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3-2-1 not falling off the bone?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm doing the 3-2-1 and it doesn't fall off the bone. Once at 225 and once at 250. Should I be doing it more like 4-3-1?
post #2 of 25
If they aren't getting tender enough for your liking then try leaving them in the foil longer, maybe a 3-2.5-.5
Give that a shot and see how close you get to what you're looking for.
post #3 of 25
when u foil them do u add apple juice or anything to the ribs? i think that is one of the key parts...
post #4 of 25
Give them 3 hrs in the foil. They will fall off the bone. But then you may have issues saucing for the last hour.

What you can do, smoke for the 3 hrs, then sauce & foil the ribs for 3 hrs. then eat after resting for 1/2 hr or so.
post #5 of 25
Good point! Are you adding liquid? I like beer personally.
post #6 of 25
I put some apple juice in with it. I also don't pull based on time, I wait until it splits when I pickup half of it with thongs.
post #7 of 25
What type of ribs are we talking about & what method of prep are you using, e.g. rubbing & letting them sit overnight or straight to the smoker???
post #8 of 25
the first time i did the 3-2-1 i dont think i added enuff apple/sailor jerry liquid to the ribs when i foiled them.. the next time i tried it, i added about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the liquid to the ribs when i foiled them and they ended up turning out perfect...
post #9 of 25
I think I found your problem.
If you are still wearing those thongs while picking up the ribs, the meat has a tendency to stiffen up!
post #10 of 25
I found that cranking up the heat to about 275 for half an hour while in the foil really helps them fall off the bone. you dont need much apple juice to get the desired effect, simply spritzing them as you are foiling is enough. only reason I found this out was because my wife and her friends prefer them that way. I prefer them without foiling at all....so I have to make them both ways...
post #11 of 25
That is too funny. ROFLMAO

Are you using a thermometer, and have you it's calibration?
post #12 of 25
I don't think the point of 3-2-1 is to have them completely "fall off the bone". It's to get a good combination of tenderness, smoke, and a little bark.

If tenderness is the #1 priority for you I guess you could try just 3-3
post #13 of 25
So true biggrin.gif
post #14 of 25
Probably wearing the wrong thong.
post #15 of 25
Now that's just not rightbiggrin.gif
post #16 of 25
Honestly the first couple of times i tried 3-2-1 on spares, they were fall off the bone, and i dont like that. I had to cut back to 3-1.5-1 to get it where i like them. Clean off the bone, but where you can still see teethmarks when you take a bite..

But if its not working for you, just add a little foil time.
post #17 of 25

Falling off the bone

If the meat is falling off the bone, you ribs are overdone. The fallacy of falling off the bone was stroke of marketing genius due to some cooker who overcooked his ribs. A perfect rib is when you bite into it and it comes off the bone with a slight tug and the meat is tender. In COMP judging, a fall off the bone rib would only receive a 3-4 for texture.
post #18 of 25
I believe the perfect rib would solely depend on the person eating it, so its really preference.

i think for comp, its too easy to make fall off the bone, as then every texture is about the same... so to make it really tender, with some pull, its a bit harder to hit that mark, so it makes it more of a competition
post #19 of 25
I don't care who you are.... dat's funny cheet mang!!!!!

POWERSMOKIN, I think if you need to have 'fall off the bone' then I AGREE you need to lengthen your FOIL TIME but then DO NOT even do the last unfoiled hour... Just EAT them right out of the foil!!! I have done this when pressed for time and most my guests have LOVED them!!!

Altho I have to agree with
grampyskids, I know it's a matter of taste and to each his own, but I don't like them 'FOTB' anymore. I did that a couple times and now I would rather have the 'bite and lil-tug' Ribs.
post #20 of 25
For spares, I don't go by time at all...the 3-2-1 is just a guideline...I gauge the smoke stage by pull-back and/or the slab bend test. At the 3-hr mark, you should give them a peek, and if you see good pull-back, then do the bend test.

When I see at least 1/4" of pull-back (bone-ends sticking out), then it's probably time for the foiling. When in doubt, lift the slab from the middle...it should resist natural bending, and only sag a little on the ends. This is caused by the muscle fiber shrinkage and tightening during the cooking...more bend (flexibility) = less cooked.

I have one other trick up my sleeve for foiling...I use a baking pan and put a foil tent over it...this way I can pull the pan out of the smoker and peek inside for additional pull-back after steaming a couple hours. The pan also gives me a leak-free steaming...no worries about bones poking through the foil.

If you're looking for fall off the bone, wait until you see at least 1/2" or more total of pull-back after the steam, then if you want to firm up the bark again, carefully lift the slab out of the pan, supporting it's length well, and place back onto the open smoker grate for 30-60 minutes, depending on how much bark you like. I always lay the ribs with the bone ends down, meat-side up.

Once you fully understand what each process of the 3-2-1 does for your ribs, you can play with the variables and get exactly what you want every time...or you can change it now and then if you get bored with the texture. The visual checks of the rib meat shrinkage/pull-back are your best gauge to judge how much they have been cooked, as time will vary greatly with different smokers...hot/cold spots on the grate, chamber temp fluctuations, high elevation, smoke chamber humidity, among many other factors, all can effect the overall cooking time.

Since I've done so many spares in the past 12-18 months using the ~3-2-1 method (I never foiled 'til I came to SMF), I can get bone-popping ribs, or tender, needing a twist to break the bone free, or I can leave 'em so they have teeth marks when you take a bite.

My version of the 3-2-1 for 5.25-5.5lb (pre-trimmed) slabs of spares is generally closer to 4-2.5-0.5 @ 225*, for a twist-able bone, and a bit less smoke with more foil time for bone-popping ribs.

Hope that gives you a better feel for what to look for.

Happy smokes!

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