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3-2-1 rib method

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
hi everone, i am going to try this method this weekend. being a chef for 12 years but fairly new to smoking. i am trying to figure out really what the last hour exposed on the smoker will really do? do you guys use this method alot? i have read alot of good info on it.

post #2 of 20
We use it all the time but some people vary the times like instead of 3-2-1 they do 3-2.5-1 etc. The last hour you put the ribs back on the smoker and what you are doing is firming them up a bit. The foil makes them nice and tender and then you firm them up so they don't fall apart. Some like their ribs fall off the bone and some don't. If you like them more fall off the bone you don't need to put them on the smoker again for the full hour. Experiment with your times and see what you like best.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks!!!!! very much buddy
post #4 of 20
Ditto to what rbranstner said. In addition, that last hour is when i brush on some sauce to get that sweet, crusty thing going on the outside. Not necessary, but finger lickin good.
post #5 of 20
I generally use 3-1-1. Get a nice bite through. Nice and tender but not fall off the bone. Judges don't like that. The last hour I use to put a finishing glaze on to give them a nice shine and sweet taste.icon_smile.gif
post #6 of 20
What they all said. When you foil the ribs don't put much (if any) liquid in, usually just a good couple of sprays from a spray bottle is sufficient. The ribs will make a lot of juices on their own, so if you add a lot of liquid they end up drowning. And like DenverDave said, the amount of time in the foil is what dictates how fall off of the bone they are, I usually go about 1.5 hrs. in the foil.
post #7 of 20
I'll agree with this...I do not like "fall of the bone" and a nice sweet glaze (Honey and red sauce mix) for the last hour does the trick for me.
post #8 of 20
What about 2-1-1? Is two hours enough time to smoke some spares? (The question is in general not directed to anyone in particular.)
post #9 of 20
I find that 2 hrs on the smoke is plenty. It's typically what I do. After that I foil for 2-3 hrs depending on whether it's still on the smoker or oven, or gasser, depending on weather.

2hrs is my preference, because it still has some bite to it. closer to 3 hrs, it falls off the bone, and that's how the wife & kids like it.
post #10 of 20
I may raise some eyebrows here, but I do not foil ribs.

Foiling steams the meat, which makes it mushy, even when you take them out and put back on the smoker. To me, foiling is one step removed from boiling. Hey, that rhymes!

Try smoking them till they are done to your liking...that's all you need to do.
post #11 of 20


Hey Mooseman,

When you do you'r ribs with no foil, about how long does it usually take them to get done? I know it's different every time, but a ballpark figure. I may do a rib cookoff against myself and see which ones I like better.
post #12 of 20
Thats what I am talking about, no foiling or oven for finishing or in between.

post #13 of 20
The last few years I've been doing ribs hot and fast - temps around 325 which cuts down the cook time by almost 50%.

If you're talking about going low and slow, say around 225 degrees, BB's take about 4 hours with spares about 5-6 depending on whether you do them whole or St. Louis cut. I pull my ribs when the meat is really pulling away from the bone and when I pick up a rack with a pair of tongs and they bend really well. I like my ribs cooked just before they have the "fall off the bone" texture. If the rack breaks using the bend test, they are most likely overcooked. I do the first bend test when BB's have been on for 3.5 hours and spares at 4.5 hours. Hope that helps! And let us know your taste test results of foiled vs no foil.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
awsome thanks guys!1!!!
post #15 of 20
Amen, brother!
post #16 of 20
I tend to leave my ribs in foil after a 3h/ (3 1/2h) smoke btw .45min and 1 1/2 hour and the last 1h to 2h off foil with finishing sauce. The issue is that its "out side temperature dependent", "grill dependent", "rib cut" and "personal preface" dependent. The idea is to become consistent with your smoker, rub, sauce , your rib preference.

Foil (steaming) cuts down on grill time and produces tender ribs, however it should only be used in short amounts of time. If your over foiling you will offset the trinity of rib balance consisting of ...Outside texture, Inside moistness and Rib flavor.

post #17 of 20
Foiling is a tool, and like all tools, when used correctly, works just fine.

post #18 of 20
Foiling is more a hybrid braising technique, boiling is for pasta or eggs or anything else you want to immerse in water. I've done ribs both ways and prefer unfoiled, but the people I cook for really like the foiled ribs and I like that I use less fuel and I don't have to get up so early to start the fire.
Maybe they call it "the Texas Crutch" for old guys like me.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks guys,,,we are talking baby backs here right
post #20 of 20
Does anyone put them on a grill with sauce after the foil, instead of back in the smoker? I'd think with a little higher heat (but not too high) they'd firm up better and glaze the sauce more. I've been thinking of trying this...
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