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Rib cooking time question

Discussion in 'Pork' started by strecker25, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. strecker25

    strecker25 Fire Starter

    Im going to smoke a few racks this weekend and was wondering...It appears everyone agrees ribs cook to time and not to temp, is this true? or is there a temp we should also shoot for. 

    The other question is...after the 3-2-1 method is done is it ok to keep them in the smoker at a lower temp?  Will they just get more tender or will they just toughen up? If it is ok to leave them in should I foil them again or just leave them out on the rub racks?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ribs are more done by time them temp. because you really can't get a good thermometer read on them.

    3-2-1 & 2-2-1 are basic guidlines that people adjust to their liking. 3-2-1 is used for spare ribs and 2-2-1 is used for babyback ribs. The first number is number of hours ribs are in the smoker just sitting on the grates and cooking. Second number is the number of hours ribs are then wrapped in foil and put back on the grates and continue to cook. Third number is number of hours ribs are removed from foil and put back onto the grates for saucing and to firm up a tad.

    Most people cook ribs with the smoke chamber between 220° & 250°. If you leave the ribs foiled for the full amount of time indicated by 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 there is a good chance they will be almost to tender. Most people adjust the second number till they get a texture they like, I would suggest for your first attempt cut back the second number to 1.5 hrs. in the foil.

    Another option is to run the smoker lower (200°-225°), and dont foil the ribs at all. Starting about the second hr. spritz the ribs 1x per hr. till they are done. You will know when they are done when you pick them up about 1/4 of the way from the end of the rack and the rest of the rack hangs straight down - this is known as the bend test.

    For your first go I would suggest using 3-2-1 or 2-2-1, depending on rib types. It is the most forgiving and does turn out good tasting ribs.
    gril1 sgt likes this.
  3. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just my .02 but I like to smoke at 225*-240* for a 3-2-1. I have never teft them on after the 6hr mark, but I wouldnt refoil them if you do or they will fall apart! Hope this helps!
  4. strecker25

    strecker25 Fire Starter

    Thanks guys, the only reason I asked was because im not sure if I'll be home right as they finish.  What I may do is set the timer on the MES to just turn the heat off and it will slowly cool until I can get back to them.  The thing is pretty insulated.

    Do you guys add some more smoke for the final hour, or just in the beginning 3?
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Yes time not temp this time. Now I would suggest that you smoke them the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method the first time and then adjust as you deem fit. I use a 3-1 1/2- 1 and it works for me and my taste.
  6. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    It is important to remember that when people say a specific time, that is always at a specified temperature that is ofen not given. For example 3,2,1 with the smoker temp understood as being 225 for most folks. Remember to adjust the time if you deviate from that temperature.
  7. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have re-wrapped ribs in foil and stuck them in a cooler for an hour or two with no ill effects.
  8. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good point Mr Foster, The temp will have a definet effect on the time.I for one take the temp for granted and often don't even realize I'm not including it in the post  [​IMG]