Why do my ribs never come out right using the 3-2-1 Method?
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Why do my ribs never come out right using the 3-2-1 Method?
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Thread: Why do my ribs never come out right using the 3-2-1 Method?

  1. #1

    Unhappy Why do my ribs never come out right using the 3-2-1 Method?

    I own a fairly new Green Mountain Grill Daniel Boone smoker. I love smoking ribs and pork loin but I can never get the St. Louis Style ribs to come out right using the famous 3-2-1 method. Let me preface by saying I live at 4500ft. above sea level so things boil at lower temps here in Utah Here is what I do. I get two nice Hormel's St. Louis Style ribs and prep them with yellow mustard. Then I rub them with Memphis Dust which is homemade 2 hours prior to cooking time. I fire up the smoker and set it at 225 degrees and place the racks in bone side down. I smoke them with hickory pellets for 3 hours. Then I pull them out and wrap individually with heavy duty foil and cook again for 2 hours. If I put apple juice inside they burn and blacken badly on the underside so I stopped doing that. This weekend I decided to try just one hour and it was sufficient. I can't imagine anyone needing more than one hour foiled! When done I remove them from the foil and smoke for an additional hour with mop sauce on it and the last half hour with barbecue sauce. Everytime I do this the bottom side is charcoal and black and the meat is overdone but edible on top. I have done this several times following all the notible online methods and it never comes out like everyone else's. My thoughts are that I shouldn't be cooking them at 225 degrees. Maybe I should be at 200 or less? I would welcome any ideas or thoughts on this method for my grill and altitude.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rip's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. I've never used the 3-2-1 method, but it sounds like you're over cooking them. Here's some tips: I recommend you test them for doneness when they come out of foil and adjust accordingly. I find the toothpick test to be the most reliable: Push a toothpick into the meat between ribs, when it goes through like soft butter, they're done. (Test this on raw meat and again before you go to foil to get an idea of the resistance at various stages of doneness) Three hours without foil and one with, they should be pretty close to done already. I'm not familiar with DB cookers, but you might want to double check what temp the cooker is actually at when its set to 225. When you foil your ribs, carefully (as not to tear on the bones) press the foil against ribs to remove as much air as possible.

    I hope this helps.
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  3. #3
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    Agree with Rip, first thing is to verify what the actual temp is at the grate area your ribs are located using a know calibrated thermometer. Built in smoker thermometers can be off (the one on my MAK is off by 25º). Suggest using something from Thermapen or maybe one of the Maverick units. First sign of getting done is the meat pullback off the bone by 1/4 inch, toothpick test is a good one!

    I also do not use the 3-2-1 method (cuts into beer time ) but at 225º depending on meat, outside temps etc... my St. Louis ribs end up taking somewhere from 5-6 hours and that's with spraying them with apple juice every 45min starting at 2:30 hour mark and saucing them with 30 min left.

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  4. #4
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    the 3-2-1 method is horrible and ruins cooks and ribs. check the hall of fame recipe section. Also just cook them unless you are in a comp let them run at 250 for about 4 hours and check mop or spray a few times....they cook themselves

  5. #5
    I've used the 3-2-1 method and come out with some pretty good ribs, but keep in mind that 3-2-1 is just a guideline. I seem to go closer to a 3-1-0.5 or a 2-1-0.5 and my 3 is on smoke which is closer to 180F. Usually, but the time I unfoil, the ribs are starting to be a bit fragile, more than I'd like but just perfect for my wife. I tried the Johnny Trig method with "squeeze butter" but find you don't need it. I just sprinkle on a bit more rub, sprinkle brown sugar on the top and bottom and add a little apple juice when I foil. I even used V8 juice once, when I was out of apple juice (tomatoes a main ingredient in BBQ sauce, after all) and it came out fine.

    I will check out the ribs in the hall of fame section as Big Poppa suggests and take advantage of his BBQ wisdom in my pursuit of delicious ribs.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Poppa View Post
    check the hall of fame recipe section.
    Nothing there on ribs. Only how to trim them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rip's Avatar
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    I think BP was referring to this thread: Learn to cook by color, feel then thermometers
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  8. #8
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    When I foil my ribs I turn them meat side down and then meat side up out of the foil for the final mop. It helps keep the bone side from charrring.

  9. #9
    We cook ours in 4 1/2 hours @ 250. 2-1.5-1. That should give a great rib.
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  10. #10
    Moderator scooter's Avatar
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    If you want to do 3/2/1 you need a cook temp lower than 225.
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