3-2-1 Method

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Original poster
Aug 2, 2007
I am new to smoke method but I tried the 3-2-1 method last week with some ribs. Although pretty good they were not falling off the bone. I follwed the directions and had them on for the 6 hrs at 235-250 degrees. I also probed with an instant meat thermometer and they read 165. I tented them and let them rest for 15-20 mintues.
Did you add alittle liquid like apple juice when you foiled them? That will help make them "fall off the bone" ribs. I have been doing a 3-1.5-and sometime 1. But looking at the ribs, I just take them off and eat em after I take them out of the foil.
That is odd in that my smoker works around 200 to 225 and they are falling off the bone for me. Did you double foil? If so, maybe try alittle more time in the foil. Remember some think "fall off the bone" is over done and mushy. (not me
First off welcome to SMF! Lots of great people and awesome Q here.

The 3-2-1 method times are guidelines. There are many variables such as the size of the ribs, how often you opened the door, etc etc. that effect the time. If the ribs were 165 then they were done and if they tasted good you were successful, whether or not they fell off the bone.
I use the 3-2-1 on spare ribs and it works great for me. My wife prefers Country Style Ribs that are already cut over spares. Has anyone tried them yet. Do you think the same 3-2-1 would work.

Mike S.
Everyone's got their own interpretation of how to do ribs... as Ron50 said, the 3-2-1 method is more of a guideline than an absolute.

I watch carefully for the pullback of the meat from the ends of the bone during step "3". If I'm getting 1/4" to 3/8" pullback in less than 3 hours, then I'll go to step "2".

During step "2", I'll leave them in the foil, normally (depending on size) for the full two hours, making sure there is plenty of juice in the foil with them.

Step "1" is an eyeball/gut thing. You want them to firm up a bit during this period. I baste them with a sauce of some kind during this phase, and usually pull them when they "feel right"... this could be less than an hour. Some like to check the internal temp and get it to around 170-175... I usually don't bother, because they really get done in the foil.

Smoker temp during the whole episode is 225-235... Smoke Gods willing...
Quick welcome to SMF

You've come to the right place for excellent advice. I've only got a few smokes to base these comments on, so advice from me, not for a while. What you will get from me is assurance that these fine folks on this forum will be there for ya before, during, and after your next attempt. Keep smokin!!!
Welcome altyson

I for one don't like them "falling of the bone." I prefer to bite them and pull the meat off with a bit of tug but cleanly. I know I am not the only one.
I did spray some apple juice on them when I foiled but I used only 1 layer of foil and not the heavy duty type. I think I might have been peeking a little too much. I will be trying again this weekend.
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