Baby Back Rib Questions....

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Mar 31, 2006
Kenosha, WI
Alright, our ribfest at work is tomorrow. My boss came in this morning and dropped off 8 racks of baby backs for me to smoke tomrrow. He already rubbed 4 of them with his rub. My questions are 1.) do baby backs have a membrane to take off? I'm assuming they do. 2.) With baby backs how well does the 2-2-1 method work? Anything I should look out for? 3.) Does anyone have a really good crowd pleasing rub recipe that they'd like to share?
Sounds like ya gotta a pretty decent boss there. To your ?

1. Yes, there is a membrane. Very easy to remove. I use a regular dinner knife to slip under the membrane, then pull it off with a paper towel (helps with the grip).

2. 2-2-1 works for bb's, I do more of a 2.5 - 2 -1

3. Check out She has graciously printed on the site recipes for rubs, sauces, and ways of cooking various meats. Also, TJ has printed many recipes for various rib rubs. Just look to the left under the "How To" articles.

And good luck to yours smoke! Show pics!
Wow, you've got to do this for work? I hope it's a success! I have yet to "perfect" ribs but have only tried the BB's twice so far.

Why are you not going with the 3-2-1 method, just not enough time?
Okay so:
1.) there is a membrane and I will be removing it
2.) I will do something like a 2-2-1 or a 2.5-2-1
3.) Any other rub recipes anyone would like to share?
I did 6 racks yesterday that turned out nicely. I brushed them with Worcestershire before putting on the rub the night before. Gave them a nice flavor. I don't like them overdone (literally "falling off the bone"), so I don't use the foil too much, but I do spray them with apple juice every hour or so.
to answer q #3 Deejaydebi has a little e-book full of rub recipes that are sure to please any pallet...lemme look up the link for it is

I've only made one rub from it but then again i only just found this lil piece of wonderful on tuesday. Hope it helps. If I can make a suggestion, Alton Brown's rub makes some terriffic ribs, I did my spare ribs with that for the 4th. Good n spicy
It's a variation on the 3-2-1 method that some folks use for spare ribs.
3-hours on the smoker
2-hours foiled with a little liquid (most use an apple juice base concoction)
1- hour back on the smoker out of the foil to develop bark.

BBs aren't as meaty as spares and can't take that much cooking, so they do a 2-2-1 instead. Myself, 6 hours is too much time for spares, and even 3 hours is way too much time for BBs.

Some folks like ribs to "fall off the bone". To us, that's way overdone and we call them "Babyfood Ribs". Making ribs that fall off the bone is as easy as boiling them in water, but if that's the type of ribs you want, the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method is the best.

BTW, I think it was Steven Raichlen that originally came up w/ the method.

Thanks for the reply. Is the middle step where it's foiled with liquid on a regular grill or on the smoker too? I would think it's on a grill.

My method for Babybacks is as follows:
Dry rubbed the night before then put in a foil pan with a large can of pineapple juice.
The next day I put the foil pan on the grill on med high heat for an hour and let them boil in the pineapple juice.
Next it's on the smoker for 4 hours. Finally it's back on the grill at high heat while I sauce them to caramelize. No more than 5-8 mins on this step.
Then I slice them and put back in the foil pan and lightly coat with a mixture of bbq/pineapple/brown sugar. Top with grilled pineapple rings (see my avatar)

I will have to try the 2-2-1 method too. Thanks again.

I love this place. I can't believe it took me this long to find it.
The middle step is generally done in the smoker.Whether there, in the oven, or indirect heat on the grill is neither here nor there, so long as it's done w' low heat (225*-250*).

Your method sounds full of flavor, but sounds like too much cooking for our tastes, especially w/ BBS. For us, total cooking time on BBs is 2hrs or less. We think of BBs as a thin cut pork chop w/ most of the meat cut off(maybe because that's what they are). We trteat(whoops, I stuttered) them accordingly.

I love that Polynesian theme, pineapple and all. Have you ever considered adding a little ginger, garlic,soy, and wasabi to the package?

Hey SmokyOky what kind of ribs do you like? I've had'em dripping wet with sauce, dry rubbed w/ no sauce, fall off the bone, and chew the meat off the bone style.

Personally I like them more or less 3-2-1 style dry rubbed just before going on the smoker. I don't sauce them. I like the meat to pull off the bone with a little resistance, not quite fall off the bone. I just get a little sauce on the side, and more or less enjoy all the juice from the ribs dripping off my chin

I used to boil the ribs ::gasps from the crowd:: but I quit that mess whenst I got the smoker, and found the SMF. I never got fall off the bone ribs that way. They were always tough, and not at all smokey. Just wondering what your version of the perfect smoked rib is. Maybe I need to do something different to find that more zenful hog.
Tender, juicy, never greasy, good bite, small racks (3 1/2# and down) so that the knuckle is edible, brisket on (never St. Louis style), good tender bark, sharp but gentle smokey edge, sauce always on the side (I want to experience the meat w/o the candy). Of course, I've never been accused of being opinionated(

3-2-1 is somewhat of a beginning point, sort of "Q training wheels"

Only spares for Q, but BBs are some pretty good fare for grilling, and glazed is a treat for them.

Sorry for the dissertation, but then, you did ask.


Why don't you smoke BB's? I'll agree with you though, I've been scaling down the cooking time for my BB's. The racks I'm usually getting are the 3 to a pack cryovac ones from Costco and I think the individual racks are about 3 pounders. In my experience 5 hours even at 225 is way too long, even without foil.
I guess I do from time to time if I've got Bertha fired up anyway, but I isially just grill or grill/smoke. The type of meat fiber on them just doesn't really need low and slow.

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