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Baby back ribs - 3 ways

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    Baby back ribs - 3 ways

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ID:	889518 I've been smoking baby back ribs using the 3-2-1 method for a few years on a Yoder 480 pellet grill, but have read here of other recipes, specifically eliminating the wrapping (Meathead recipe), and cutting the ribs first (Blasphemy method).

    So today I decided to do a test and cook 3 racks of ribs, each smoked in one of the three ways, and then do a blind testing with my wife. All ribs were seasoned the same way (Oakridge pork/beef rub, finished with thin coating of Bone Sucking BBQ sauce for the last 30 minutes. Smoker was set to 225 degrees.

    (1) 321 Method: The rack wrapped was smoked for 3 hrs then wrapped in foil after being dressed with honey, brown sugar, butter and apple juice. It was put back in the smoker for 1.5 hours, then unwrapped, coated with bbq sauce, and finished for the 30 minutes.
    (2) Meathead: Smoked continuously until the rack was limp and meat cracked, then coated with sauce for 30 minutes more
    (3) Blasphemous: Cut the uncooked rack, seasoned with dry rub using a bag where the ribs and seasoning were combined. Then cooked directly on the smoker for 2 1/2 hrs with the last 30 minutes coated with sauce.

    Our preferred favorite was (1), with (2) a close second. (3) trailed far behind.

    I didn't sense much difference in taste between 1 and 2 from the butter, brown sugar and honey, but they did contribute to making the meat in (1) slightly more tender.

    (1) was more tender but the rub seemed to lose its intensity. (2) was also very good with a tad more spice. (3) was tasty but the texture was much firmer, almost the same as a pork chop.

    My conclusion is (1) the 321 method is well worth the extra steps.

    Key to picture above: Rack w toothpicks were wrapped.
    Last edited by BBQPhil; July 31, 2020, 09:06 PM.

    I LOVE side by side comparisons. It’s objective and fun to eat the results either way 😂. Nicely done


      Thanks for the side-by-side comparison, BBQPhil . It's always fun to see how things pan out, so to speak.

      I've never wrapped ribs but have always been curious about it. One of these days I'll just have to hitch up my Big Girl Britches and do a side-by-side myself, wrapped vs. unwrapped.



      • HawkerXP
        HawkerXP commented
        Editing a comment
        We know why you've never tried. ..., ..., ...!

      • fzxdoc
        fzxdoc commented
        Editing a comment
        You're getting more and more subtle, HawkerXP . Smooth move.


      Those look great!


        Hey BBQPhil, what do you grill, BBQPhil. Nice test. Keep up the good work.


          Have you ever tried wrapping with butcher paper? Since 3-2-1 is your preferred method, BP vs. Foil may be the next experiment.

          Also dry brining the day before and before you que dusting the ribs with a non-salt rub.

          Playing around and experimenting is half the fun. I’ve been keeping a journal for the past 9 years and it’s fun to go back and see the progression.
          Last edited by TripleB; August 1, 2020, 12:00 PM.


          • BBQPhil
            BBQPhil commented
            Editing a comment
            I've tried foil vs paper and not much of a difference. The foil works better to contain the apple juice. Agree that experimenting is a lot of fun. I think one of the biggest variables is the dry rub and that's my next area to explore.

          • TripleB
            TripleB commented
            Editing a comment
            Troutman posted a tutorial on dry brining ribs. It was pretty good. I bookmarked it. Ive tried a couple times with mixed results.


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