Rib Confusion

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by stevetheteacher, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Planning on doing some type of ribs Friday, but am confused. I've heard both 3-2-1 and 2-2-1. Which is recommended and why?
  2. oddball

    oddball Smoke Blower

    Times varies by type (ie: beef or pork).

    I don't foil mine at all, so that method doesn't apply.
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  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The basic starter is 3-2-1 for Pork Spares, and 2-2-1 for BabyBacks.

    Then people adjust to their likes.

    As for Beef, It depends on my mood, and how much meat is on the bones.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
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  4. For argument's sake, let's say pork ribs.
  5. As a very general rule the 3-2-1 method is for Spare ribs. Doing this method in my own experience will make your ribs fall off the bone tender, same for the 2-2-1 method which is for Baby Back ribs. i dont like my ribs falling apart so i do not foil at all approx 5 hours straight smoke after 4 hours i start probing for internal temp and tenderness.
  6. Depends on temp.... a lot of folks to 3-2-1 when cooking at 225 degrees. I like to cook around 250 - 270. I always put 2.5  hours smoke on ribs. I do foil mine becasue I like to lay the meaty side down in brown sugar, butter and honey. they are usually ready to come out of the foil in about an hour and I let em finish for about 30 to 45 minutes.... Tender and juicy every time. I don't like fall off the bone tender, I prefer a clean bite. I wait 10 to 15 minutes on the cuttting board before a slice the ribs.
  7. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    the simple way ...dry rub ,temp 225 , time 3 1/2 to 4 hours , .rest 1-2 hours ...eat !!!
  8. damon555

    damon555 Smoking Fanatic

    Don't be confused....It's quite simple. Rub the ribs, put them on the smoker for 4-6 hours, take them off the smoker, enjoy. 
  9. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Steve, All of the above posts are good. The 3-2-1 spares and 2-2-1 baby backs are only for foiling for the middle number. I, personally, don't foil as I find that they get mushy (FOTB). I get loin back ribs from Costco. They are basically baby backs with a portion of the loin left on and are very meaty. They are Swifts and are packed 3 racks to a cryovac. I have found them here for the last couple of years to have the membrane already off. Some folks in your area say that the membranes in the ones up there are still on. I cook mine nekkid at about 275* and they are usually bending good in about 3 hours. Then I will sauce for about 20 or 30 minutes. I will let them rest for about 30 minutes before I cut them. Cut face down on the cutting board. Good luck, Joe.
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  10. muralboy

    muralboy Smoking Fanatic

    I agree with Joe.  I tried the 3-1-1 and found the ribs too soft.  Next time 5 hours on smoker with no foil - perfection.  Actually had to put in warmer for 1-1/2 due to time so finished on grill to lightly sauce.  Tender and good bite off the grill.  
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    In my opinion, the 3-2-1 is a good starting point for beginners who want to foil.

    From there?  If you want to foil, you can tinker with 3-2-1  to find what is perfect for yourself and the people you plan on serving.

    There are many different tastes for ribs.  Cooking for and pleasing a crowd can be as difficult or impossible as for a good restaurant cook wishing to please every customer.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Still confused, or More So???[​IMG]  These guys are all right! It is a matter of taste. You want fall off the bone tender, go by the numbers and Foil. Like more Bite Through Ribs? No foil and smoke until your therm probe slides in with no resistance, any where from 4-6 hours depending on smoker temp and cut of Ribs. Here is some easy info on Foiled Ribs by the numbers...JJ

    Smoked Ribs as easy as 3-2-1

    A full rack of Spare Ribs will take about 6 hours at 225*F...The 3-2-1 smoked rib recipe is a good way to smoke ribs and tends to turn out perfect ribs every time whether you are using the meatier Full rack spare rib or the Saint Louis cut. Baby Back ribs use a 2-2-1 method. The ribs are smoked at 225 - 250 degrees for best results...
    The 3 stands for the 3 hours that you initially smoke the ribs with nothing but your favorite rub on them and some smoke with your favorite hardwood such as hickory, apple, pecan, etc. After the 3 hours you remove the ribs and quickly double wrap them in heavy duty foil.. just before you seal them up add some Foiling Juice or Apple Juice and close the foil leaving some room around the ribs for the steam to be able to flow around the meat and the juice to braise the meat which Flavors/Tenderizes it.

    The ribs cook in the smoker wrapped for 2 hours undisturbed. There is no need for Smoke at this point... After 2 hours remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap, saving any juices in the foil, and place back into the smoker for the final 1 hour, with smoke if you wish.This firms them up, creates a nice Bark and finishes the cooking process. You can add a glaze or sauce at this point if you like. The meat will be pretty close to fall off the bone and be extremely juicy, tender and flavorful...JJ

    Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    Foiling Juice

    For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

    1T Pork Rub, yours

    1/2 Stick Butter

    1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

    1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

    1T Molasses

    Optional: 2T Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Glaze.

    Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

    run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

    the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

    in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
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  13. What temp should I be looking for?
  14. I go by feel, but 160 -170 is a good bet.
  15. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    180°f will give you meat that is tender yet still has a "good bite". 190°f will be pulling away from the bone, 200°f will pretty much fall apart.
    This was smoked to 180°f and rested for an hour.

    People always seem to think you cannot cook ribs to a specific internal temperature. This is simply untrue. With a probe thermometer you just temp them in the middle of the rack between the bones. Take several readings to make sure you're not in a fat pocket or hitting bone. I'm not sure why we have no problem temping steaks and chicken, but it's taboo to temp ribs. I'm happy to give up all the voodoo and guesswork in favor of getting the exact result I want every time. If cooking to temp is somehow cheating, or makes me less of a BBQ cook, that's fine. In my eyes it's just using the tools in my arsenal to get consistent results.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
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  16. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Im going to probe my ribs next time just for the heck of it.  I have two probes and will put them in different parts.  Costco ribs comes with a quite a bit of meat around the bones, so it may be worth a shot. 
  17. Also if your asking for what the smoker temp is generally from 225 to 250
  18. I used 3-2-1 for St. Louis cut spare ribs and found that the ribs were essentially done after the 2 hours in foil. I left them in for another 15 minutes after mopping them with BBQ sauce because that's what some of the eaters expected, not because they needed it. But I will mention that you should not believe that a St. Louis cut purchased from the store is really a St. Louis cut. Some butchers don't cut enough, and most don't trim enough fat off, and none of them take the membrane off the inside. I googled and watched a youtube of the St. Louis cut and made much better ribs. If you do it right, they don't have to be FOTB to get the fat fully rendered.
  19. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes, ribs can be probed for temp, but why bother? The bend method and toothpick method are just too easy. Just my $0.02.

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