Question(s) on the 3-2-1

Discussion in 'Pork' started by redwood carlos, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Hey guys, I attempted some 3-2-1 ribs last night. I ended up with bones that fell off the meat. Basically stew consistency. I had my digiq thermo probe clipped to the WSM stock probe at 225 the entire time. I did not have any temp spikes. Any time I needed to mess with the ribs(foil/unfoil/sauce) I yanked the grate and put it on my kettle, while replacing the lid very fast. I had three racks laid flat, basically blocking the entire top grate.

    Do you guys think I was possibly cooking too hot?

    Has anyone had issues like this with the 321 method?

    Any tips are always appreciated.

    Seems every time I try the foil method I have this issue.

    Foil stuffs:


    Tiger sauce

    brown sugar


    a small amount of apple sauce

    My ideal is perfect bite ribs and I am pretty good at them on the kettle, but I would like to start making them on the WSM due to the temp controls and greater grill space.


  2. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Carlos, try reducing the time in the foil.  maybe 3-1.5-1. 
  3. Yeah this is what I am thinking. I am just looking to get as much feedback before attempting again, since ribs cost money and seven hours of my life (with beer and friends). But seriously, beer and friends and Great ribs is better. :)
  4. njfoses

    njfoses Meat Mopper

    What type of ribs?  3-2-1 is used for st louis style.  If you are cooking baby backs use the 2-2-1 method.
  5. They were St. Louis trimmed spares.
  6. smokeusum

    smokeusum Smoking Fanatic

    Same thing happened with my spares... I should have called it a day prior to foiling, they were perfect. They were destroyed by foiling...
  7. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    How much did the trimmed spares weigh? The forgotten variable of rib cooking is weight, the more they weigh the more time needed to cook, if they are on the smaller side they take less time. 3-2-1 and 2-2-1 are only guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Adjust your times according to cooking temps and weight of the ribs. JM2C
  8. They were in the 2.8 lb range.

    For my next few smokes, I think I will reserve one rack for foil experimentation only.
  9. Did the same exact thing my first go at spares. The next time I did 3-1.5-.5 and they were just right. 2-2-1 will get you there just as well...
  10. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Smoking Fanatic

    no need for foil. i have no issues whatsoever running water in my pan and the smoker at 240, no foil. baby backs take 4-5 hours depending on weight.
  11. I agree with no foil needed for ribs. I have done them with no foil for years with great results.

    However I do like trying new things, as I feel one can never reach perfection.
  12. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Which is why you ended up with "bone fallout" ribs when you cooked them 3-2-1, that size I might have done 2.5-1.5-cook 'til done at 225°.
  13. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Smoking Fanatic

    I can agree with that. if it is experimental then have at it! just play with the times a bit. the first few hours is for the smoke penetration then the foil time acts as convection and really softens up the meat lastly you throw it back on to try and get a bark. i've also heard people say that while it is foiled to put the ribs in bone side up.

    if you want to experiment then you may also try on the last hour to crank the heat to 250 to really get the bark going.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  14. Good to know, thanks.
    I guess that is why I don't like the foiling method. I like my ribs firm, with a clean bite, that can be made without teeth if necessary. ;)  hee hee.
  15. here here!! ill drink to that!! [​IMG][​IMG]
  16. I gave the 3-2-1 method another shot this weekend. I am pretty sure the problem last time was probe location and Meat location. I think my temps were much higher below the ribs than where the probe was.

    This time I cooked 4 st louis style racks in the webber rib rack. Looked barely cooked at 3 hours but had a good color. Only cooked for one hour in foil since I still had reservation from the last cook. I took them out of the foil and they were still very firm. I cooked them for another hour but still not close. So,with family waiting, I packed them up and took them to my moms house to finish in the oven. [​IMG] Needed another 1:15 but they were tasty when they came off. They were still on the under side of perfection to me but everyone else called me crazy for even mentioning it. I feel if I had kept them in foil for the extra hour they would have been timed right at 3-2-1.

    So I cooked at 225 same as last time but with the improved airflow It seemed to cook correct.

    And what the heck A bit O' Qview

    Pulling the membrane

    staged on the kettle waiting for the smoker to start with the tBS

    Bite test.

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013

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