3 2 1 ribs have been around a while now and personally, they are my favorite way to do them. Today we are going to show you exactly how to make the best ribs you have ever tasted at home.
3 2 1 ribs are the perfect smoke for a weekend barbecue. You need to plan about six hours for your smoke and five to ten minutes for prep. This method is based on smoking the ribs first for three hours at a low temperature, a two-hour braise with liquid and butter and brown sugar. Then the final hour sauced on the grill. The method for 3 2 1 ribs is pretty easy.
For this method, you’ll need about one rack of ribs for every three people you’re serving. When I do it I usually use baby back ribs but it works well with others as well. You are going to need a couple of tablespoons of your favorite barbecue seasoning. I like to use a sweer rub but again use the one you like the most. For the braise, you’ll need 1 cup of apple juice, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of salted butter. once the braise phase is done you are ready to sauce. You can use your favorite barbecue sauce and you will need about 1/3 to 1/2 a cup.
3 2 1 Ribs lets go!
While the smoker is preheating you are going to prep the ribs. The first step is to remove the membrane on the back of the ribs. Some ribs will come from the grocery store with the membrane already removed. This is not always the case with the butcher and it’s always important to check. The reason is that as it smokes the membrane dries out and it becomes really leathery. All you need is a knife and a paper towel. Using the tip of your butter knife just work it underneath the membrane between two bones until you have a nice little lip that you can grab with your paper towel. Hold the ribs with your opposite hand and then just peel that membrane away. Boom the membrane is off!
Time to Season
Season your ribs on both sides. These three two ribs are a total game changer! They really started to gain popularity with the rise of pellet smokers but they are awesome on all smokers. They are perfect for events or parties. We make them all the time. The color is great and they always smell amazing. Your smoker should already be preheating outside and you are looking for a target temperature of about 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
When I make ribs I use hickory wood, I think it’s the perfect complement to pork ribs, without overwhelming the flavor. You want a nice thin blue smoke coming out of your smoker. Once the smoker is up to 180 it’s time to get these bad boys on the grill. This lower temperature is important because it’s going to allow the ribs to get a lot of smoke penetration without overcooking. That is the first phase for this three to one cooking process.
Once three hours are up it’s time for phase two. You are going to braise and wrap the ribs. You should really start to see how the smoke has already been able to impact the ribs. The color on the meat should be starting to turn dark and mahogany. Take a large piece of tin foil and put it on the work surface. Next, take the ribs and lay them bone side up on the foil. The reason you do this is so that the ribs don’t tear the foil.
With the ribs in position you should start by sprinkling on the brown sugar and small blocks of the salted butter. Next, fold up the sides of the foil so that it looks like a small boat. With the sides up you can pour in the apple juice and get the whole thing sealed up. You don’t want any air in there if possible when it’s all sealed.
Time for Phase 2
It is time to get these 3 2 1 ribs back on the smoker. Close the lid and increase the temperature from 180 up to 225. You are not going to touch these again for the next two hours and then you are ready for the final phase. When the two hours are up you need to open the foil. Use tongs and be careful because it is delicate now. You will see the meat has started to pull back from the bones. Carefully get the tongs under the ribs and put them onto the grill grate.
You can discard the juice or you can take it inside and save it. Skim the fat off the top and then add it to your favorite barbecue sauce. This is part one of the 3 2 1 rib method and so you simply baste the outside of the ribs with barbecue sauce.
The Final Phase of 3 2 1 Ribs!
Make sure they’re evenly coated. You don’t want your sauce to be too thick. Kind of just paint it on lightly, it’s like a glaze. The color on this will be amazing both from the smoke and from that barbecue sauce. Close the lid on the barbecue and let these smoke at 225 for one more hour.
When the hour is finished you are finished. Open the lid and give them a check. The color will be perfect and you will see the barbecue sauce has just tightened on the outside of the ribs. It will create a beautiful shiny looking glaze. The meat should also have pulled back from the end of the bones by about 1/2 an inch. The only thing left before eating them is to do the bend test. This is the true measure as to whether or not your ribs are perfect. Slide your tongs under the last couple of ribs and then give it a lift, when you start to see the shredding and some pulling it means they are done. It’s time to take these off get them inside and eat!
With these ribs, you can use a knife to divide them, but they should be so tender that you can pull them apart with your fingers. If everything went to plan you will see a pink layer of smoke in the ribs.