Attempt at Ribs with 3-2-1 method varried results (not good - not horrible)

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokinjax, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. So I have an offset reverse flow wood smoker made from a 100 Gallon tank. I am new to smoking and have spent most of the last few months tweaking and learning the smoker. I've got almost all the leaks sealed (last one is bottom and sides of smoker lid. I first tried nomex but the gaps were to big in places... so I went to rutland hi temp oven sealer and it worked great. (thanks to the forum for all the hints!!!).

    So back to the ribs.

    Fuel: Oak wood in firebox. Got it warmed up to temp and added some mesquite to it during the first 2 hours of smoking.  (finally didn't - over-smoke... )..

    Temperature held pretty tight at around 230 - 240. I did have an instance where it jumped on me to 270 or so and another where it dropped to 195. These weren't for long as I was pretty quick to correct. We were camped out next to the smoker and its pretty easy to tell when the temp goes up.. sizzle gets going.

    Rib Preparation: I prepped the ribs by:
    • Removing the  membrane
    • Cutting any excess fat
    • applying a pork dry rub (not impressed with this store bought one.. may try a recipe next time).
    Cooking method:
    • As mentioned I used 3-2-1 method
    • Put in tin, sprayed down with some apple cider, and covered with foil during middle 2 hours.
    • Then placed back on rack to finish off.

    Well it seems like some parts were super, fall of the bone, tender and wonderful. Others were rather tough and not so tender. Even on the same rack of ribs, it varied.

    It is a reverse flow, while I haven't placed multiple thermometers in the grill (which i'm guessing is a probable response) I would assume with the reverse flow the heat should be very even.

    OK - hit me - cause I really want to master ribs. I figure if I can get them mastered the rest should be easy!!!

    Picture included - i'm the big guy (Steve) - little guy is my USCG buddy.. I know its not a great picture of the smoker.. but its all I have right now.. it was while we were pre-heating.

    Oh and really love this site.. thanks to all that continue to post (wish I could more often). I have literally found all my information hear. Even had a co-worker point me to the site when we talked of smoking.

  2. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pic is great!  Love to see yall having fun!

    The last ribs I did were in a 3 pac. did the 3-2-1 method on rack was great the others were tougher.  Still good...but not the way I like my ribs.  Thinking that's just the cut of meat.  (and that is my story...sticking to

  3. Ok so you'll notice I didn't say "baby back" cause they weren't. I'm a little hesitant to go for the good stuff until I can tackle the cheaper spare ribs (or what's left of that wild boar in my freezer :) ..

    So it very well could have been the cut of meat. I was think next time I might follow closer the guidelines I read for actually dressing out the spare ribs to remove the top portion...
  4. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Mine were some St Louis Ribs from Costco...same as I always do.  So who Knows!  [​IMG]

  5. You do need to check your grate temp in several places. You could have a hot or a cold spot. I would blame the hog if you have constant temp. You did say you had a drop to 195° that did not happen in 5 min. It took longer than that. Which adds to the cook time.

    Happy smoken

  6. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Don't blame it on the meat.....that's why we slow smoke. IMHO I'll take the st louis style spares most times anyway. Meatier and cheaper and just as good as bb's. Don't get trapped into the thinking that more expensive is the "good stuff". Damn, if we can cook that shoe leather chest muscle called brisket into delicious, tender beef then we can handle ribs. Only suggestion I can make is are you confident your temp gauge is good? Lots of those dial gauges can be way off and tough ribs sounds like undercooked. Best of luck to you.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  7. So any recommendations on Temp gauges?
  8. Maverick! Or their are other cheaper models. But it is hard to control heat. If you don't know what it is

  9. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Verify the one you have with boiling water and ice water test. About 212 and 32 degrees respectively. Or get a maverick et 732. It will be a must have for comps anyway.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I would hardly call Baby Backs the good stuff. Spare ribs are meatier and I think more flavorful. Make your own Rub. The commercial crap is all salt and you may find more liquid in the foil will give a more tender result. Here is a couple recipes you may like to try...JJ

    Try this... It is Mild and compliments different style sauces well...If you want spicier increase Blk Pepper to 1T and add 1T Wht Pepper and 1T Mustard powder. The Foiling Juice, at the bottom, makes a Rib Glaze at the end. You can add 1/4C Ketchup, 2T Cider Vinegar and 2T Mustard to make a more traditional KC Style BBQ Sauce....Anything else, just ask...JJ

    Mild Bubba Q Rub

    1/2C Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado)

    2T Sweet Paprika (Hungarian)

    1T Kosher Salt

    1T Chili Powder (contains some Cumin and Oregano) Ancho Chile is same without cumin, oregano etc.

    1T Granulated Garlic

    1T Granulated Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper, more if you like

    1tsp Thyme

    1tsp Oregano

    1/2tsp Grnd Allspice

    Cayenne or Chipotle Pwd to taste, start with 1/2tsp and go from there.

    You may also like this for Ribs and is a tasty Sweet Finishing Sauce...
    ski302 likes this.
  11. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    There you go....... now you are getting the good stuff. Chef JJ always chimes in with good advice and great recipes.
  12. I've used Chef JimmyJ's rub on ribs more than once & can say it's some good stuff & so is the foiling juice  [​IMG]
  13. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    I agree that is sounds like a temp issue. I use digital therm. and drilled a hole through a piece of 2x4 the size of the probe and placed it near the ribs. Then I know exactly what my temp is. With St Louis ribs, I do more of a 3.5/2.5/1 (or 30min depending how tender I want them) at 275. 
  14. OK - I Have my Maverick et732. Armed with the Rub Recipe above and the foiling Juice recipe I am heading for another day of smoking.. Will try to take more pictures and let you know who it turned out.
  15. [​IMG]

    I'm ready for round 2

  16. Ok here is the pre game show with jjs rub
  17. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    All the advice you have gotten so far is good. I might make one more suggestion. Trim your ribs st louis style . Smoke the tips and trimmings while smoking the ribs. Cutting the ribs this way gives a nice even rack of ribs w/ no thick areas.

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