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3-2-1 Pork Spare Ribs

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Post Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:25 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
We get a lot of new folks asking about the 3-2-1 , 2-2-1 or 2-1-1 method for smoking ribs. Smoker temperatures are normally in the neighborhood of 225* for this method.

The first number is how long the ribs are in the smoker unwrapped. (Trimmings are on the top shelf)

The second number is how long the ribs are wrapped in fiol in the smoker.

And the last number is how long the ribs are in the smoker unwrapped again.

By the way, these ribs were sprayed with apple juice once and hour during the first phase and smoked last weekend using apple wood, cherry wood and dried pineapple rinds . Then more pineapple rind was used for smoke and they were glazed with Habanero Pineapple Texas Pepper Jelly during the final phase. :D Mmmmmmmm.

So 3-2-1 = 6 hours for spare ribs, 2-2-1 = 5 hours for baby back ribs (also called loin back ribs) or 2-1-1 = 4 hours for baby back ribs (depending on how you like them).
Last edited by Bob-BQN on Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:33 pm
Bob T rare

Posts: 15
Location: Lancaster, Pa.

I did t racks last w/e also. I keep the WSM at 230 +/- 5 degrees, and I can never get the spares done that qiuck. I go 3 hours, foil for around 1.5-2 hours, then back on until I can slide a probe through with out much resistance. Never less than 6 hours. Then again, my crew I cook for likes them to really fall off the bone done. Sauced, then run under the broiler for a minute to caramelize (SP??) the sauce a little. Ribs are probably my first choice of dinner on the smoker. Have a Picnic on right now, temp at 189, soon ready to pull and rest.

Post Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:24 pm

Posts: 8
Location: Seaville, NJ
I have been wondering exactly that.... 3-2-1. Got it. Thanks I can't wait until I can give that system a go. 8)
Weber Genesis Silver B
Weber 22 1/2" OTG
Weber Smokey Joe
New Braunfels Silver Smoker
Gator Pit Back Yard Classic


Post Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:34 pm
cigargreg medium-rare

Posts: 83
Location: Plant City, FL
Great post Bob, When you foil how do you lay the ribs u or n ? I found that I tear the foil less with the U method.

Post Thu Apr 28, 2005 10:05 pm
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC

Thanks Bob.

What rub and seasoning are you using n the pictures?

Post Fri Apr 29, 2005 6:22 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Larry you'vegot to get some of the Texas Pepper Jelly that he used as his glaze. That stuff is awesome. All the flavors are but the Pineapple Habanero is one of my favorites too.

Post Fri Apr 29, 2005 6:23 am
ajhunter well done
well done

Posts: 1345
Location: Indianapolis, IN

Bob, pics are better than a thousand words... especially the ones that make you want to bite your computer screen! Yummm Yummm! :lol:
2 WSMs, CG

Post Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:34 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
Welcome to the board Jersey BBQ! :D

Without having thought about it, :wink: I always seem to cook ribs "n" in and out of the foil, no reason. With all the juices released from the ribs while they are in the foil I think the meat would braise instead of steam in the "u" direction.

The rub for this batch is made by a board member, "FATZ Pig Powder". This is the first time I've used it and it's really good. A lighter blend of spices with great flavor that doesn't over power the pork. I went so well with the other flavors used.

Post Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:21 am

The pics look great. I am picking up 4 slabs of ribs and about 15 pounds of pork butts from my butcher after work to initiate my new GOSMS. I'm planning on using a mix of hickory and apple wood for smoke. I'll be using a rub that one of my buddies in Florida makes for use in his competitions. Hopefully the weather in NW Ohio will cooperate this weekend because I'm chomping at the bit for some que. I'm fairly new to smoking so I suppose I'm a little apprehensive as well. My significant other thinks I shouldn't cook so much for an early attempt but nothing ventured nothing gained.

Post Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:54 pm
hrchdog well done
well done

Posts: 359
Location: Herrin, IL.
You can always vaccum seal and freeze some of that pork butt.

Post Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:16 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
Those ribs look awesome Bob,
I’ll soon be experimenting with new rib ideas and your pix inspired me. :D

Post Sun May 01, 2005 8:34 am
Badger Que

When I smoke ribs for that length of time, they have great smoke flavor but end up dry and tough to separate. I heard about adding some humidity - do you do that? If so, how?

Post Sun May 01, 2005 10:59 am
weekend cook well done
well done

Posts: 837
Location: Livermore, CA
Welcome Badger Que. 321 method gives you nice fall off the bone, tender, juicy ribs. The secret is foiling for two hours. This allows the ribs to cook in their own juices. You can also put some apple cider and brown sugar with the foil to add moisture. I have a water pan in the cooking chamber to add humidity for the entire cook. Also, you want to make sure the temp you are cooking at is 225*. Higher temps at this length of cooking time would result in dried out meat. Some people say foiling for two hours results in overcooked ribs. They like to have a little pull to their ribs. If this is your preference, just reduce foiling time.
Louie aka Caveman Cooking Over Fire.

Post Sun May 01, 2005 11:49 am

Posts: 1
The difference must be the foil. My temp is always down between 200-225, I don't think that is it. It's the foil, plus I'll put a bigger pan in there with water. I like them where they nearly fall apart from picking them up. Thanks.

Post Mon May 02, 2005 9:07 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
Welcome to the board Badger Que! :D

3-2-1 will most certainly give you some moist & tender ribs. 8)


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