3-2-1 method

Discussion in 'Pork' started by papageomel, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK....everybody that's now totally confused raise your hands!!......LMAO. Seriously, I read through all posts and realized how many different ways we all do our ribs. So, for you newer members looking for an exact recipe or formula.....there ain't none. If there was everybody could do this. Many here have spent years working on that perfect rack everytime. Each rack will be a little different, take more time or less, have a little more bite or less than the previous rack you did last week etc. You keep making them and soon will know where your sweet spot is as far as times go and if foiling, spritzing etc is right for you. I normally don't anymore, much like not using the water pan or soaking wood chunks, unless I'm imitating Johnny Triggs famous Parkay style ribs then I'll foil. And, I have seen some on Pitmasters using the food film wrap first then the foil wrap. I have yet to road test that method but might give it a shot. Now, the weekends coming.....go get some ribs and fire up your pits!! Just my 2 cent rant.......LOL.....Have fun....Willie
  2. bogeybilly

    bogeybilly Newbie

    Thanks to everyone for info on the 3-2-1 method along with some variations
    I'm spending lots of time on the Internet to learn everything I can about using my Big Green Egg. I now know my question was something almost everyone already knew except for me. I really appreciate all of you for helping in this matter.
    Cheers, Bogeybilly
  3. zalbar

    zalbar Fire Starter

    smoked - wrapped - unwrapped

    so in  your example above:

    3 hours on the grill smoking then 2 hours wrapped in aluminum foil then 1 hour unwrapped (can sauce or not up to you).

    Remember these are guides. Cooking is about time and temperature control Stuff is done when it's done. I've done at higher 280-300 temps and I've done 225. My preference is 225 as it allows me to pull it with a bit of bite in it. Higher it was harder to do that and I always end up with racks that are falling off the bone. Still good, just not my preference.
  5. saigonjj

    saigonjj Fire Starter

    I have to show my ignorance here as another noob, but I was wondering if I should fill the water pan in the smoker for the "3' or any other part of the process?
  6. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     If you use water to begin with, yes. Use it for all the smoke.
  7. I use water on every smoke, that's just me, it helps to regulate the temperature but this winter when it is only 15° outside, I may fore go the water. ☺
  8. lamrith

    lamrith Newbie

    Zalbar hit the nail on the head, and it really comes down to you and your guests preference in meat doneness.  I am new to using a smoker, I have had mine about a month and done two runs on it.  Up to this point I have been cooking ribs on a grill.

    Previously, since I did not have rib racks and do 10-12# a shot I could not set-up for indirect heat.  I built water baths, raised the grate level etc and was able to get the cooker down to his high range, 275-300.  I didn't use smoke as I could not gain acess to the burner area with the set-up to put in chips or replace.  I used a rub that I found on the web and tweaked.

    Thankfully my crowd loves their ribs fall off the bone done.  I adopted a 2-2 and sometimes 2-1.5-.5 if people wanted sauce barked on.
    • [email protected] 270-300 open grate
    • 1.5-2hrs using cheap foil lasagna pans and 2-3cup of apple juice foiled.  In cold winter times or when doing a big BBQ this can be done in a kitchen oven so you can smoke/grill other things like chicken as well!
    • .5 on grates to rebark or add sauce.  Have to be very carefull this last step as with high heat is it easy to cook to long and dry it out.
    Done this way it falls off the bone, a bend test is not possible.  Even with a sharp knife it is more tearing thru than cutting.  The meat is so tender and succulent it is almost like shredded pork using ribs.  Honestly, most of my guests do not even use sauce as it is that juicy and flavorfull, all of the fats and ingredients melt together.

    Once I get my smoker to get down to the 225* point I plan to do some side by side testing and comparison of cook time/style of doneness.

    Man now I am hungry!
  9. Fall off the bone?? Blasphemy!! LOL!! I agree. Fall off the bone may not win me a big ol’ KCBS trophy. But in the court of public opinion, FOTB ribs sure make for happy friends and family.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
    puddle jumper likes this.
  10. I found the best way to do bb ribs is to smoke for 1 hour to get ur smoke flavor then pull them and wrap the rest of the way. The last 30 min or so slice foil on top and add sauce. This hold all the moisture and doesn't dry out. Then rest ribs for 30-45 min after done. They turn out perfect every time. And u don't have to worry about em.
  11. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great time to switch to sand.
  12. Well Boatless, I don't know what "court of public opinion" you've been listening to... but Fall Off The Bone ribs are not what any of my friends want to eat. If FOTB ribs are what you want just do the (bad) restaurant trick... boil your ribs first before smoking them. LOL. Anyone can make FOTBs. It takes experience and a bit of work to get your ribs to come out a bit on the 'al dente' side, where it takes a nice little tug to get the meat off the bone. I'll take 'em that way any day. Keep those FOTBs away from me! Cheers, TA
  13. Bugz, I was gonna retort, but then I saw you're from Cali. ;-P I think it's the free ribs our friends like best!
  14. Boatless... LOL. Cheers,TA
  15. Hours of time (exposed to smoke, foiled, exposed to smoke).  3-2-1 is 3 hours on smoke, 2 hours foiled and 1 hour back on smoke.
  16. Lots of information !!!!  Wow --------------  The first time I heard of the 3-2-1 method (quite a few years ago) I figured it was a guideline, depending your cooking temp and the type of ribs you are cooking. I have found full spare's at 225 work pretty good using this method. You have to adjust your time down for St. Louis and Baby Backs.. I have been BBQing for over 35 years, when I first started out no Internet, no smoking meat forum, only what I picked up from friends and people I knew who had BBQ joints. I sure had some disappointments on ribs, brisket etc. But over time you learn. My advice is learn your pit and how to control your temp. Try a few different heat ranges and see what works for you. My magic temp. seams to be about 225. I like low and slow. Try some pork shoulders and chicken to get the feel. I have said before in other posts that when I cook ribs some of my family likes sweet and wet while some like dry and spicy, my wife likes them falling off the bone while I like them where you get a clean bite. Everybody likes something different, kinda like sauce or no sauce. You need to cook what you , your family and friends like. If you are just starting out you will probably have some disappointments, but don't let that get you down, learn from that and do better next time. The people who are just starting out and have asked me I tell them First learn your pit or cooker, try easy stuff so as to get the feel, pay attention to you smoker, fire etc. I suggest starting low 225, allow plenty of time, DON'T TRY TO RUSH, after you get comfortable start experimenting with time and heat ranges. Again the 3-2-1 method is a good guide line.
  17. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    3-2-1 is a general guideline that will get any novice Q cook in the ballpark to cooking some great ribs.  The general public as a whole prefer fall off the bone ribs thanks to Chili's, Applebees' and the like making them popular.  I prefer them this way as well.  To me, when it comes to Q, if you have to tug to get a bite or chew for any length of time, it ain't cooked right.  But this is what makes Q so great, we all have a certain idea of what we like, from texture to taste to appearance.  If your a comp cook, then you have to cook to what your judges like and are expecting.  KCBS, you better get 'em tender, but not so tender that all the meat comes off when bitten, but leave a perfect bite mark.  Down here in Texas and IBCA comps, they better be fall off the bone tender, because the general public is doing the judging, and this is what they like.  I use a 3-2-.5 method, 3 hours of 250 degree hickory / oak smoke, 2 hours of foiling in the usual butter, brown sugar, apple juice mixture, then back on the smoker opened up with a brushing of my glaze sauce with a spritzing of apple juice for shine right before turn ins.  Here are my first place ribs from a few months back using this method...

    These were 5th a month later...

  18. I to like tender, I just don't want to take a bite and all the meat comes off the bone. If you like them like that (personal preference) Cook them, or keep the wrapped  a little longer. Like I said before my wife likes them falling off the bone. I did fail to mention in the previous post, when I cook ribs I do some wet and sweet, some dry and spicy and some falling off the bone. That way everybody in our family gets what they want. After you have gotten comfortable cooking ribs it's not hard to do several types and have everything come off all at the same time. Have fun and enjoy your cook.
  19. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well I polled my group. Fall off the bone for them, hands down. As to me, I've never had a bad rib, maybe some better, but never a bad rib.
    gamblinfool likes this.
  20. Well  (papageomel)  you got lots of input  Maybe most or at least some of this information will help. Remember the more you cook the better you will get.


Share This Page