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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NORTHERN NEW YORK STATE
I got a new smoker and finally had a chance to use it yesterday. I had already picked up a rack of ribs, and when I looked online for a recipe I ran into the 3-2-1 method on just about every website I visited, so I decided to give that a try.
The rack of ribs looked to be about 3" too long so I cut them in half while the unit was pre-heating.
Once the unit reached 250 degrees I put the ribs on two of the wire racks, closed the door, and fed in some hickory chips.
After three hours of smoke it was time to go to the next step.
I took the ribs out of the smoker and wrapped them in foil. Before I closed the foil I showered the ribs with apple juice and poured another half cup of apple juice into each package. After closing them up I put them back in the smoker at that same 250 degree setting for another two hours. The plan was to steam the ribs like that to tenderize them. There was no need for smoke during that part of the process. As a matter of fact, the smoke wouldn't be able to reach the ribs in their foil cocoons anyway.
When that part of the process was finished I took the ribs back out of the smoker, took them out of the foil, and painted them with a heavy coating of Jack Daniels Old No.7 grilling sauce. The steaming process had tenderized them to the point where I had to pick them up with two spatulas to keep them from falling apart when I put them back in the smoker.
The last part of the 3-2-1 process called for one hour in the smoker, and that gave me the time to add more smoke while the grilling sauce I'd put on the ribs cooked down and turned into a glaze.
There are an untold number of variations on the 3-2-1 recipe. Some folks marinate the ribs before cooking them, some use a rub, and of course there are all sorts of coatings you can put on them for the final step, but I wanted to keep this first try as basic as possible, so I stuck to a flavor that I was familiar with and that way I really was testing the process itself.
I wasnt disappointed. The smoke and the grilling sauce gave the ribs a nice dark color and the tenderizing part of the process had the meat falling off the bones.