Most "laymen" think of barbecued ribs as being slathered in a sauce of some kind, but for those of us who are die-hard barbecue fans, we know that a truly great barbecued rib doesn’t need sauce – nay, it may be BEST when not covered in a sweet and spicy thick red sauce!
Oh the glories of a dry rubbed rib. When prepared right, it give the meat a chance to be the shining star – the true center of attention, with the spices providing enough support to make it interesting. The perfect dry rubbed rib (and in my opinion, the perfect rib, period) will be moist and tender, nearly falling off the bone, but not quite, with a good smoky flavor but not overpowering. The rub should be interesting and noticeable, but not overwhelming.
My personal preference leans a bit towards the salty side, with savory flavors such as garlic, onion, celery seed, paprika and chili powder making up the flavor base. It should be spicy, but not hot, savory but not salty. The rub should be present in sufficient quantities so that it creates an almost crispy crust – a "bark" – on the outside of the ribs, providing a pleasing light crunch when biting into the meat.
I still enjoy trying a variety of sauces, but when presented with a well-prepared dry-rubbed rib, the sauce should be on the side, serving as a dipping sauce, not slathered on the ribs themselves.