recipe calls for 4 chunks of white oak and 2 chunks of cherry, each about the size of a tennis ball. I placed a handful of hickory and pecan chunks in my smoke can (a mod I’ll expain in
another post) and placed them under the water pan.

Cooking Process Described

During the first three hours, adjust gas to maintain a cooker temperature of 225F. At the three hour mark, open the cooker for the first time and turn the ribs over, but do not baste them with
anything. Close the lid and increase the cooker temperature to 250-275
F. Start checking for doneness at the four hour mark and every 30 minutes thereafter. The ribs will be done when they have a nice, brown color and the meat tears easily.

Check the water pan every two hours and replenish with hot tap water, as needed.

Supper Time!

Th ribs will have a nice brown color, the meat will have pulled down on the long bones, a little tug on the bones will show that they pull apart easily.

Mike’s recipe calls for saucing the ribs on both sides before serving with a mixture of 5 parts KC Masterpiece Original Flavor barbecue sauce to 1 part honey. I modified this a little and mixed
mine 3 to 1. It was can I say Awesome. Brush both sides of the ribs generously with the sauce mixture and serve immediately.

These ribs had a beautiful mahogany color and a light smoky flavor. The meat was firm, not mushy, and pulled cleanly from the bones.

I hope you enjoy trying this great recipe. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I’m sure it will become one of yours, too!

Note: Listen guys… Don’t spend a lot of time preparing side dishes to go with this… they won’t get eaten… these ribs are so good three slabs lasted about 15 minutes with my clan… All the sides my wife had so lovingly prepared went untouched!