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  • David Skarin

3-2-1 Baby Back Ribs with Apple BBQ Sauce

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

3-2-1…go! Wait, that’s not it. 3-2-1…ribs! There we go. This here is a 3-2-1 rib cook that is the base method for so many ribs. If you want fall off the bone tender and delicious, this is the method for you.

This method is typically done on a smoker but can also be done on a charcoal or gas grill as well as an oven. The preferred method is on the smoker to introduce an additional layer of flavor from whatever wood you are choosing.


Fast Facts

Category: Pork

Cut: Baby back ribs

Weight: 1 slab

Grill: Traeger

Heat Source: Wood pellet

Baste: Apple BBQ Sauce (recipe linked)

Estimated Cook Time: 6 hours

Actual Cook Time: 6 hours

Estimated Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees

Actual Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees

Location of Purchase: Local grocery store

Cook Date: August 5, 2020


Ingredient List

Supply List



Step 1: Preheat your smoker to 225° Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Trim the slab of ribs of any excess fat or loose hanging pieces. Remove the membrane from the back of the slab (unless already done) using a butter knife to loosen the membrane. See video here for example.

Tip: Once you get the membrane slightly pulled away from the bone, use a paper towel to grab and pull the remaining membrane off.

Step 3: Season the ribs with whatever dry rub you prefer, I used my Sweet Rub for Poultry and Pork.

Step 4: Place the ribs on the smoker for 3 hours at 225° degrees

Step 5: Every 30 minutes give the ribs a little spray to keep from drying out with apple cider vinegar (or whatever you want).

Step 6: After 3 hours, you are going to wrap your ribs. Now, you are going to add the liquids and wrap your rack of ribs, bone side up! This helps prevent piercing the foil and have the liquids run out. Lay the tinfoil on your working surface with the shiny side up! This is more important than you may think. We want to absorb the heat, not reflect it. Lay your rack of ribs meat side down on the shiny side of the tinfoil with the tips of the bones up. Create a little bowl for the liquid with the tinfoil. Add the apple cider vinegar, apple juice and butter, then wrap. I suggest a second layer to ensure the juices stay inside the wrap. Let cook for 2 more hours.

Step 7: Remove ribs from the wrap and discard the juices and tinfoil. This step requires you to get a feel for your ribs. Slather the ribs with your delicious Apple BBQ Sauce and put the ribs back on the smoker and let them firm back up a little bit. After about 30 minutes, give your slab a look. If the meat has pulled back from the bones about ½ inch, odds are they are done. If you pick them up with tongs and the bend is starting to tear, they are probably done. If you have a meat thermometer (if you don’t, get one…seriously), you are aiming for an internal temp of 200° (careful that you don’t hit the bone as that will throw off your reading).This step can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

Step 8: Once done to your liking, remove rack of ribs from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with some sauce of the side. Slice and devour!


Check out some of our other great BBQ Sauces that would work great on ribs!


Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)


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