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It's a method some promote to cook ribs. 3 hours in smoker no foil, two hours in foil, and one hour in w/ no foil to firm the ribs back up and finish.

So, the 3 hours, two hours, and 1 hour is shortened to 3-2-1.
3-2-1 is a great method for smoking ribs. The 3 stands for the first 3 hours smoke/cook time, the 2 for 2 hours wrapped in foil, then the last hour with the foil removed. This is a basic guide and times may vary accordingly.
When smoking ribs there is a common recipe for success.

3 = smoke 3 hours (the meat will pull from the bones)
2 = wrap and spray for 2 hours
1 = remove wrap and smoke 1 hour to firm up ribs.

Sometimes the 3 is less because the meat is already pulling up from the ends of the bones so it gets shortened to 2 hours.

Here's a litle longer explaination:

The 3 2 1 method is impossible to beat... Thats the end of the discussion. Sorry, but the first ribs i did were 3 2 1 and i cant imagine them being any better than they were.
Excellent for ribs. Was curious if anyone has tried a variation of this for brisket. I smoke good brisket but never quite tender as I would like. Can I get it fork tender wrapping it in foil during the second stage with some moisture, like apple juice or beer.
No stages on brisket, takes as long as it takes to come to temp
Take your brisket to 150-160, wrap in foil and finish to 190-200, guarantee it will be tender and juicy, and dont add any liquid to the foil, you may drown the poor thing with all the juice you'll end up with
When you think about it the 3-2-1 method is pretty standard for most meats, except for the 1 part, just maybe not quite so formal. Butts and briskets are in the smoker until they reach approx 155-165 degrees no matter how long it takes (the "3" stage). They are then usually wrapped in foil (the "2" stage) until they get to their finished temps. I generally forgo the "1" stage and leave them alone for an hour or so to rest before slicing/pulling. Backs and spares are somewhat more predictable, thus the actual times for each stage, but these are guidelins as well. It's still best to use the internal temp as your true guide. Just my 2 cents ....
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