3-2-1 Question on Temp

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Jul 12, 2006
Hi everyone,

I'm currently working on a couple racks of ribs. Currently about 2 hours into the 3-2-1 method and everything appears to be going great. But I can't find much discussion on what temp the ribs need to hit so that they fall apart. So I need some quick help being that this is the first time I've done ribs, but I know I'm at the right place to find out.

So what temp do the ribs need to get to for best results?

Thanks for the help in advance! Happy smoking
After reading over bunches of Jeff's stuff. Seems to me that he is a firm believer of 172 degrees for ribs. I have yet to smoke any, but I guess I would suggest 172...
I never check ribs for temp. I cook them unwrapped until the meat starts to pull away from the bone or they reach the darkness in color I like. Then foil them for a couple of hours. Remove foil and cook until you can grab a bone and twist it easily.
Thanks guys,

I saw the ~170F number before but that seemed a little low for pork to fall off the bone kinda tender that I'm looking for. But it's going great still, I just finished the first leg of the 3-2-1 method. So three hours down was at 1:15pm, I took pictures they are looking awesome. I foiled with apple juice, and they are reading about 150F right now.

I'll use your bone twist checking method but I'm pretty much a temperature man, I like to know exactly, but anyway it's looking good. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Thanks again for the advice.

Anymore advice or opinions are always welcome.
Fat deposits, close proximity of bone lack of significant muscle mass make accurate temp measurements of ribs practically impossibe.

With ribs its far better to go by look (meat pulling back) and feel (flexibility of the rack, looseness of bones) than an inaccurate temp.
A couple coctails too many, but I love your avitar! Anyway, Mistica-something or other has it dead on. Look for the meat pulling from the bone and foil. 321 is too much for baby backs, but ribs are ribs... Also, I will sauce and finish over a hot grill to get that perfect result.

Nevermind, listen to what Scott said. He is probably sober.
You can't always count on sobriety around here.:-)

I just finished eating some ribs that I cooked for 3 hours at about 225-250, foiled and poured in 4 ounces apple juice and cooked for 1.5 hours and then put back in naked for about 30 min and they were probably as good as any rib I've ever ate.
Thanks for all the advise, yesterday was a total success. I did use thermometers but really I was just going by feel and look.

Thanks again guys. I am attaching a picture of most of the 3-2-1 stages. I was using spare ribs and they were smoking good!
Oh sure, I was rotating the ribs between the 3-2-1 intervals so they cooked at pretty much the same pace which was working well until the last hour of smoking. One rack just reached 170F while the other made it to 178F.

Both racks were really still tender and juicy.
Riz, Those are some great looking ribs. I did a brisket this weekend, and you made me want ribs. Like the others, I have never thought about temps with ribs. I just wait for the meat to pull, I do go with 1.5 - 2.0 hours in foil. and the finishing stage is until I like the way they look, checking every 30 mins or so with the heat down loww so the sauce does not burn.
It's always great to get approval for you Gary. Yeah, I guess I was just nervous going into my first rib smoke. But now that I've done it, I understand what everyone was talking about being able to tell just from looking at em.

I sauced em up for the last hour, which got a little burnt but they were so delicious man. I just can't even describe. My buddy ordered some ribs at friday's the other day and I tried a piece. I thought those were good but they just taste like barbeque sauce. These ribs killed those restaurant ribs.
Congratulations on the great ribs, riz.

It is very true that you can make better food in your backyard than you can get in most restaraunts. :D That's a good thing :!:
riz9, When saucing ribs, I'll wait until the last 20-30 minutes of cook time before saucing them. Once the sauce is on, you gotta watch 'em like a hawk so the sauce doesn't burn.
you're absolutely right Dutch, that's the main change I'm going to make the next time I do ribs. I'll probably use a little less salt in the rub, and cut the last hour of the 3-2-1 method to just 1/2 hour, and sauce right out of the foil.
Sounds like you had some fine ribs there. I'm like you. I can remember eating some of what I thought pretty good ribs at a local resturant. But when I made them like this, I really did have good ribs. There's just no comparison. Keep up the good work.
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