Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

May 16, 2011

Elvis' favorite – Rendezvous Ribs

Dave Lobeck
CNHI News Service


When you visit Memphis, you have to visit two places. Elvis' home and burial site - Graceland, and Elvis' favorite rib joint, Rendezvous Ribs.

The entrance to the rib joint is in a back alley and dates back to 1947.

If you can't make it to Memphis soon, no worries. Today's article is going to show you how to make these delicious ribs. How good are they? Here's an example. When Elvis was performing in Las Vegas, he would have Rendezvous Ribs flown out to him, first class. Those are good ribs.

The story goes that Charlie Vergos would typically grill beef over charcoal when he first started his restaurant. A salesman suggested he add pork ribs to his menu due to the low cost of the product, allowing him to increase his profit margin. He gave it a try and rubbed down the ribs with Greek seasonings, grilling them over charcoal with his beef.

While the end product was tasty, there was no color. The salesperson suggested he add paprika to the Greek seasonings to enhance their appearance, and the Rendezvous Rib was officially born.

There is no wood flavoring in the coals with these ribs. They are cooked over charcoal briquets at a higher temperature and for a shorter period of time than traditional southern style ribs. In my opinion, the Greek rub is the key. You can view an instructional video at http://www.bbq-myway.


Greek Rib Rub

1/3 cup paprika

2 tablespoons of chili powder

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of dried Greek oregano

1 tablespoon of kosher salt

2 teaspoons of coarsely ground black pepper

2 teaspoons of whole mustard seed

1 teaspoon of celery seed

Mop Recipe

½ cup of apple cider vinegar

½ cup of water

2 teaspoons of Greek rib rub

4 to 5 lbs. of baby back ribs.

Set up the kettle grill with indirect heat, meaning 20 to 30 briquets on one side of the grill. I would also suggest you invest in rib racks, allowing you to fit more ribs on the grill. Some people remove the

membrane of the ribs, others don't. Your choice. In my video, I show you how to remove it.

Once the briquets are 85 percent gray, place the ribs on the other side of the grill. Apply the mop with a brush on the ribs. You will do this four to five times during the cooking process, which will take 1 ½ hours or so. Always keep the lid on during the cooking process.

You will know the ribs are done when the meat starts pulling away slightly from the bone. Bring them in, slice them up and pour the Greek rub on the ribs and toss until the ribs are fully coated with the rub.

If you are serving wine, a smooth, soft Merlot or Shiraz would match up nicely. If offering beer, consider a lemony and crisp summer ale.


Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a weekly column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at