The Easiest 3-2-1 Rib Method

Whether you’re new to smoking or a wiley veteran, the odds are good that you’ve heard the term “3-2-1 ribs before.” It simply means, you smoke your ribs for three hours, wrap them in a foil or butcher paper for two hours, then let them smoke for one more hour to tighten up out of the wrap. I’ve tried this a few times and learned they work best with spare ribs BUT if you want true, fall off the bone, baby back ribs will work very well here, too, with this method!


  • As many racks of ribs as you want but this recipe is for one rack
  • Use your favorite pork seasoning but for this recipe we love keeping it simple with: equal parts kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp of a sweet BBQ sauce
    • This will balance well with the seasoning
  • Tin foil big enough to fully wrap the ribs in
  • Parkay
  • Honey
  • Brown Sugar


  • Set your smoker to 225 degrees fahrenheit
  • Light your smoke tube if you choose to use one
  • Rub your ribs with your seasoning

MITCH TIP: I tend to rub them the night before then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap; makes for an amazing flavor profile

  • Place your ribs on the smoker
  • Let them smoke for three hours
  • Take a large piece of tin foil and drizzle the parkay, honey, and brown sugar on it
  • Remove your ribs from the smoker and place them meat side down into the drizzle
  • Wrap the foil tightly and place back on grill; meat side down
  • Let that smoke for two hours
  • After two hours, remove from wrap, place them meat side up
  • Check the internal temp at this time
  • Smoke for one more hour or until ribs are at 195 degrees internal temp
    • This has been my best temp to remove, let sit, and enjoy
  • When ready, remove from grill and let them sit for 10 minutes before slicing

MITCH TIP: If serving to friends & family, I find it easier to slice the ribs in “bones of two” – slicing every other bone.

MITCH TIP: When it comes time to slice, spread some of your BBQ sauce on the board and flip the ribs onto that.


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