When I first began trying to create great ribs, I stumbled upon the 3-2-1 method. That’s the method that involves 3 hrs in the smoke, 2 hours in aluminum foil, and another hour in the smoke (or a variation of these times).
That method produces pretty good ribs, but there are some that say the time in foil is steaming the ribs, not BBQing them, etc. I say if you like your ribs that way then have at it. In fact, I was a 3-2-1 guy myself until this summer. I’ve had the chance to cook more ribs this season than ever and here’s what I’ve learned.
- Foil…who needs it? Partly due to the fact that I’ve begun to cook on a Backwoods Fat Boy where doing a whole lot of ribs at once makes foiling a huge, time consuming effort, I no longer wrap my ribs in foil. The Backwoods & the Big Green Egg maintain a moist cooking environment and I don’t find that I need to bother with the foil to get great results.
- Cooking at a little higher temp isn’t a bad thing. I’ve always tried to keep the cooker at 250*, but it turns out that most things are just as good at 275*. When demonstrating the Big Green Egg this summer, it was hard to keep the temp below 275* what with everyone wanting to see the meat on the cooker. Frankly, those are some of the best ribs I’ve done.
- Patience, as I’ve stated earlier, truly is a virtue. Foiling the ribs and messing with all that always seemed like the magic to getting really tender, juicy ribs. But guess what, if you’re patient and let things take their own course, good things will happen.
- 3+2+1=6 Now I didn’t have to take up BBQ to learn that math, but my new approach to BBQ’ing ribs has them finishing in that amount of time or less…usually less. I think that foiling made me feel like I was a more integral part of the process than I really am. Frankly, the fire & the smoke are doing all the work and don’t really need my involvement othen than tending the fire.
So my revised rib process looks like this:
- Put the ribs on
- Take the ribs off when they’re done
Doesn’t get much simpler than that!