If you are new to using your smoker, try this 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs method. This foolproof way creates delicious ribs with a simple process.

Smoked Ribs sliced on a cutting board
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We love using our smoker to make Smoked Queso Recipe, Smoked Cream Cheese and Grilled Bacon Wrapped Green Beans. The flavor is amazing and the smoker does all the work. We also love to user the smoker to smoke our favorite meats.

If you are recently purchased a smoker, make sure to check out Smoker Recipes for Beginners. If you love how these ribs turned out, make sure to Smoked Pork Ribs or Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe and use this ​​Best Dry Rub for Ribs for amazing flavor.

What is 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs?

This 3-2-1 smoker recipe leaves your ribs tender, juicy and the meat will just fall off the bone. This popular method is perfect for beginners and anytime I make it for friends and family they are amazed with the flavor.

Follow these steps your ribs will come out perfectly cooked.

  • Smoked for 3 hours – Smoke your ribs directly on the grill grates in the smoker for 3 hours.
  • Wrapped for 2 Hours – Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil with delicious seasoning to lock in the flavor.
  • Add Sauce – Remove meat from smoker then add BBQ Sauce. Grill or smoke for the last hour for an amazing rib recipe.

Ingredients

Ingredients - ribs, BBQ sauce, apple juice, brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, thyme leaves, mustard powder

Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe and ingredients in the recipe card.

How to Make 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs

  • Step 1 – Preheat the smoker to 225°Fahrenheit.  
  • Step 2 – Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs by sliding a butter knife under the membrane and pulling it off with a paper towel.
  • Step 3 – In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, and mustard powder. Mix well to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Combining the seasoning in a bowl
  • Step 4 – Generously apply the seasoning mix to both sides of the ribs. Use your hands to rub the mixture into the meat, covering all areas thoroughly.
Dry seasoning rubbed on the uncooked ribs on a cutting board
  • Step 5 – Place the ribs in the smoker, bone-side down, and smoke for 3 hours, maintaining a consistent temperature.
  • Step 6 – After 3 hours, remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap them tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Before sealing the foil, pour ¼ cup of apple juice or apple cider vinegar into each foil packet.
Cooked ribs in a piece of foil

Step 7 – Return the wrapped ribs to the smoker and cook for an additional 2 hours.

Cooked ribs on the smoke grill grates

Step 8 – After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the foil and place them back in the smoker. Brush the ribs generously with the BBQ sauce on both sides.

Step 9 – Return the ribs to the smoker and cook for an additional hour, uncovered, to let the sauce set and caramelize slightly and the ribs are tender.

Step 10 – Remove the ribs from the smoker and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Expert Tips

  • Aluminum Foil – Tear off large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, big enough to wrap each rack of ribs beforehand.
  • Adding Liquid – Before sealing each foil packet, adding the ¼ cup of apple juice into the packet will help create steam during the cooking process, which keeps the ribs moist and tender as they continue to cook. This is an optional step, but I highly recommend it. You can also use apple cider instead.
  • Resting Ribs – After removing the ribs from the smoker, make sure to allow the ribs to rest. It helps to lock in the juices and flavor.  
Cooked ribs on the cutting board sliced with a small bowl of BBQ sauce on the side

Serving Suggestions

Smoking ribs can be served with many side dish recipes. To add to the smoky flavor try smoking your side dishes. I love being able to cook everything outdoors which helps to keep my kitchen clean.

Here are some of my favorites.

Smoked rack of ribs on a cutting board with a small bowl of BBQ Sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature do you Smoke Ribs at 321?

In this 321 Smoker Recipe, we smoke the ribs at 225 degrees.

What is the Best type of Wood Chips to Smoke Ribs?

Use hickory or mesquite wood for smoking the bone tender ribs for the 3-2-1 method. You can also use cherry or pecan or a combination of the two.

How to Store Leftover Ribs

Refrigerate any leftover ribs in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. 

How to Reheat Leftover Ribs

Reheating 3-2-1 rib method is best in the oven to heat the meat through. Place in a baking dish in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

More Easy Smoker Recipes

We love to hear from you. If you make this 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs Recipe, please leave us a comment or a star review.

3-2-1 Smoked Ribs

5 from 1 vote
If you are new to using your smoker, try this 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs method. This foolproof way creates delicious ribs with a simple process.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Calories 903

Ingredients

  • 2 racks baby back ribs about 2-3 pounds each
  • 1 cup favorite store-bought BBQ sauce for brushing
  • Optional: ½ cup apple juice for wrapping

Homemade Seasoning Mix:

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Instructions

  • Preheat the smoker to 225°Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs by sliding a butter knife under the membrane and pulling it off with a paper towel.
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder,
  • cayenne pepper, dried thyme, and mustard powder. Mix well to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Generously apply the seasoning mix to both sides of the ribs. Use your hands to rub the mixture into the meat, covering all areas thoroughly.
  • Place the ribs in the smoker, bone-side down, and smoke for 3 hours, maintaining a consistent temperature.
  • After 3 hours, remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap them tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Before sealing the foil, pour ¼ cup of apple juice into each foil packet.
  • Return the wrapped ribs to the smoker and cook for an additional 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the foil and place them back in the smoker. Brush the ribs generously with the BBQ sauce on both sides.
  • Return the ribs to the smoker and cook for an additional hour, uncovered, to let the sauce set and caramelize slightly and the ribs are tender.
  • Remove the ribs from the smoker and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Recipe Notes

– Use hickory or mesquite wood for smoking.
– Tear off large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, big enough to wrap each rack of ribs beforehand.
– Before sealing each foil packet, adding the ¼ cup of apple juice into the packet will help create steam during the cooking process, which keeps the ribs moist and tender as they continue to cook. This is an optional step, but I highly recommend it. You can also use apple cider instead.
– Refrigerate any leftover ribs in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 903kcal, Carbohydrates 41g, Protein 38g, Fat 65g, Saturated Fat 29g, Polyunsaturated Fat 3g, Monounsaturated Fat 32g, Trans Fat 4g, Cholesterol 170mg, Sodium 2606mg, Potassium 756mg, Fiber 2g, Sugar 30g, Vitamin A 589IU, Vitamin C 8mg, Calcium 72mg, Iron 5mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Grill on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. From the Best Blackstone recipes, to grilling, and easy smoker recipes, together we are going to cook real food, with easy ingredients… for real families!

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Comments

  1. Kasey Harris says:

    5 stars
    This method worked perfectly when I used it to smoke ribs.