3-2-1 ?

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Dec 4, 2006
Hi folks!

This is my first post and I'm sorry for asking about what the 3-2-1 is all about . I'm sure the question's been asked a hundred times, but I can't find the 3-2-1 in detail even when I try the "Search" section.

I've just recently bought a Charbroil "Silver Smoker" and I've been doing a little experimenting with it. Unfortunately I've thrown away the little silver tab that covers the quarter size hole in the large lid. I drilled a hole in the lid just above the handle and installed the heat gage from an old bbq, but now I realize that I should have installed it closer to the grill rack. Am I loosing a lot of heat with the quarter sized hole in the lid?

Anyway, forgive me for asking so many questions when all I really wanted was the 3-2-1 recipe. I'm a little excited about doing my first legit smoke and I would really appreciate any helpful tips!
Welcome to the group, you will find LOTS of great information and support here.

The 3-2-1 smoked rib recipe is a good way to smoke ribs and tends to turn out perfect ribs every time whether you are using the meatier spares or the baby backs. The ribs are smoked at 225 - 250 degrees for best results.
The 3 stands for the 3 hours that you initially smoke the ribs with nothing but your favorite rub on them and your favorite hardwood such as hickory, mesquite, apple, pecan, etc. After the 3 hours you remove the ribs and quickly double wrap them in heavy duty foil.. just before you seal them off splash on some apple juice for good measure and close the foil leaving some room around the ribs for the steam to be able to flow around the meat and do it's magic.
The ribs cook in the smoker wrapped for 2 hours undisturbed. After 2 hours remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap and place back into the smoker for the final 1 hour. You can add a glaze or sauce at this point if you wish. The meat will literally fall off the bone and be extremely juicy, tender and flavorful.

Good luck
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Thanks, Dionysus!

I've got one rack of pork and one beef rack on right now! I love to q and I have to say this forum is amazing!

Thanks again for the help and I can't wait to tell you how they turned out!!!
I tried the 3-2-1 for the first time last night on some baby backs. Best ribs I've ever eaten, bar none! The only bad thing about them is the fact that they'll make you realize that every rib you've ever cooked up to that point paled in comparison!
Thanks, Payson!

I'm almost at the end of the 2 of 3-2-1 and I have to tell you that that the pork and beef smell awesome and also the chicken breast look almost divine!

I can't wait to blow my wife and kids away with my first attempt!

You guys rock!
Good Luck John, by now they should just about be done. Welcome to the forum by the way. Any questions, just ask these people are great!
Oh yea, they're done!

My belly is full and very happy as well as everyone else's. I actually didn't do the "1" part. I just let them sit in the foil. I'll do the "1"part next time, but I have to say that everything turned out great! Even the chicken was moist and tender. I started the chicken 2 hrs after the pork and beef.

Now it's time to "fine tune" the smoker/chef and spend lot's of quality time on the smoker! I mean... it's only for the family's benefit... right? LOL!

Thanks again for such an awesome site and I can't wait to read and learn more as well as give my delectable reports!

Smoke on, brothers and sisters!
One thing to keep in mind ... the 3-2-1 is a guideline at best, a good one, but never the less a guideline. Especially if you are doing baby backs. Backs are typically a little less meaty than the spares, so tend to be "done" a little sooner. Personally, I usually cut the 3-2-1 down to about 2.5-1.5-1 when I do backs.

Sounds like you made out OK though .... good job
When you make these ribs do you take off th membrane on the under side of the rack? I have heard some so they do and some dont, any insite?
I have used the 3-2-1 method on St. Louis Style ribs many times in the past keeping the temp at 225 degrees. I have not been real pleased with the method. The rib meat gets too done and and falls off the bone. I like ribs that are still attached to the bone a small bit. Rib meat should be tender but also a little firm. This method cooks the meat too long and turns the meat too soft. If I want soft pork I will make pulled pork. I know all of you will disagree and tell me I am cooking the ribs wrong and you may be right. However, I am a KCBS certified BBQ judge with a lot of competition experience. This method would not hold up against the big boys!
First of all I am not a big boy. I have never competed before, however I have judged many and spoken with many top cooks. I am just relaying my experience using this method 4-5 times. I just believe this method gets the meat too soft and it completely falls off the bone. I do not like that type of rib. I like a little firmness and I like to bite the meat off the bone. Most, if not all of the ribs I have judged in the past require you to bite the meat off the bone. I do not foil my ribs and I take them out of the smoker when I bend the rack and bones start to feel loose inside the meat. I am not a pro. I have not perfected ribs yet. I just know this method produces ribs that I don't care for. Probably just a matter of preference.
I agree with q3131a, you won't win any contests, but still pretty good ribs. Cook to please the crowd you're with.

You may need to modify the method to get the "loose" bone, but still have the meat with some bite left to it... or just keep perfectin' the low and slow method.

Either way when it's right... it's right, despite the means or method.

That's just me

Keep Smokin
3-2-1 is a guidline and assists those with not alot of experience make good ribs. True, you will not see this method on the Circuit because a Pitmaster knows how to "Q them. Our Forum mainly consists of those who love to Barbeque and cook for friends and family. There is another Forum out there (whom I won't mention) that is filled with competitors ("Big Boys") and alot of Egos! This is one reason our Forum has grown expedientially since it's conception.

I am trying the 3-2-1 today...........Here is what they looked like before going on.



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