Recipe courtesy of Paul Kirk, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and Ardie Davis

Rib Tips

Lem's and Barbara Ann's are the two best reasons we can think of for a trip to Chicago. Barbara Ann's links and Lem's rib tips with fries make a feast fit for royalty, and that's how you'll feel from first bite to last. James Lemon, proprietor, has lived on Chicago's South Side since he moved from Mississippi in 1942. Later he joined his other brothers to help run the barbecue joint established by the oldest brother, Miles, a.k.a. "Lem," in 1951. The brothers had a history of barbecuing hogs in a homemade brick pit their father built in their hometown, Indianola. Today James is the only surviving brother, and we're thankful he is still running the business. We're big fans of rib tips. There's no duplicating Lem's rib tips with "spicy gravy"-that's what Mother Lemon called her special barbecue sauce-but when you can't be in Chicago, we hope our rib tips and spicy sauce will provoke some good memories.
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  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
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Dry Rub: 

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons seasoned salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 teaspoon onion powder

Barbecue Sauce:

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds

4 pounds rib tips


  1. To make the dry rub, combine the brown sugar, seasoned salt, chili powder, pepper, cayenne, Old Bay, sage, and onion powder and blend well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until ready to use, for up to 6 months.
  2. To make the barbecue sauce, combine the ketchup, sugars, vinegar, chili powder, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and celery seeds in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve all the sugars. Heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Set up your smoker to cook indirectly at 250 degrees F. Season the rib tips all over with the barbecue rub. Place on the smoker and barbecue for 4 to 5 hours, or until the ribs tear apart easily, basting with the sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
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