Skip to main content

Planning a gathering? Learn how to save 20%!

Call today +1-866-227-2328
Press Room

Step by Step Guide on How to Make 321 Ribs


Step by Step Guide on How to Make 321 Ribs

Published: 10 Mar 2023

Want to make ribs at your next party?

Having ribs at your next get together is a great idea! Not only are they incredibly tasty and universally loved, but they are also easy to cook up in large batches so everyone can get some.
Plus, depending how you cook them, you can customize the flavor to suit any palette—from sweet and sticky barbecue sauce to tangy mustard-glazed ribs. And since there's usually plenty of meat on each one, it makes for a satisfying meal that your guests will be talking about for weeks afterward.

So why not make ribs the star of your next gathering? You won't regret it.

What is the 321 Method for Ribs?

The 321 Method for Ribs is a popular method of cooking ribs on the grill or in the oven. It involves prepping, seasoning and cooking the ribs slowly over low heat for three hours.
The first two hours are devoted to preparing the rub and marinade, while the last hour is used to cook the ribs at a higher temperature.
This slow cooking technique helps to tenderize the meat, resulting in a flavorful and succulent final dish. Additionally, it allows for more control over both flavor and texture; you can adjust the seasonings or cooking time to get just the right taste and texture that you're looking for.

321 Rib Method

The 321 Rib Method is a popular method used in the preparation of ribs. This technique calls for 3 hours of smoking, 2 hours of wrapping, and 1 hour of cooking. The ribs are first smoked at a low temperature to give them the smoky flavor that many people love. Then they are wrapped in foil with some liquid such as apple juice or beer, and cooked for two hours. This locks in all the juices and flavors of the ribs while allowing them to remain tender.
Finally, they are removed from the foil and cooked directly on the grill or in a smoker at a higher temperature for one hour, or until desired doneness is achieved.

Ingredients for 321 Ribs

  • 2 racks pork ribs (approximately 5 lb. total)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water.

How to Smoke 321 Ribs

  1. Start off by prepping the ribs: remove the membrane from the back of each slab, trim any excess fat, and season generously with your favorite rub or seasoning blend.
  2. Place a rack in an aluminum pan or dish and put the seasoned ribs onto it. Cover the pan with tin foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight if you can.
  3. Set up your smoker to 225°F (107°C) – use wood chunks or chips that pair well with pork such as hickory, mesquite, cherry, or applewood and make sure it is producing enough smoke before you start cooking.
  4. Add soaked wood chips directly on top of lit charcoal. Place the ribs in the smoker, fat side up, and cook for 3 hours.
  5. Wrap each rack of ribs individually in foil with a little bit of apple juice or beer – this will help keep them moist and infuse some extra flavor. Place back in the smoker and cook for 2 more hours until tender but not falling apart.
  6. Remove from the smoker, unwrap them from the foil and slather with your favorite barbecue sauce; return to smoker for 1 hour basting every 15 minutes with additional sauce if desired.
  7. Allow to cool slightly before serving or cutting into individual ribs! Enjoy!
Note: You may want to add a few more wood chips if necessary during the cooking process and make sure the smoker temperature is kept constant. Also, it’s important to check for doneness by feeling the ribs – they should be tender but not falling off the bone. If needed, cook them a little bit longer until desired texture is achieved. Lastly, let the ribs rest for 5-10 minutes before serving!

More Rib Recipes

The 3-2-1 rib method isn't the only way to cook tender and juicy ribs. Other methods of cooking ribs include smoking, baking, boiling, grilling, and slow-cooking.
Smoking is a traditional technique that involves low, indirect heat from flavoring wood chips. The smoke adds flavor as well as moisture to the ribs while they slowly cook over several hours in an outdoor smoker or grill.
Baking is a simpler form of cooking ribs in the oven for 2 to 3 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This method does not add any smoky goodness like smoking does but it still results in tender and juicy ribs.
Boiling ribs is another fast and easy cooking method. You simply boil the ribs in a pot of salted water for 30 minutes or until they are tender. After boiling, you can finish the ribs off on the grill or in the oven to give them that traditional BBQ flavor.
Grilling is a great way to get those char-grilled flavors while still maintaining moisture and tenderness. This method involves placing the ribs directly over indirect heat and basting with sauce every few minutes until cooked through.
Finally, slow-cooking is a very popular way of making delicious ribs without having to stand by them all day long. The low and slow temperature helps break down any tough connective tissue while creating a succulent texture at the same time. To achieve the best results, place the ribs in a crockpot or slow cooker with your favorite sauce and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low heat.
No matter which method you choose, all of these methods will result in delicious and tender ribs that everyone can enjoy!