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James Wales

3-2-1 over cooked ribs

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I have cooked a few racks of ribs and i think that the most popular method is to the detriment of the meat, i am taking about using the 3-2-1 method. This method will over cook your ribs unless you have a rack of Flintstone ribs. I think if you stick to 2-1.5-1 that is perfect for me, the ribs still have bite, they still have plenty of taste. Does this depend on your smoker?? Temps?? Type of ribs?? Probably but if all you have done is 3-2-1 then just try another approach at least once. I would like to know what other people's approach are to ribs. I cook mine at between 225-250 rub 1hr before then do 2 hours unwrapped, 1.5 hrs wrapped, 1 hr glazed and left to do there thing. 

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Interesting point James, when people first ask what's the best method to cook ribs, I quote the 3-2-1 method. But I always say this a guide only.

It all depends on the size and thickness of ribs and personal taste, i.e. with a bite or fall off the bone.

With the Bookers ribs I use this, 2.5, 2.5, 1 method. Cooked @ 105C/220F naked for 2.5 Hours. Foiled and added Apple Juice for 2.5 hours. then naked to crisp up.

This is because I am a lazy eater, do not like having to chew on a bone to get meat off, as an example I do not like Pork Chops, to much messing around for not a lot of meat, get boarded with it and leave more meat attached to the bone they I have ate!

 

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I used to do the 3-2-1 method at 110 C for meaty ribs but I now prefer 2.5-2-0.5. These are cooked a little higher though at 120 C. This I find makes them nice and tender and retains a little texture too.

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I've found 3  2 1 can be a bit much too, at first I thought it was poor temp control on my part but I came round to the fact that there wasn't as much meat on the baby backs I was cooking so I went to 2 2 1 and found that worked for me.

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I think the 3-2-1 method became popular because it is easy to remember - and I must admit I use it when I give BBQ courses precisely because of that. 

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More ribs you cook and you will find what is YOUR preferred method. Everyone is different and with that like there ribs end result different to the next man. As others have said the 3-2-1 is a guide rather than a rule. As for myself baby backs 2 hrs smoke 1hr wrap 30min sauced. Full rack of spares 2-2-1/2. I tend to cook mine at 275f.

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Posted (edited)

Going to do some pork ribs this weekend and thought I'd have a check on here. I'll be trying 2.5 / 2 / 0.5. I guess 3-2-1 is for a full rack of spare ribs, whereas most of the time in the UK we cook baby backs which at a bit smaller?

Edited by dl8860

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7 hours ago, dl8860 said:

 whereas most of the time in the UK we cook baby backs which at a bit smaller?

I guess it is what you get used to. I tend to find baby back ribs a bit of a waste of time - but then I do like to bite into a good piece of meat on my ribs. For several years now I have only been cooking the "Meaty Ribs" which are full racks of spare ribs with a lot of meat still on them. Most butchers will supply them if you ask and Bookers almost always have them in stock. 

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If you buy them from supermarkets, then yes they will almost always be baby backs. 

 

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You've inspired me to hunt down some proper ribs instead of baby backs 

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10 hours ago, Smokin Monkey said:

Bookers Meaty Ribs in the yellow box are the ribs to get!

They are frozen - and come in 10 Kg packs. They are very good ribs.

If buying ribs from your butcher then he/she may want a days notice. Often they carry the frozen meaty ribs too and sell the racks individually.

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On 12/11/2017 at 8:55 PM, Eddie Buttle said:

More ribs you cook and you will find what is YOUR preferred method. Everyone is different and with that like there ribs end result different to the next man. As others have said the 3-2-1 is a guide rather than a rule. As for myself baby backs 2 hrs smoke 1hr wrap 30min sauced. Full rack of spares 2-2-1/2. I tend to cook mine at 275f.

I think I should have done this on my baby backs 

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As @Eddie Buttle says, the 3-2-1 is only a guide and it depends on both the temperature you cook at, how you like your ribs, and also the ribs themselves. Even on "meaty" ribs I find that 2-2-1 is often sufficient at 230 F (110 C).

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Did some Asian style spice ribs tonight, very tasty and cooked in a different way to what I have done before. The meat literally fell off the bone and made it difficult to apply the sauce to finish it off  But definitely will use again

2 Hours @ 225F to smoke the ribs with the Asian Spice Dry Rub  Then 3 hours @ 350F with ribs in a Chinese spices and liquids mixture  in a ceramic roaster loosely covered over with foil, to braise them.

Finishing sauce made with the remaining braising  liquid leftover after the 3 hours, mixed with a few other ingredients then reduced to half in a saucepan and used as a sweet and sticky sauce over the ribs and grilled over the coals for 5-10 minutes, turning once.

Never thought of braising them in a liquid before, certainly worked with the very dry Asian rub flavourings, not sure about normal american style ribs, that are heavy on the sugar, salt and pepper side. But worth a go if you like experimenting with different styles of ribs.

Edited by sotv
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On 9/16/2018 at 7:58 PM, Raptor72 said:

I think I should have done this on my baby backs 

Raptor 72 If your cooking baby-backs I would reduce the cook to 2, 1+1/2-2, 1/2. Check the wrapped ribs at a hour and a half, and if need a little longer re-wrap until done.  Please let us know how your cook goes.  

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4 minutes ago, Eddie Buttle said:

Raptor 72 If your cooking baby-backs I would reduce the cook to 2, 1+1/2-2, 1/2. Check the wrapped ribs at a hour and a half, and if need a little longer re-wrap until done.  Please let us know how your cook goes.  

1 hour smoke 1 hour wrap ? 

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