How to smoke ribs using the 3-2-1 method

3 2 1 ribs

Ribs, if not cooked properly can result in tough meat which makes it hard to chew. If cooked properly, ribs can fall off the bone easily and be tender and juicy in the mouth. This method, often called 3-2-1, is simple and often proven solid for smoking ribs the perfect way. It forms the ribs so soft that you can pull the meat out of the bone with your fingers. This is a great recipe, once you know this technique, it can be the basis of your own secret rib recipe.

What is the 3-2-1 Rib method?

3 2 1 ribs go like this:

  • 3 hours smoking ribs directly on the grill pellet.
  • 2 hours wrapped in foil, still cooking on grill.
  • 1 hour cooking, unwrapped and slathered in sauce.
How does 3-2-1 rib method work

If you know how to smoke pork ribs, then all you need to know about the 3-2-1 method is to smoke as usual in the first three hours, followed by two hours of cooking rib-wrapped ribs, and finally, one hour more. This gives the meat time to sink into the smoke during the first three hours when most of the smoke is absorbed. During the period of wrapping, the ribs are steamed are burned, making them very soft and loosening from the bone. During the last hour, the ribs are exposed to a dry, smoldering heat to form a crust.

  • 2 racks baby back ribs – removed the membrane
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/4 cup of apple juice
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Rub
  • 6 Tbsp bourbon – split (or more apple juice)
  • 1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce
Equipment needed
  • Smoker
Step by step instruction
3 – Smoking
  • Heat the smoker to 225 degrees F (105 degrees C). Add 3 good pieces of hickory or wood of your choice.
  • Cut out any dirt or similar bumps on the joints and remove the lining. Rub the mustard on the ribs, and leave to rest as you prepare for anointing.
  • Add the chili, paprika, brown sugar, sea salt, and garlic salt, and mix well. Transfer to a shaker. Sprinkle the rub evenly over the ribs and leave to sit, 10 minutes to 2 hours. If leaving for more than 20 minutes, keep in a cooler
  • Put the ribs on the smoker and smoke for three hours.
2 – Wrap
  • Wrap the ribs with two sheets of foil. Place the ribs flesh side down, and cover with apple juice, brown sugar, and butter.
  • Wrap the ribs and return to the smoker to cook for an additional two hours.
1 – Finishing
  • Remove the ribs from the foil and paint in the BBQ sauce. Return to smoke until set, 10 to 20 minutes. For a better finish, this step can be repeated.
  • Remove from the smoker and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

This 3-2-1 method can give you a tender rib that can easily fall off the bone, which many people consider to be the top of the smoking ribs. However, it will probably not win you any barbecue competitions. Ribs should be soft, and then clean off the bone as you bite into it, but it should not be so tender that the bones slip easily. For most people, a good rib has flesh that attaches itself to a bone but does not stick to it. In other words, the meat should be clean from the bone when bitten, but it certainly should not fall off. But if you are not planning on getting into any of the cooking competition, follow this recipe, so for about 90-95% of people, these ribs will be just right as it is sure to please.

These ribs are full of flavor and are amazingly tender. Once you’ve smoked it, you can cut it out and separate it and serve it quickly!

You can also know more about smoking ribs on grill