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HomeWine3-2-1 Rib Methodology – A Complete Information

3-2-1 Rib Methodology – A Complete Information

Your full information to the 3-2-1 Rib Methodology of Smoking Ribs. This idiot proof technique is ideal for these simply beginning out and likewise desirous to grasp ribs with just some key strategies. The cooking course of is smoking low and sluggish utilizing spare ribs for a young and scrumptious rack of ribs.

3 2 1 Smoked Spare Ribs with BBQ Sauce

Vindulge Rib Recipe Highlights

  • This technique works on any sort of smoker from an electrical smoker, offsets, Large Inexperienced Egg, or perhaps a pellet smoker.
  • It’s one of the simplest ways in your first time smoking ribs as a result of you may simply alter the ratio to your most well-liked taste.
  • It’s greatest to make use of spare ribs or St. Louis Reduce ribs for this recipe. We even have a information for smoked child again ribs too.

Sean and I got here from two totally different worlds of Smoked Ribs. I used to love finger-licking juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs and drowning in sauce. He preferred them simply tender sufficient to chunk, however not fall off the bone like barbecue competitions. When accomplished appropriately this 3-2-1 rib technique will obtain the proper ribs based mostly on how you want them.

And in the event you like fall off the bone bbq ribs, that’s fantastic too! Both approach, be taught this straightforward approach for bbq ribs after which alter it based mostly on the way you just like the tenderness of your smoked ribs.


What’s the 3-2-1 Methodology for Smoking Ribs

This technique comes down to 3 phases of smoking ribs. It totals 6 hours of smoking at a low temperature.

  • 3 – The primary stage you smoke at a low warmth, unwrapped for 3 hours.
  • 2 – The second stage you smoke at a low warmth, wrapped in aluminum foil or butcher paper.
  • 1 – The final hour you smoke, unwrapped, and usually add some form of sauce or glaze for ending taste.

The three-2-1 Ribs Methodology is a superb beginning place to seek out your steadiness of taste and texture. Some could argue that the 6 hour ratio will overcook the ribs, however we’ve by no means discovered that to be the case. 

Sourcing – Spare vs Child Again Ribs

Spare ribs or child again ribs? I discover 3-2-1 ribs work greatest on spare ribs. A St. Louis reduce spare rib (rib ideas eliminated) will are typically meatier and flatter than child backs as they arrive from the stomach space of the pig versus simply off the backbone. It is usually trimmed in a technique to make extra even form. The connective tissues render utilizing low and sluggish cooking.

how to trim spare ribs
Spare ribs trimmed to St. Louis reduce.

Child again ribs have much less meat and customarily cook dinner quicker than spares. Additionally they have a definite curve to them versus the flatter spare.

Our hands-down favourite sort of ribs comes from Snake River Farms. The standard, marbling, and taste are large.


Earlier than making use of a dry rub the ribs have to be trimmed. There are two sides of the ribs. The meaty aspect and the aspect with a skinny membrane that needs to be eliminated.

  1. Take away any hanging fats from the meaty aspect.
  2. Take away the silver pores and skin membrane on the bone aspect of the ribs (or again of the ribs) utilizing a pointy knife. In the event you go away that membrane on, the feel shouldn’t be nice because it cooks. Merely take away a small little bit of the silver pores and skin from one nook, then use a paper towel to drag it off the remainder of the best way.
  3. Pat down the ribs and prepare to season the spare ribs.

Chef’s Be aware: You may also insert a butter knife underneath the membrane midway alongside the bone aspect of the rib. Then slowly elevate up the membrane and pull off in a single clear pull. Nonetheless don’t use a pointy knife with this technique as it is going to reduce by the membrane.


When seasoning ribs, the hot button is to lock down that smoked taste throughout these first 3 hours utilizing a slather after which a dry rub.

  • Slather Add a liquid factor, like olive oil or yellow mustard, to permit the dry rub to stay. We really use Dijon mustard.
  • Dry Rub Add your favourite rib seasoning that may add taste whereas the ribs smoke and caramelize ideally with brown sugar or cane sugar. We love our Final Dry Rub for this.
How to Prepare bbq Ribs using rib seasoning.

A rub that has sugar in it is going to actually assist in creating that shade and bark that’s the first style issue if you chunk into the ribs and an essential consider attaining the precise shade.

Cooking Temperature For Smoked Ribs

Goal 250 levels F for 3-2-1 Ribs. In the event you smoke at 225 it is going to take longer to render.

Smoke thermometer by Thermoworks

I like utilizing a leave-in thermometer to watch the inner temperature of each the meat and the ambient temperature of the smoker, such because the Smoke Unit by Thermoworks. It has a distant unit so you may monitor the temps from afar with out having to open and shut the lid.

And in contrast to most meats, we don’t cook dinner the ribs to a particular inner temperature, however when they’re accomplished, they are typically within the 205 diploma F vary and are very tender. The essential half is monitoring the ambient cooking temp of the grill whereas the bbq ribs are smoking and so that you don’t should open the smoker that usually.

Including Moisture whereas Smoking Ribs

I at all times cook dinner with a water pan in a pellet grill or offset and a private choice. We additionally use a spritz whereas the 3-2-1 ribs are smoking. A easy rib spritz is equal elements apple cider vinegar and apple juice or water. So for one cup of apple juice you add one cup of apple cider vinegar.

The added moisture to the cooking chamber actually helps with shade on the smoked ribs and preserving the feel moist.

For our kamado-style grill we don’t use a water pan as we discover the moisture holds rather well inside our Large Inexperienced Egg, however we nonetheless use a spritz.

Learn how to Smoke Ribs with the 3-2-1 Methodology

3 – The time we take to get that smoke affect into the ribs (the primary 3 hours)

Once we take a look at smoking 3-2-1 ribs, we need to pack taste. Begin with the wooden — I like fruit woods for ribs, and particularly cherry, as a result of the smoke taste is delicate and the colour is a wealthy purple (we use a whole lot of applewood too). Meat needs to be laid bone aspect down.

In the course of the three hours I additionally prefer to maintain including moisture to the pork with a spritz. A spritz is just a sprig bottle with liquid. In our case, it’s equal elements apple cider vinegar and water (you too can add equal elements apple cider vinegar and apple juice for a bit of extra sweetness).

Begin spritzing after the primary 90 minutes. After these first 90 minutes, I’ll then spritz each half-hour for the subsequent 90 minutes. Moisture helps that smoke affect follow the meat. And with the sugar, this helps with the caramelization.

How to make a spritz (or mop) for ribs

2 – Wrap for 2 hours

By now the bones from the ribs ought to begin to present.

 3 2 1 Smoked Ribs with no sauce (just salt and pepper)

The wrapping will enable the meat to baste with a modest liquid to create tenderness. Lay out aluminum foil (or use a foil pan). Squeeze out some agave nectar or honey and butter chunks on the foil. Be happy so as to add a few of the spritz liquid too. Then enclose the ribs in a decent foil pouch and place meat aspect down your cooker. Over the 2 hours it is going to steam and baste within the liquid creating that comfortable texture.

On the finish of these two hours, take away the foil: you’ll see that the bone within the rib is displaying extra. That is the place that butter and agave you used basted the smoked ribs and added a ton of taste.

Wrapping Ribs for the 3-2-1 Method

1 – The ultimate step is one hour unwrapped

Right here the main target is on that final taste factor — The sauce or glaze. Take away the smoked ribs from the foil, or just open the foil and cooked unwrapped, for the remaining time.

Brush your favourite BBQ sauce onto the ribs for optimum taste (however don’t add an excessive amount of!) simply if you unwrap (you’re nonetheless making an attempt to style the meat and smokiness, so don’t overdo it).

You understand it’s accomplished when you may wiggle the bones and they’re barely in a position to come out with a tug. Technically if the bones simply fall out, that signifies that the meat is overcooked. Sure, a few of it’s possible you’ll like fall off the bone and that’s okay too. However hey, this type is all about house cooking versus knowledgeable competitors (so that you cook dinner what YOU like!)  🙂

3-2-1 Smoked Pork Ribs


You possibly can modify the occasions on this technique, however attempt to keep away from exceeding the six-hour restrict. If something you’ll doubtless pull again on the time.

  • Need extra smoke? Use a 4-1-1. The secret is not that the 3-2-1 technique is the one one, it’s actually about discovering a type that works for you. This provides extra smoke up entrance.
  • Need extra steadiness and tighter texture? Use a 2-2-1 technique. Smoke-Wrap-Sauce. It gained’t braise as a lot within the wrap however it is going to nonetheless be tender.

After you pull the ribs off the smoker – slice, serve, and luxuriate in! Need a easy rib with out the sauce? Simply rub with salt and pepper and for the final hour skip the sauce step.

3 2 1 Ribs with sauce, sliced

Wine Pairing for 3 2 1 Ribs

For this type of ribs I’m in search of a wine that may stand as much as the candy and spicy flavors from the BBQ sauce and dry rub, but not overpower the beautiful smoke flavors from the tender meat. For one thing with nice taste, however not too overpowering, I like bolder purple wines that aren’t too excessive in tannin, like Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, or Zinfandel. I are inclined to lean in direction of reds from Washington State after we do ribs.

Discover wines from the Vindulge Wine Market excellent with BBQ ribs.

Need Extra Smoked Ribs Recipes? 

*A earlier model of this 3 2 1 Ribs recipe was printed in 2016 and edited in September of 2022 with extra particulars, up to date photographs, and reader questions answered.

This publish could comprise affiliate hyperlinks. This implies in the event you click on on the hyperlink, we could obtain a small fee if you buy by the hyperlink. We associate with manufacturers we all know and love and use and it helps maintain the weblog going!

In the event you like this recipe we’d really admire it in the event you would give this recipe a star evaluate! And in the event you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it if you cook dinner our recipes. 

Straightforward 3-2-1 Ribs Recipe

Recipe for competitors type smoked pork ribs, and an evidence of the “3-2-1 Methodology” of smoking ribs.

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4.43 from 68 votes


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook dinner Time: 6 hours
Whole Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Energy: 338kcal
Value: $30.00


For the Ribs:

For the Spritz:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water (or apple juice)

For the Wrap (on the 3 hour mark):

  • 4 tablespoons butter (2 per rack)
  • ¼ cup honey (2 tablespoons per rack. Agave nectar is a superb various as effectively.)
  • 2 tablespoons spritz (from above), To calmly spray previous to wrapping

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup Barbecue Sauce * Chances are you’ll not use the entire bbq sauce. You're simply glazing it on each side of every rack.
Stop your display from going darkish


For Prep:

  • Preheat smoker to 250 levels Fahrenheit (we like cherry and apple).
  • Trim extra fats off the ribs and take away the membrane off the bone aspect of the ribs utilizing a paper towel (it’s slippery).
  • Pat ribs dry with a paper towel, after which coat each side of ribs with the Dijon mustard. Apply the dry rub to each side.

To Smoke The Ribs

  • Place ribs, meat aspect pointing up, on the smoker. Plan to smoke for about three hours. Begin spritzing 90 minutes into the smoke after which spritz each half-hour.
  • After the third hour, take 2 lengthy strips of aluminum foil. Place ribs on them bone aspect down. 
  • On prime of the ribs, add the butter and agave nectar evenly over the meat aspect of the ribs (1 tablespoon of butter and nectar per rib, per aspect) after which wrap the ribs tightly. Place again onto the smoker, meat aspect down, for 2 extra hours.
  • After the top of this second hour, take away ribs from foil gently. The meat needs to be tender and bones displaying. Place the ribs again on the smoker, meat aspect up, and glaze together with your barbecue sauce. Cook dinner another hour, uncovered, (the final hour helps set the meat and provides extra taste). Take away. While you take away after this final hour, glaze one final time earlier than serving, then slice and serve.



Seasoning: You should use any mustard, it’s meant to assist the rub follow the ribs. For the rub, we like rubs with a steadiness of salt and candy. You may also do that with a easy salt and pepper rub as effectively.

For the Spritz: Mix the liquids right into a meals secure spray bottle. 

Modifications: The three-2-1 technique is a superb beginning place to seek out your steadiness of taste and texture. You possibly can alter this ratio any approach you want from 4 – 2, and even much less time. Some will argue that the ratio will overcook the ribs. Technically that’s a choice for you. Mess around with ratios that work in your palate.


Discover the proper wine pairing on the Vindulge Wine Store


Energy: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 7g | Fats: 17g | Saturated Fats: 8g | Trans Fats: 1g | Ldl cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 705mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 418IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? We’d like to see!Point out @vindulge or use the hashtag #vindulge

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