321 Ribs method – How to Smoke Ribs

Are you a fan of flawlessly savory 3 2 1 ribs? Who wouldn’t be? It is one of the easiest methods to smoke ribs that are juicy, scrumptious, and oh so tender! What’s stopping you then? Do you think that your beginner level at BBQ is not enough to get the desired results of smoked ribs? Then let me tell you, my friend, you are wrong!

Below is the recipe of 3 2 1 ribs that will fetch you incredible results despite your level of expertise, coming from someone who himself has average BBQ skills. Whether it’s a BBQ night with your family, or you are hosting one for your friends and colleagues, this recipe of smoked ribs will have everyone suggesting you host such dinners often. So, go through the recipe and do try it out, following all the directions and tips.

Step 1: Prepare the Ribs

Prepare the Ribs

First and foremost, you have to prepare the ribs before starting the smoking process. Peel off the membrane from under the ribs, off the bone side of the ribs. Then rub the ribs with the rubbing that you have prepared or with BBQ sauce. Rub the ribs thoroughly and generously and let them sit for at least an hour; the longer, the better, for the rubbing and flavors to penetrate the meat as much as possible. Leave the ribs at room temperature. Then, get to the smoking.

Step 2: 3 of 3 2 1 Method

Cook the wrapped ribs for 2 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit

The next step is to start the smoking process, the 3 in the 3 2 1 method of smoking. This involves smoking the ribs for 3 hours. Set the temperature of the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and smoke the ribs directly, unwrapped, for 3 hours. You can also use a gas grill in case you don’t have a smoker, smoke on low heat, and heavy smoke for the 3 hours. You can use flavored wood like apple or hickory to add more flavor to the meat. While the meat is being smoked, there is no need to poke it or move it around; just leave it as it is during the whole time.

Step 3: 2 of 3 2 1 Method

2 hours wrapped in foil, still cooking on the grill.

The 2 in the 3 2 1 method of smoking is to cook the ribs for 2 more hours for them to get perfectly tender. Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil after pouring butter, beer, or apple cider vinegar over them; you can choose any one or two of them for your liking. Foiling the meat with a liquid ingredient will nicely tenderize the meat while adding flavor at the same time.

You can add brown sugar as well; this will sweeten the flavor of the meat a bit while giving a nice color to it as well. Cook the wrapped ribs for 2 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit; the steaming will cause the connective tissues of the meat to break, tenderizing it. Make sure you don’t overcook the ribs; set a timer so the cooking time doesn’t exceed 2 hours. Otherwise, the meat will get too soft and squishy.

Step 4: 1 of 3 2 1 Method

one hour at 225 degrees

This is the final step of the 3 2 1 ribs smoking method, where the ribs are only an hour away from being ready to be chomped. Remove the foil from the meat and let the steam escape from the meat and clear your sight. At this point, the meat is going to be so much tender that it will fall off the bones if you are not careful while moving it.

So, carefully and gently lift the smoked ribs to get them free of the foil. After removing the foil, brush the ribs with the BBQ sauce you like, generously after brushing on the sauce, smoke and cook the ribs for another one hour at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the smoked ribs out after an hour and serve them hot, incredibly tender, and bursting with flavors.

Can you smoke ribs too long?

Yes, there is a certain time limit to smoke ribs, which if exceeded, smoking the ribs for too long can result in the ribs getting either mushy or too dried out. If you leave the ribs smoking while wrapped in a foil for more than the required time, they will be too squishy. If you smoke them exposed to direct heat and smoke, they will burn.

Why are my smoked ribs dry?

There are a few reasons which can cause the smoked rubs to dry out. One of them is that you might have forgotten to peel off the membrane from the underside of the ribs. Cooking the ribs for too long can also result in dry meat that is not tender. Another reason is cooking the meat at a temperature too high that will cook the ribs quickly but leave them dry and chewy.

Is 321 good for ribs?

3 2 1 smoking method is a great way to smoke ribs that are flavorful, tastier, and super tender. It is an easy method to cook ribs as well. With this method, the resulting smoked meat is extremely tender, like dropping-off-the-bones tender, literally. So, if you like that level of tenderness in the meat, go for it. If you would rather prefer the meat to be a little less tender than that, you would want to try another suitable method.


Here is your recipe of 3 2 1 ribs to follow if you want to relish delicious smoked ribs every time, even if you are not a pro. The outcome is going to be lip-smacking, juicy, and really tender, bound to get you compliments and appreciation. Make sure you follow all the directions and tips mentioned in this article. There is a FAQ session that will help you if your smoked ribs are not turning out right and perfect; hopefully, you will find your queries resolved with that. So, try this easy and tastiest recipe of 3 2 1 smoked ribs and show your guests and family some love.

About Kirsten Popescu

I'm a Chef with an unmatched selection of BBQ and grilling products. I have turned my passion for outdoor cooking into expert knowledge that will help you make the perfect meal, whether it's at your home or mine!

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