Smoked ribs are one of the foundations of BBQ. There is a lot of controversy over the right way to smoke ribs – this can depend where you are from, where you usually eat your ribs and how your family has cooked ribs in the past.
My way to cook ribs is simple. I like my ribs to be tender, juicy and have a nice crispy bark. Here is my simple smoked rib recipe. For this recipe I suggest using a light smoke, low temperature and a wood that is not too overpowering – we want the flavor of the ribs to shine through!
What is the 3 2 1 Method for Cooking Ribs?
The 3 2 1 method of cooking ribs is method of cooking ribs that is super easy to remember:
- Smoke the ribs for 3 hours.
- Cook wrapped in liquid for 2 hours.
- Smoke again unwrapped for a further hour at a slightly higher temperature.
This simple smoked rib recipe is my variation on the 3 2 1 method, I use a slightly lower temperature and cooking time. In the final step I use a slightly higher temperature to ensure I get a really crunchy bark!
Charlies Top 6 Tips For Cooking Ribs
- Use the best quality ribs you can: This is an important general cooking tip – not just for ribs. You should always work with the best quality you can afford or get your hands on!
- Use a dry rub: I don’t like my ribs to be too overpowered with additional flavor, nevertheless, an important part of cooking ribs is the dry rub. Before cooking you should evenly coat your ribs in your choice of dry rub. Where-ever possible its a good idea to let the rub really wok its way into the meat by letting it marinade for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
- Remove the membrane: This is something that some people do religiously, and some people don’t care to much about. Personally I am all about removing the membrane. The membrane is tough and I think you get a much more enjoyable, tender bite without it.
- Don’t use an overpowering wood: Pork ribs have a tonne of flavor and can be overpowered fairly easily from strong woods. If you enjoy that good for you, use the wood you prefer, however I would suggest using a lighter wood like apple, cherry, hickory or oak.
- Cooking low and slow is key: It doesn’t matter if you are smoking, grilling or baking your ribs, cooking them low and slow is essential for the best result. Cooking between 200 – 250 degrees F is essential.
- Wrap your ribs: I am a fan of cooking ribs using the 3 2 1 method and am a big preacher of wrapping your ribs. Always wrap your ribs in a tight parcel and you can never go wrong!
Charlies 3 2 1 Ribs Recipe
Smoked Ribs Recipe
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- Rack of Ribs
- Beer or Cider
- Your favorite BBQ sauce
- Preheat your smoker to 200F° – 225°F as per the manufacturers instructions. For ribs I recommend using wood such as apple, cherry, hickory, or oak so it doesn't overpower the natural rib flavor too much.
- Prepare your rib rub: mix together the ground black pepper, kosher salt, granulated garlic, dried thyme and paprika.
- (optional but recommended) Remove the membrane at the back of the rack. Cut each rack down the middle, creating two smaller racks.
- Evenly, season the racks with your homemade rub on both sides.
- Place your ribs in the smoker and smoke at 200F° – 225°F for around 3 hours.
- Remove ribs and place on foil flesh side down (you will need enough foil to be able to wrap each rack of ribs up in a parcel).
- Start wrapping your ribs and make a little pool so you can cover the ribs with liquid. Cover the ribs with your favorite beer, cider or preferred liquid. Finish wrapping and make sure the parcel is closed tight and leak-free.
- Return to the smoker and continue to smoke at 200F° – 225°F for a further 2 and a half hours.
- Open your parcels and baste ribs with any leftover cooking juices and leave in the smoker uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes to harden. Increase your smoker temperature to 250°F.
- Repeat the above step, however, this time paint your ribs to taste / preference with your favorite BBQ sauce. repeat this step 2 times or until you have achieved a crunchy bark to your preference.
- Remove the ribs from the smoker and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing, serving or eating! Serve with additional BBQ sauce!