Baby Back Ribs Using The 2-2-1 Method (Q-View)

Discussion in 'Pork' started by daricksta, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    All recipes (except perhaps for baking) are not set in stone. Yesterday I applied the 2-2-1 method for smoking two racks of baby backs and in my opinion, although the ribs turned out moist and very juicy, 2-2.5 would have nailed the "tug" I was after. The meat was falling off the bone which is what most people want but for me that was the ribs being slightly overdone. Just learned today that baby backs are on sale at my favorite store this week so I'll get my chance to try it again soon.

    I own a MES 30 Gen 1. I placed the ribs on racks 1 & 2 with my Maverick ET-733 probes near the rear of each rack. One probe faced towards the left, the other to the right. During the heat up cycles there was a difference of around 10°between the two which later settled down on about 2-3° which is meaningless. The temp displayed on the MES was about 20° higher than that shown on the ET-733.My set point was at first 250° but the smoker overshot to 288° during the heat up cycle. It had started to dip back down when I decided to lower the set point to 235°. I saw the temp undershoot to about 228° (according to the ET-733) but the temp wound up remaining between 232-240° which was great.

    For the dry rub, I used a base of yellow mustard and then sprinkled on a dry rub from a recipe I got from a Steven Raichlen book. The dry rub is called Jake's Boss BBQ Rub and is based on a rub from a chef in Boston who won a James Beard Award. It was different from what I've used before and was really good. For the foil juice I used apple cider and some of the dry rub. For the finishing sauce I used a BBQ sauce my daughter bought me called Borbon Q Gold Reserve Roasted Garlic & Chipotle Kentucky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. It's good stuff with a slightly hot finish.

    I used hickory wood pellets in my AMNPS. Using gelled alcohol to light it, the AMNPS lit right away and stayed lit throughout the smoke. I had it going for about 30 minutes before I put the ribs in which means I got between 5-6 hours of smoke from two rows of hickory pellets. And, as always, the meat wasn't oversmoked. The AMNPS has the incredible ability to produce enough smoke to enhance what is smoked and not to overpower it. When I first got into smoking I was into getting as much smoky flavor as I could. What I wound up getting was harsh, bitter aftertastes which I and no one else liked. That has never happened with the AMNPS, which is another reason why I'm a huge proponent of it.

    In the top photo you might see some meals written on a white board. That's part of our nightly dinner menu for the week.
    crazymoon likes this.
  2. garyinmd

    garyinmd Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I was getting the same result with the 2-2-1 method, fall off the bone.  I have changed to 3-1-1 and have much better results, tender but a good tug and bite.

  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    3-1-1? That sounds like a winner, Gary. Just so happens baby backs are on a great sale at a local supermarket. I'll be smoking up another batch using your method in about two weeks and I'll report back. Thanks!

  4. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice looking ribs! Ever try no foil? Come to the dark side you'll like it!
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks! I tried no foil with baby backs a few weeks ago. That's why I'm back to foiling because I like the results better. With no foil too much bark developed for my tastes. I can control it better even with just 1-2 hours foiled.

    The thing about foiling is that you're supposed to add foil juice for extra flavor and moistness but I found out that plenty of fat from the ribs render inside the foil creating their own juices. Because of that I won't add any extra liquid next time.
  6. bigace

    bigace Fire Starter

    I'm doing Ribs and a Butt for the Forth!! Doing Bear's step by step for the butt & 3-1-1 for the ribs!! Will be posting pictures!!
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So, 3-1-1 is well-known method? I'm definitely going to do it next time I smoke ribs.
  8. slufa111

    slufa111 Fire Starter

    I use the 3-2-1 method which I thought was standard but anyways, they're the most tender, fall off the bone ribs known to man.

    3 hours continously smoking

    2 hours either foiled or unfoiled

    1 hour - 30 minutes both sides BBQ sauce cranked up to 275
    absinthedragon likes this.
  9. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Rick, I have not used foil in about a year or more, and I just cook my baby backs until just done. This gives me a moderate tug, which all my folks seem to like. I think that FOTB are too mushy for my taste. I settle in about 275* and am usually done in 3 hours. Then I glaze for about 20-30 minutes.

    Also, if you have a Costco close by, they carry Swifts loin back ribs, 3 in a cryovac with the membrane removed. These loin backs are baby backs with some of the loin meat left on. Great taste and lots of meat. Give 'em a try. Good luck, Joe
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, Joe. What kind of smoker do you have? You might have said but it takes to long to find threads. I've never tried smoking my ribs at 275° but I know that's the temp the pros use. I agree about FOTB and that's why I'm going to experiment with cooking temps and times, and perhaps try it without foiling again. The pros also don't foil.

    As for Swift Premium, they're one of the brands that inject their pork products with a saline solution unless they've finally stopped doing it to baby backs. I don't buy any pork ribs with that stuff added because they're charging me for that and besides the ribs I smoke already come out tender. But I think the last time I was at Costco they had SP St. Louis ribs and the label didn't say anything about an added solution so possibly they've responded to consumer complaints or a Costco insistence. I like the Costco packs because there's 3 racks per pack. When I can't get to Costco I buy ribs at a supermarket called Safeway which has really outstanding meats at good prices. They also pack their ribs in cryopacs but only one to a pack. Last time I bought ribs at Costco the membranes were still attached so perhaps their removal is something else Costco demanded. I'll check out their cryos later this summer.


  11. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice lookin Ribs - they look tastey

    A full smoker is a happy smoker 

  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, Driedstick!
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I tried cooking baby backs for 5 hours unfoiled and the bark was too thick for my liking. I was smoking between 235-245°. I think I'll experiment with 275° next time. Not sure yet if I'll foil or not. This man's not a big fan of fall off the bone but if I can get as good results in a shorter time at a higher temp, I'm all for it.
  14. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I have a 24"x48" offset stick burner built by Craig Bell at Bell Fab in Tulsa, OK. I really love it. I like the wood and playing with fire. I was cooking ribs at about 250* before I got the Bell, but it settles in at 275* and I really now like it better.

    The loin backs that I have gotten at Costco have not been enhanced. I always try to stay away from any enhanced meats. The salt is usually too much to overcome. I first noticed the membrane about 1-1/2 years ago. I thought the membrane looked very thin and I couldn't get under it, so I said forget it. The smoke and rub went right in on the bone side, so next time I looked closer and finally came to the conclusion that the membrane was already pulled. I haven't seen any since. I haven't bought any spares at all since I found the loin backs. My folks and friends really like the extra meat on the ribs I am turning out now.

    Good luck and let me know how you like them, Joe
  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Joe,

    I thought you might have an offset stick built burner when you said you smoked at 275°. I own a Masterbuilt 30" electric digital smoker and 275° is its nominal top end which is why I smoke well below that. I'm not sure if it's good to push the controller to its max with every smoke; I've never read anything on that but I feel it's like driving a car with the tach redlined all the time but I could be wrong.

    I just checked the Bell Fab website. Those are pro rigs. I couldn't find prices but they've got to be way above my budget which is why I bought my tiny but excellent MES. But the fact that you own a Bell tells me something about you.

    I think a couple of times I wasn't sure if the membranes had already been removed from the Costco ribs and then figured they had been. It's nice to have one less thing to do. As for the injected solution, I saw it on the SW labels last year. Last month at Costco they started displaying St. Louis ribs and that's when I saw the saline solution was gone. Haven't checked the baby backs yet. Just bought a couple of beauties at my local Safeway store yesterday only because it's not time for the wife and I to make a Costco run yet.

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