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3-2-1 Methodology for St Louis ribs?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I tried this over the weekend. I put the ribs on the smoker at 1pm, and left for a 1:30pm soccer game. I had the heat a little high on purpose (lump coal) knowing that it would cool before I returned. I got my wife to check as I got to my game and she said the temp had settled about 250F, great. I thought it would be no less than 190 when I got home.

Well, it was. Actually lower than 180F. I quickly got everything back up to temp and cookedr another 20 minutes before wrapping in foil. I really had the ribs out for just over 2hrs in mediocre heat. Then I cooked foiled for about 1:45-2hrs on higher heat to make up for the temp difference. I basted in beer when I wrapped.

I finished on the grill for 15minutes or so and actually lost some bones wihle saucing they were so tender. I don't know what would've happened if the ribs had stayed on for 3hrs initially or if I left them on the grill for an hour? I plan to do some more ribs this weekend, so I wanted to hear some feedback from people religiously using this method and see their results or different temps and variables and what the outcome was?

I thought the ribs were too tender, but I got nothing but applause from the people eating them. I dunno...they were great, I just like them not FALLING off the bone, but some obviously do.

post #2 of 18
Sounds as if they turned out perfect. Melt in your mouth ribs, my favorite.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
but not according to that proposed cook time...funny.
post #4 of 18
It is the "2" part of the time that makes them fall off the bone...........3-2-1 is a guideline for a 225 cooking temp. If you up the heat, shorten the time.......and if you like more "tug" to them, shorten the 2 part by 30 minutes or so as a starting point even if you got the temps nailed.

It was the 2 hours in higher heat in foil that got them to fall apart.
post #5 of 18
Pinkmeat, my .02 is if you don't want fall of the bone cut the foil time down and if you can keep a more constent temp. I know hard when your not there I have that same fight when I have other thinks that I have to do. Good luck on your next smoke.
post #6 of 18
When doing ribs I try to maintain 225* and remember the 3-2-1 is a general guideline we usually adjust to our personal tastes.
post #7 of 18
Pineywoods is right on target.

I said this in another post earlier. The 3-2-1 method is like the "Pirate Code" - they be more like guidelines than actual rules.

I follow the basic method but don't be afraid to experiment with shorter or longer times until you find what works best for your tastes, equipment and style of smoking.
post #8 of 18
What he said.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'll try that...kind of funny though. When I started that smoke I was thinking the method was 2-2-1 instead of 3-2-1. I think it would have worked out the same had the temp been consistent.

I know it's hard to pinpoint as well since I do not really know how fast the temperature dropped in the smoker. I am shooting for that magic 225 regularly, but in this scenario I started higher knowing that it would fall in my absence, so there you go.

I knew they were probably too "done" when I picked them off the smoker and they bent over the sides of my hands. They were cut into 1/2 racks since I have the ECB vertical.
post #10 of 18
Well, it sounds like the results were more than edible and you learned something for the next time. biggrin.gif
post #11 of 18
I love the "fall completely off the bone" results, but have had to learn how to handle them after going thru the tenderizing foil phase. Now I just dump them off the foil onto the grate for the final hour instead of using ANY method to try to pick em up out of the foil. Have had several racks fall apart on me during the transfer.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
I wasn't unimpressed with the rib taste at all. Actually several people said they were the best they'd ever had, and they have had ribs before, so that was cool wink.gif.

I envisioned them being tender, but also able to be handled a couple ribs at a time. I did cut them into individual pieces so people wouldn't waste my ribs. I would hate for a fight to breakout on my deck, inlaws or not...

Going back to what you said, how can you begin to get a good temp reading on a rack of ribs on the grill? At best they'd be like an 1.5" think in a fattier section? I don't have a clue what my temp was, but they had a smoke ring and they were white next to the bone....I may try the temp thing as well though Sat. I'll be sure to capture my process this weekend and post.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yep. I just want to be able to duplicate if I so choose.
post #14 of 18
I always thought the 3rd step, (1) was back in the smoker for the last hour...you said you put them on the 'grill'...you mean you grilled them for that last 15 mins?

Anyway, good thread Pinkmeat....this says alot and I was just thinking of doing the 3-2-1 method for my first attempt at ribs....all I got to say is if they fall off the bone for me and everyone is freaking how good they are...that's SUCCESS!!!
post #15 of 18

Trying to monitor internal temps of ribs is pretty much impossible. Temps in the smoker will vary if you do not keep close watch, but what you did was the norm. Alittle higher to make up the time, but watching the pull back off the rib on the bone is more telling. If you did put them on the grill, that would be quite different than the smoker. I tend to do a 3.5-1.5-1 or a 3-2.5-.5 depending on how "fall off the bone" I want. No matter how they come out, it is far better than the par boiled stuff my wife use to do.
post #16 of 18
They were spare ribs right? Babybacks take less time. And usually the last hour on the smoker will let the meat reattach to the bone alittle, so it's not falling off the bone, but will easily come off with a little bite.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yea, you're right....I have inadvertantly made the 3-2-1 method my own.
Apparently, I didn't even need that last hour uncovered, but I did put the ribs on the grill to sauce for about 15minutes. I don't know where I got what I was thinking....
post #18 of 18
and you just poured beer right over them when foiling them?? did you lose any of the rub?? and how much liquid is suppose to sit in the bottom of the foil with them???

BTW, I'm doing my first ones this SUN and am trying the 3-2-1 method for starters...
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