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Ribs and 2-2-1

Discussion in 'Pork' started by lookwow, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. lookwow

    lookwow Smoke Blower

    This might sounds like a stupid quesiton but what do people mean when they say 2-2-1 or other variations of that when smoking ribs?
  2. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    2-2-1 is for BB's and 3-2-1 is fore spares. 3 hours on the smoker, 2 hours wrapped in foil with a splash of apple juice added then back on the smoker, 1 hour on the the smoker with no foil to firm them up.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First number is the number of hours ribs are place in the smoker just flat on the racks.

    Second number is number of hours ribs are cooked wrapped in foil (usually still in the smoker)

    Third number is the number of hours ribs are cooked back on the racks out of the foil (to firm them up a bit). This is also when you would sauce the ribs if you are going to put sauce on them during the cooking process.

    2-2-1 is generally used for baby back ribs, and 3-2-1 for spare ribs. If the ribs are to tender and fall apart you can cut back the 2nd number 15 minutes at a time till you get the consistancy you want.
  4. retread

    retread Meat Mopper

    It refers a sequence of actions.  2-2-1 is a recommended sequence for baby back ribs, 3-2-1 is a recommended sequence for spare ribs.

    The first number (3 for spare ribs) is the number of hours one smokes the ribs for the first time.  Then, before you apply the second number, you remove the ribs from the smoker, put them in a single layer (or possibly a double layer) of aluminum foil, spritz with your favorite spritz <I use 1/2 bourbon 1/2 apple juice> unti damp, and seal up the foil wrap with the ribs inside.  Put the foiled ribs back in the smoker and maintain the same temperature for the second number of hours (2 for spare ribs).  Effectively this is a "braise" of the ribs inside the foil and helps to tenderize them.  Then, you remove the ribs from the foil and put them back in the smoker for the third number of hours (1 for spares).  This thrid period "tightens" everything back up.  I keep smoke going for the first and third periods of time.
  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like they have you covered. There should be a tutorial or Wiki on this some where if I can find it.
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Well it looks like theother folks have covered the 2-2-1 or 3-2-1 method. Now I would recommend that you sign up and take the e-course. It's free and it will give you the basics on smoking meat and other things too.
  7. lookwow

    lookwow Smoke Blower

    thanks for the info. I just read through the first day of the E course.
  8. azkitch

    azkitch Smoke Blower

    No one mentioned temperatures! IIRC, these numbers relate to a smoker running about 225 or less. When I try 3-2-1 in my drum, I can't pick up my ribs! They fall apart completely.  Like Johnny said, use these numbers as a guide...Your Mileage May Vary...

    So make allowances for different types of cookers, and for what your smoker likes to run at.

    Makes for more experimenting!!
  9. richoso1

    richoso1 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

     You're right about the smoking temp, the 3-2-1 and 2-2-1 are based on smoker temps around 225°.This is the average smoking temp, unless you're doing poultry, which can be smoked at higher temps Points for you[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  10. If you have never smoked ribs this way make sure you get yours first as I made Baby back ribs on New Years eve and Got NONE !!!!!!

    Next time I'll eat mine in the garage :)
  11. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I actually do mine more like 1.5 - 1.5 - then 45 mins. over charcoal. the 2-2-1 method for babybacks is too long for my liking (225-250F). I don't want them falling off the bone, but nice and tender. I've got three racks on the MES as we speak! I'm using Paul's special rub, can't wait to see how that works out!
  12. I was thinking the same thing, I'll try your method this weekend...... trying to decide between the Hard maple I have or the Ole stand bye, Hickory. I haven't tried Hard Maple yet.

  13. azkitch

    azkitch Smoke Blower

    Your answer is right there. You've had them with hickory.. I'd be dyin' to try the maple!
  14. The 2 2 1 method is the bomb. My buddy told me he smokes his ribs for 8-9 hours. I tried this method and they were moist, delicious and perfect. Thanks for the advice everyone[​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  15. The foil wrap is called the "Texas crutch".  Most folks use it to help braise the meat to make it tender.
  16. when you smoke baby backs using the 2-2-1 method do you flip them over after a period of time of do you just rotate them?