PORK RIBS Challenge
3-2-1 Method for Smoking Ribs A Tried - and - True Method for You
1. Lastly, it’s time to go back to the grates for 1 hour of smoke at 225 F. If you want to add a sauce, go ahead during this hour. Or, if you want dry ribs, you can do that, too! It’s all up to your preferences. I like the flavor and texture of a sauced rib, myself. The true beauty of the 3-2-1 method is that you can flavor your ribs with the wood, rub, brine, sauce, and juice of your choice and the method still works great. Another great thing about this method is that you can use it to cook other pork rib cuts. It comes down to heat control. A good example is baby back ribs. Because they cook faster, some Pitmasters choose to use a 2-2-1 method for baby backs, but all you really need to do is drop the heat down to 190–200 F (from 225–230 F for spare ribs) and everything else is the same 3-2-1. Note that with baby backs, if you don’t drop the heat or change the timing, the ribs will get a little char. When all you’re doing is managing the heat, you don’t have to worry about anything else. It makes things pretty simple when you’re at the grill. Now, not everyone goes for ribs that are falling off the bone. But, again, play with the heat and experiment with your ribs. It might take a few tries to get it“just right,”but you will get to a result that you love. And that’s the 3-2-1 method in a nutshell. Another really great thing about the 3-2-1 method is how easy it is. Never smoked or grilled before? That’s okay! Follow each step and you’ll end up with some great ribs. There’s a lot you can do to get to your end result. Don’t want to use fruit juice? No problem! Add a can of
here are a lot of ways to grill up ribs, but there is one way I really love. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s called the 3-2-1 method . It’s easy and the results are delicious. Typically, you use the 3-2-1 method on pork spare ribs, but we’ll talk more about how to use it for baby backs as you continue to read on. Here’s what 3-2-1 looks like: 3. You start out with a 3-hour - long smoke at 225 F with your ribs directly on the grates. You really want the smoke to penetrate the ribs. You can use whatever wood flavor you like best. My favorites include pecan wood, as well as hickory. Others like the light sweetness of fruit woods such as apple and cherry on their pork. It’s all about bringing together your favorite flavors. 2. After smoking the ribs, you wrap them for 2 hours. Most people use foil for this step, but people have done it with butcher paper as well. When you place the ribs in foil, you want to be sure to keep the meaty side of your rack down and add some juice to the mix. The juice mixes with the rendered fat and creates a steam for unbeatable results. Sometimes I add cherry juice, sometimes it’s apple. I may even throw some peaches into a blender, mix the juice with a cup of vinegar, and add it to the foil. Find a fruit juice you love and give it a try. Some people add brown sugar, squeeze butter, and even different flavors of soda pop to their foil mixture. Here’s an inside secret I don’t share often: try on some sassafras wood for your smoke and pop a root beer soda in your foil as your juice for a real nice treat. T
Coke to each foil. Or, as I mentioned earlier, add root beer and sassafras wood for a Cajun touch.
Growing up, my dad always tried to get the ribs to his standard. He had his ways and I learned a lot. But I will tell you, the very first time I tried ribs using the 3-2-1 method, it was outstanding. I’ve found it hard to go back to the ways I grew up with. The meat was juicy and falling off the bone. For me, it doesn’t get any better than that. That’s how our family likes our ribs. I’ll leave you with this, and I can’t say it enough: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Take little steps and as you get used to it, the next thing you know, you’ll be working with all kinds of flavors, leaving your family and friends with nothing but smiles on their faces—andmaybe a little barbecue sauce.
–Danny McTurnan 1 grillingandsmokingassociation.org
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