Mike Mills, owner of 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro, IL and three-time Grand World Champion at Memphis in May, co-author of Peace, Love and Barbecue

Meat and Sauce: The barbecue in this region borrows heavily from Missouri and Tennessee where pork and tomato-based sauces rule, and dry-rubbed ribs are also popular.

Smoke: Choice of chips can vary, but Mills swears by apple wood to sweeten his ribs

Insider Tip: “For the moistest meat, try not to flip it more than once because flipping the meat forces the juices out. If you think one side is getting too hot, just move it to a cooler spot on the grill to keep it from burning without driving the juices out of the meat’s center,” says Mills.

Secret Weapon: “I couldn’t live without a barbecue mop. Brushes tend to take off a lot of the seasonings from the meat, but a silicon mop can withstand 500-degree heat and works with thin liquids such as vinegar or thicker sauces. And you can throw it right in the dishwasher!” says Mills.

The Recipe:

How to Make it: Mix all ingredients and store in a tightly covered container. You’ll want to keep some in a shaker next to the grill or stove. Keeps indefinitely but won’t last long. Sprinkle 4 racks of ribs (about 2 pounds each) liberally with the Magic Dust, coating both sides. Put them in a shallow pan or on a cookie sheet and cover them with clear plastic wrap or a lid. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use: Marinate them for at least an hour, but overnight is better for the meat to soak up the most flavor.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

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