3 2 1 ribs are a fool proof way to get fall off the bone tender ribs. The 3 2 1 rib method is based on smoking ribs at a certain temperature for 3 hours, wrapping with liquid for 2 hours, and saucing for the final 1 hour.
3 2 1 Smoked Ribs
Today, I’m showing you an amazing method for smoking ribs: the fool proof 3 2 1 ribs recipe. This method has gained a lot of popularity with home cooks in recent years because of the flawless results in churning out super tender ribs that fall off the bone every time.
While competition and traditional BBQ cooks will scoff at fall off the bone ribs, the truth is that most people really like them that way. Judges for KCBS won’t give you a winning score, but they also won’t be hanging out in your backyard critiquing what you and your family are eating. So I say, cook what you like!
So fire up your smoker (I like to cook ribs on my Camp Chef SmokePro LUX), and let’s get smoking!
3 2 1 Rib Method
I firmly believe that you should cook food the way you like it, and ribs are no different! You like your ribs saucy? Put some extra sauce on them (I like using my Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce)! You like your ribs falling off the bone? Follow this 3 2 1 Rib Method! These are your ribs after all. Don’t you let the man get you down. Just don’t.
Here’s how to cook your ribs using the 3 2 1 method:
- Smoke for 3 hours. Start with exposing the seasoned ribs to 3 hours of heavy smoke over low heat. I prefer fruit woods (apple or cherry) when smoking pork, but other hardwoods (hickory and alder) also work really well with ribs.
- Wrap for 2 hours. After the initial 3-hour smoke, foil the ribs with a liquid of your choosing (I used apple cider, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and 2-3 Tablespoons of butter) and cook at 225-250 degrees for 2 more hours. After the braising period I look for great retraction of the meat from the bones. I want the bones to be exposed on the end at least 1/4 to 1/2 an inch.
- Sauce and smoke for 1 hour. Lastly, baste the ribs basted in your favorite BBQ sauce and return them to the grill for a final hour to hour and a half to finish the ribs and set the sauce.
Sticky, sweet, tender, and oh so savory, 3 2 1 ribs are probably the most requested meal I receive for potlucks or family dinners. I tend to fall back on these ribs for gatherings because I know that they will deliver that tender, flavorful porky flavor every time. And sometimes consistency is super important!
More Ribs Recipes
Are you a rib fan like me? Then you’ll absolutely love these other rib recipes on Hey Grill Hey:
3 2 1 Ribs Recipe
Follow the recipe and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your delicious ribs at home. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTube, Instagram, or our Facebook Page. Let’s make delicious food together!
Want some Hey Grill Hey Signature Sweet Rub or BBQ sauce delivered straight to your door? Patio Provisions has great products to help you make delicious food for your family and friends. These products are designed for smoked and grilled food and make you look like a total pro!
3-2-1 Ribs: Perfect Fall Off the Bone Ribs
- Begin by removing the membrane on the back of the ribs
- Liberally season both sides of the ribs using the sweet rub, starting with the bone side.
- Prepare your smoker for indirect smoking. Target temperature is between 180-200 with thin blue smoke. Place the seasoned ribs on the smoker and close the lid. Leave them to smoke for 3 hours.
- Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil and place it on a large working surface. Transfer the ribs to the foil bone side up so the bones don't tear through the foil. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, top with the butter cut into small pads, and then pour over the apple cider.
- Tightly crimp the foil together to create an airtight seal. Return to the grill and increase your cooking temperature to as close to 225 degrees as you can get it. Let the ribs braise for 2 hours in the foil.
- Carefully remove the ribs from the grill and place on a large working surface. Open the foil package (be careful of hot steam) and use tongs to remove the ribs and place them back on the grill, bone side down. Discard the foil and excess cooking liquid,
- Brush the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce, close the lid of your grill and cook at 225 degrees for an additional hour until the ribs are done to your desired tenderness and the sauce is sticky and set.
**This post was originally published in June 2015. Images and information have been updated, but the delicious recipe remains the same.