George Harvell's Watermelon Ribs from Loveless Cafe and Motel

George Harvell's Watermelon Ribs Recipe
Photo: Oxmoor House
These ultra-tender ribs are on the salty side. If desired, cut back on the dry rub. St. Louis-style ribs are spareribs with the top bony and fatty section trimmed off, leaving single vertical bones.


Makes 8 servings

Recipe from

Oxmoor House


6 cups hickory wood chunks
2 racks St. Louis–style pork spareribs (8 1/2 pounds)
1 (4.5-oz) jar dry barbecue rub (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 (18-oz.) bottle barbecue sauce
1/2 cup small watermelon cubes


1. Soak hickory chunks in water to cover at least 1 hour; drain. Place 3 cups wood chunks in center of each of 2 large squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil; fold each into a rectangle, and seal. Punch holes in tops of packets.

2. Light one side of grill, heating to 250° to 300° (low) heat; leave other side unlit. Place 1 packet on cooking grate over lit side.

3. Meanwhile, remove thin membrane from back of ribs by slicing into it with a knife and then pulling it off. Combine dry rub and brown sugar; rub mixture over both sides of rib racks. Place ribs, bone side down, over unlit side, and smoke, covered with grill lid, 2 hours. Add remaining packet of hickory chunks to lit side of grill. Turn ribs over; cover and smoke 2 more hours.

4. Preheat oven to 300°. Cut ribs, slicing between every 3 bones; place in a large roasting pan. Pour barbecue sauce over ribs. Sprinkle with watermelon cubes; tightly cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 300° for 2 hours or until ribs are tender. (Meat should separate easily from bone.)


Loveless Cafe and Motel, Nashville, Tennessee,

Southern Living Off the Eaten Path

March 2011
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