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Old 07-15-2010, 11:24 PM   #1
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Join Date: 07-02-10
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Default BBQ Ribs 3-2-1 method???

I keep seeing yall say to use 3-2-1 method or 3-1-1??Ive never heard of this??

I use a rectangle shaped charcoal grill and normally just build my fire on the left side and cook the ribs on the right side of the grill for about 4 hours.The 1st 3 hours in foil with apple juice and the last hour out of foil.
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Old 07-15-2010, 11:34 PM   #2
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3 hours in smoke, 2 hours in foil, 1 hour back on grill no smoke. Here is a link to what you are looking for... Hope it helps!!
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Old 07-15-2010, 11:35 PM   #3
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Hey Brandon... the 3-2-1 method has been here for a while.. its when you smoke them for 3 hours (this is mainly when the smoke flavor is imparted) then you wrap them in foil with a liquid of your choice for 2 hours, then take them out for the last hour and sauce if you care to. The 3-2-1 method as I'm sure you've read; leads a lot of people to overcook their ribs if you follow it (a bit too mushy). So people have been cutting down the times saying 3-1-1. The way I see it people like different things. And if your doing it at home you can do it whichever way gets the results you want. That being said, just a comment on reading how you do your ribs I bet if you didn't foil them right away you'll get a better smoke flavor... Cheers Bro... I hope that cleared it up some.
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:10 AM   #4
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Hi Brandon,

Why the foil right off the bat? Smoke (I assume your throwing some sort of hardwood on your coals) does it's magic in the early parts of the cook.
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:41 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies everybody,

Im still fairly knew to this BBQ thang.Ive been doing it for 2-3 years now but im just starting to look for new recipes and methods of how to do it.Just started using apple wood chips with my charcoal about a year ago when my uncle turned me on to it,I never got my ribs tender enough so a friend of mine recommended the foil and I kinda added the length of time and apple juice on my own.

Im most defentally using this 3-1-1 method on my B Day next Tuesday.

Thanks,much appreciated
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:43 AM   #6
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Seems like you would miss the smoke flavor, Hey, if it comes out good for ya, then that is all it takes. I may try your method.

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Old 07-16-2010, 12:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by {Midnight ☼ Smoke} View Post
Seems like you would miss the smoke flavor, Hey, if it comes out good for ya, then that is all it takes. I may try your method.
Yeah there not as smokey as I expected but their tender.Im most defentally trying the 3-1-1 method.
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Old 07-16-2010, 01:58 AM   #8
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3-2-1 for spare ribs. 2-2-1 for baby backs.
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:39 AM   #9
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Also, the 3-2-1 (and 2-2-1) methods are just guidelines. Every rack of ribs and every smoker cooks differently. Therefore, you'll need to "tweak" things so your BBQ turns out the way you want it to.

Keep at it and let us know how things turn out.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:11 AM   #10
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I always just straight smoke them the whole 4-5 hours and every ~30mins I spray them with apple cider, and every hour I rotate the rib rack 180 degrees. Dry rub them anywhere between an hour and half to 3 hours before I start cooking.

I come from the school of thought that every cut of meat is going to cook a little different, and using the same exact recipe on two different racks on two different days, is going to give you slightly different products. Just how it is.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:30 AM   #11
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I started cookin ribs with the 3-2-1 and (as has been mentioned here) I kept over cooking them. In fact, by the end of the "2" part, they were typically alread overdone and falling apart.

SO....I don't foil anymore. 3-4 hours at about 250-275, sparaying with 50%-50% mix of apple juice and apple cider vinegar about every hour, then finish them with sauce/glaze for the last 10 minutes. YUM!!! has also been suggested, it's all about YOU and your preferences. That's just what works for me. Truth be told, the wife and kids love them no matter what......I'M the picky one.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:49 AM   #12
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Yes, the 3-2-1 method is also called the Texas crutch and, from what I've read, is used in competition to achieve desired results quicker. However, my experience has been the same as several posting here who have stated that the ribs got over-cooked after 2 hours in the foil. One of my smokers is a Traeger and I've found that I can get away with just spritzing with apple juice (and sometimes with a half Jack Daniels mixture) and cooking low and slow. So, I've stopped using it when I use the Traeger. However, when I use the wood/charcoal smoker (side fire box), I find that I might need to foil for about 20-30 minutes after 3 hours of smoking to keep the spares juicer but still get them cooked within 4-5 hours (longer and they really get dry on me in the wood smoker). The foil method actually steams the meat and raises the temp quickly. This can cause the fat in the meat to melt too quickly and exit the meat prematurely. So, I really limit the foil time when I use it at all. When I'm using the wood/charcoal smoker, better to smoke over a water pan, spritz, and monitor closely than to foil in my opinion. I use the foil as kind of a fix in case the ribs are taking too long and I'm worried about them drying out. Hope that helps a little.

Last edited by stewartr002; 07-16-2010 at 09:50 AM.. Reason: Changed Jim Beam to Jack Daniels in line 3.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:51 AM   #13
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i stopped foiling my ribs at all and go straight smoke all the way through.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:03 AM   #14
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My experience has been that 3-2-1 overcooks also. I do 2 on rack, and start spritxing every 15 minutes after the first 30.

When I put it in foil, I only do it for about 30-45 minutes.. I depends on the meat. Then, the last hour is done back open.

The comps I have done so far in my area require that no sauce be used AT ALL. any signs of sauce on the ribs, and you are DQ'd. They say that they want to see what you can do with the meat, without actually covering up everything with sauce.

I have a nice dry rub that took about 10-12 experimental cookings to get close (and it gets tweaked each time still except at comps.)

I have seen it said here a few times, and I will reiterate it. Each piece of meat is different. You can have 2 racks of spare ribs, the same length and same weight, but they will cook different. I use a temp gauge to just gauge when i am getting close, i do not pull at a certain temp, only when they are done. You will develop the Jedi mind trick of knowing when it is done with experience.. ;)

Most of all, Just have fun and enjoy it.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:10 AM   #15
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As has been said, every piece of meat is different. Sometimes I foil sometimes I don't. Depends on how fast they're cooking and if they're staying moist enough. 3 hours in smoke is usually a good start, then you have to decide what to do from there. Find out what you like best and try to duplicate it every time. have fun and a few beers trying!
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