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Dry ribs please help


Joined Oct 10, 2016
Using a Masterbuilt 30 analog smoker filling the water pan about 1/2 full and using soaked wood chips. I have done 4 racks of ribs and two whole chickens The beer can chickens came out great but the the ribs are always dry. I've tried the 3-2-1 and 2-2-1 with ribs. I always remove the membrane, rub and let them sit for a few hours. Smoke @225-240 coating them with honey every few hours. Just did a rack of baby backs this way letting them rest about 45 minutes and they fall off the bone but are still kind of dry. Now I've done ribs this way with great success in the same smoker only it was a propane. What gives any help is greatly appreciated


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Sep 15, 2012
Do you foil with some type of liquid? I usually use apple juice, butter and brown sugar. Time isn't always a good indicator of when ribs are done. Appearance, toothpick and the bend test work well for me. Also If the ribs have a membrane I don't bother to take it off. I think it holds the moisture coming off the rendering fat on the rib a little longer. Anyway someone with more knowledge will chime in sometime soon. This is just what works well for me. Make sure you log your cooks so you know what works and what doesn't work for you and your smoker. Keep at it.


Fire Starter
Joined Aug 16, 2016
When you let them sit for a few hours, do the have salt on them? I would avoid salt until just before Q'ing them.... see how that works.


Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk


Joined Oct 10, 2016
Thanks al I will be giving this a try tomorrow I'll let you know how they come out.


Master of the Pit
Joined Apr 6, 2015
I hope you are not using the thermometer that's built

into that smoker.

They are notoriously inaccurate.

Make sure you are cooking at the correct temperature.

Have fun.



Fire Starter
Joined Jul 18, 2015
I always foil and put 30ml fresh apple juice in at that stage.
What weight are your ribs to begin with?

Here's my last attempt and these were an 800g rack to begin with, all 5 racks turned out like this and I used the 3-2-1 method.
I keep a very steady 225 for 5 hours and 250 for last hour and glaze 3 times.


Joined Oct 14, 2016
As Gear hammer posted, don't rely on the built in thermometer. I use the Master built 40 and found that it indicates 30degrees higher actual temp. Went and purchased 2 mavericks and 2 dial type oven thermometer. Much easier now to control temp


Fire Starter
Joined Oct 7, 2016
I have a brand new dyna glow and it is reading about 230 degrees on the built in thermometer but my digital probe says its only 203 in the chamber. An accurate temp gauge is a must.

wild west

Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 25, 2016
What does 3-2-1 and 2-2-1 refer to?

spare ribs are 3hrs smoke 2 hrs wrapped in foil on the smoker 1 hour unwrapped back on the smoker. Baby backs are 2 hrs smoked 2 hrs wrapped and 1hr unwrapped. Total time is approximate you need to test for doneness but they should be near fall off the bone at those times.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Sep 13, 2015
What does 3-2-1 and 2-2-1 refer to?

Short answer:

3-2-1 is a method of cooking St. Louis style (spare) ribs. 3 hours naked, 2 hours wrapped, 1 hour naked @ 225

2-2-1 is for baby back ribs. Again 2 hours naked, 2 hours wrapped and 1 hour naked @ 225.

They are well documented methods and are discussed in great detail on the site.
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Master of the Pit
Joined Jan 29, 2010
I agree with previous comments about temperature. I have never seen one of those smokers with an accurate thermometer. Invest in a Maverick or similar probe setup. I am betting your temperature is way higher than you think it is. Also all ribs are different. I do the probe test toward the end of the cook. If a skewer or toothpick slides in like a hot knife through butter they are done. I also have a thermapen and find it does work pretty darn good on ribs even though most people say they don't get accurate readings on ribs because of the bones. Worked for me on hundreds of racks of restaurant ribs I did. 


Joined Oct 10, 2016
I smoked two racks of st.louis this weekend and they were great. My thermostat is about 25 degrees off so I was cooking way to high. Thanks for all the help guys.

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