How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (2023)

  • August 8, 2022
  • grills

How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (1)

Hello everyone, in this article we are sharing with you an amazing Z-Grill Spare Ribs recipe. The 3-2-1 method is used, explained below. So let's start.

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    What is the 3-2-1 Smoked Rib Method?

    If you already know how to smoke pork ribs, all you need to know about the 3-2-1 technique is that you smoke the first three hours as you normally would, then cook the ribs in aluminum foil for two hours, then cook. unwrapped for another hour. In the first three hours, when most of the smoke is absorbed, the meat has time to absorb the smoke. Pork ribs are steamed while wrapped, increasing their tenderness and separating the meat from the bone. In the final hour, the ribs are again exposed to dry, smoky heat, creating a shallow crust.

    In this guide you will learn how to prepare the ribs and apply the rub, how to cook the ribs, wrap them in aluminum foil and smoke them bone-side up, then unwrap and smoke them bone-side down. Finally, we show you how to apply a sauce in the last 30 minutes. This is a very easy recipe for beginners to follow, so don't worry if this is your first time smoking ribs.

    We use the amazing Z Grills 700D3 with competition mix pellets - it's everything you need to take your outdoor cooking to the next level!

    If you are looking for a new grill, the Z Grills are the ideal choice for your first wood pellet grill. We are barbecue grill manufacturers with more than 30 years of experience in the sector. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million stoves manufactured.

    How long to smoke pork ribs 225F?

    We usually cook ribs at a constant 225F; However, to get a little more smoky flavor in the ribs, we started with a temperature of 180F. We'll use the 3-2-1 method, but we'll just change the temperature at different stages.

    Total cooking time: 5 hours and 30 minutes

    Level 1: 180F for 3 hours

    Level 2: 225F for 2 hours

    Level 3: 225F for 30 minutes

    Did the 3-2-1 method break out?

    The most common complaint about ribs is that they often come out tough and dry. Smoking ribs using the 3-2-1 method almost always results in tender ribs that fall off the bone. Although we use the 3-2-1 method, we have modified it slightly. Instead of smoking the ribs for the last full hour in stage 3, we only smoked them for 30 minutes. This should ensure they don't overcook. They came out perfect! There is no hard and fast rule for the 3-2-1 method, it serves as a guide. You can change cooking times at will; When the ribs are done, they're done!

    Should you put mustard on pork ribs before rubbing?

    Yes, it is highly recommended to put mustard on the ribs before adding the rub, in fact it is a very popular grilling technique. It is believed to help the meat absorb friction. Some people might find this off-putting because the idea of ​​ribs soaked in mustard doesn't sound particularly appealing. But if you get a chance to use this technique, you'll be surprised to find that it doesn't affect the final taste of the ribs in any way.


    • Two Baby Rib Racks
    • Mustard
    • Exclusive Condiment Lanes Scrub
    • Lane's A Little Sweet Barbecue Sauce (or make your own homemade barbecue sauce)
    • Butter
    • Dra. Pfeffer

    How to Smoke Pork Ribs with the 3-2-1 Method, Step by Step

    Step 1. Remove the membrane

    Some people like to leave the membrane on, but we personally prefer to remove it. The thin membrane that covers the back of the ribs can be chewy and will not break down when the ribs are cooked through.

    Start by removing the membrane with a butter knife; After separating enough, take a paper towel and gently pull until the membrane is completely removed.

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (2)

    (Video) How To Smoke Baby Back Ribs on a Pellet Grill? | Z Grills

    Step 2. Season the ribs: bone side first, meat side second

    To add a binding agent to the ribs, take some mustard and rub it over the ribs. This will help the seasoning to stick. Those who don't like mustard can use another ingredient of their choice, but honestly, there won't be any mustard flavor left in the end.

    Then add the seasoning first on the bone side and then on the meat side. Season generously keeping the bottle level; This will distribute the spice mixture evenly throughout the rib. Check for stray spots and make sure they are seasoned.

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (3)

    Step 3. Set the temperature to 180F

    As we mentioned earlier, we're going to cook them at 180F to give the ribs a great smoky flavor. So adjust your grill to this temperature.

    Step 4. Put the ribs in the pit and smoke for 3 hours.

    Place the ribs bone-side down on the grill and smoke for 3 hours without checking.

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (4)

    Step 5. Take them out and set the temp to 225F.

    Carefully remove ribs and increase grill temperature to 225F.

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (5)

    Step 6. Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil.

    We always double wrap, so take two big pieces of aluminum foil and add a few drops of butter. Then place the ribs, meat side down, on the foil and place on top of the butter. Sprinkle a little more seasoning and pour in some pepper soda. Do the same with the second loin.

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (6)

    Step 7. Return ribs to smoker.

    Make sure the grill temperature is at 225F. This cooking phase serves to tenderize the ribs. The internal temperature we're going through is 200°F, which should take about 2 hours to cook, but let's check in 1 hour/1 hour and 30 minutes just to make sure we're in the right place.

    Step 9. Check the internal temperature of the ribs 2 hours later.

    After 2 hours, check the internal temperature of the ribs with a thermometer. It should be 200F. We had them at 202F which is really cool. Now take out the ribs.

    Step 10. Add the sauce.

    Take your homemade barbecue sauce and put it on both sides of the ribs. Using a brush is useful as it allows you to coat the ribs evenly and abundantly.

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (7)

    Step 11. Put them back on the grill for 30 minutes.

    After covering them with the barbecue sauce, put them back on the grill for 30 minutes!

    And that's it, that's it! They must have a beautiful color. Aren't they incredibly delicious? How to cook delicious smoked pork ribs with the 3-2-1 method.

    Tips for smoked pork ribs

    Do you smoke rib bone up or down?

    It is recommended to smoke the ribs bone side down. The ribs need to be slow cooked for a long time as they are quite tough and awful. The thin layer of meat should not overcook during this long process, so the bone side of the ribs should always be facing down.

    Should I spin the ribs while smoking?

    Flipping the ribs is actually a rookie mistake. When smoking, you don't have to worry about one side getting hotter than the other, as the meat is cooked indirectly.

    What to serve with smoked pork ribs?

    We recommend any of these three amazing dishes to go with your smoked pork ribs!

    1. Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

    Delicious with a hint of heat, these poppers are healthy and fresh, an alternative to the traditional breaded and fried version.

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (8)

    get the recipe

    2. Grilled Butternut Squash (with Arugula Salad)

    The smoky complexity of this dish, which is also sweet, nutty and a little bitter, leaves you wanting more.

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (9)

    get the recipe

    3. Smoked Macaroni and Cheese

    The best comfort food! You'll love the cheese and smoky flavors of this Smoky Mac and Cheese.

    (Video) 3 2 1 Pellet Smoker Spicy BBQ Ribs Recipe

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (10)

    get the recipe

    Like smoked pork ribs, all of these recipes are best prepared on the surprising side.Z 700D3 Grills, for that truly unrivaled wood-fired flavor.

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    More delicious smoked rib recipes

    Texas-style beef ribs

    smoked meat ribs

    Grilled Smoked Pork Ribs


    About the author

    How to Smoke Ribs Using the 3-2-1 Method - Z Grills® Blog (18)

    Racks Z

    Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience in the industry. Trust us with over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million stoves manufactured.

    (Video) Smoking Ribs 3-2-1 Method

    Leave a message

    1. Erich Gilberg data:

      July 23, 2022 11:06 am.

      After wrapping in aluminum foil meat side down?


      1. grillsAuthor data:

        July 25, 2022 27:23

        Yes, with the bone facing upwards


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