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Virgin rib smoker - couple questions

Discussion in 'Pork' started by scvinegarpepper, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. Ok, so here's the deal. I've done ribs before, but not since I delved so deep into smoking. In fact, the only time I ever got ribs the way I like them (nice and tender), I cheated and baked them first before finishing on the grill. I picked up two racks of baby backs from Wal-Marks today. Each one is about 2.5-3 lbs. I've been going back and forth on whether I want to just go low and steady, sans 3-2-1, or what I should do. Since I've never tried the 3-2-1 method, I thought about doing one rack just low and slow and doing 3-2-1 for the other. Just to compare. I will be cooking these in my big cooker that I haul behind my truck and cook pigs on just because my UDS is at my parents house (150 miles away) and my cheapo gas grill is too damn small. It's gas and I will be using my brand new AMNS (provided the mail man is on time Friday!). I have a couple questions before I get rolling.
    1. If I do decide to do one with 3-2-1 and one without, can I do them both at around 220*? This cooker does an excellent job at holing heat. After adjusting for about the first 30 mins or an hour of cooking, as long as I don't open her up, she'll hold heat like an oven. And 220 is about as low as I can run it. Maybe 210.
    2. If I am doing one without the 3-2-1 method, should I spritz the rib about every hour? What about flipping? Do I need to flip?
    3. Also, if I am doing one without 3-2-1 and one with 3-2-1, shouldn't they both get done around the same time? About 5-6 hours?
    4. Finally (but definitely important!), with my AMNS, I am getting hickory, mesquite, and apple. Which should I use for the ribs? I was thinking about a mix of apple and hickory. Regardless, if I use two different types of wood in the AMNS, should I "mix" the wood up before loading it into the AMNS so I get consistent smoke from both? Or maybe do half and half in the AMNS and light both ends?
    Thanks. I'm sure I'll think of more questions. But that's why I wanted to go ahead and start getting some answers now before I get cooking on Friday. Thanks, I'll be sure and post the Q-View.

  2. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    For baby back i would use the 2-2-1 method...3-2-1 is more for spares.  when smoking you dont need to flip....in the last hour if you want a little more of a grill mark on the top you can cook them upside down.  but i normally just leave them bone down the whole time. 

    I would keep it at 225...thats the go-to temp for ribs!  And yes if your doing one with the 2-2-1 (or 3-2-1) method and the other without..they will both finish the same time...those methods are spot on each time. 
  3. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    for babybacks its more like 2-2-1 seems to work pretty good.sprizting is a choice..i do it for the first 2 hours cause i think it helps with moisture.then when i foil i give em a nice shot and foil them up.as far as flipping the ribs i don't unless i put sauce on the for the last hour.then i do just to set up the sauce some...i think everyone does differant ways with their ribs its trial and error- to figure out how you like them.
  4. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Thomas, a couple things. 3-2-1 is low and slow. The temp range for that process is around 225f. Most folks use 3-2-1 for spares and reduce it down for BB's to something like, 2-1.5-1 kinda depends on if you want fall of the bone ribs or ribs with a little tug.

    I spray with apple juice about once an hour and I don't flip. Bone side down the whole way until the end when they get a quick kiss from a really hot grill.

    I don't have an AMNS so I can't comment about that. As far as wood goes I would use just one for your first go and for me that choice would be apple.

    I'm sure you will get plenty of ideas to play with. Have fun and enjoy those ribs!
  5. Thanks for all the great advice! Yeah, I couldn't remember if 3-2-1 was for BBs or spares. Also, personally I would like a little tug, however, I will be cooking these for the lady, and she prefers them "fall-off-the-bone." So I'm guessing if I want to make em fall off the bone, I should probably keep the middle number (of 2-2-1) at 2 instead of reducing it, right? The longer they stay on the middle number (in the foil), the more tender they will be, correct? Thanks.
  6. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That would be correct sir.
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep the longer they are in the foil the more tender they will be. I follow the 2-2-1 to a T and they are always very tender just the way I like them. Sounds like you got all of the advice you need. You are doing the right thing by doing one with the foil method and one without that way you can truly find out which one YOU like better.
  8. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sounds like a plan. I have a question. Why is it that all the women like fall off the bone ribs, mine included? That's why we all seem to tinker with the 3-2-1, to find a happy medium. I think I'll start a thread and pose that exact question.
  9. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member


     You are gonna ask what makes women think like they do???

     Good luck and have fun!!

  10. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    DUH!  What was I thinking?