How to Smoke Ribs Using the 2-2-1 Method

2-2-1 Method Smoked Ribs

Today, I will show you how to smoke baby back ribs using the 2-2-1 method.

  • 2 hours smoking
  • 2 hours tenderizing
  • 1 hour – finish with sauce

Now, before we get into the details of the 2-2-1 method, there are 2 important steps you need to do the night before smoking your ribs.

Preparation Step 1.  Remove the rib membrane.
On the bottom side of all ribs is a thin layer of skin. In our experience, removing this membrane will allow your dry rub and the smoke to more easily penetrate the ribs. To learn how to remove the membrane, see our video “Datil Pepper BBQ Ribs and How to Remove the Membrane”.

 Ribs with Oakridge BBQ Rub

Preparation Step 2.  Season your ribs and then lest rest in the refrigerator overnight.
Today I am using Oakridge BBQ Competition Beef & Pork Rub. The folks at Oakridge BBQ won first place with a perfect score on pork spare ribs in their very first BBQ contest. Since then, they have competed in many contests and placed in the top-ten in at least one category in every contest. What makes their rub different is their use of a specialized raw sugar that has a higher burning point. If any of you have had trouble with your ribs getting too dark/crispy on the outside while smoking, this is usually because of the sugars in your rub.

Oakridge BBQ Competition Beef & Pork Rub

Once your preparation is complete, it is time to get to the smoking and the 2-1-1 Smoking Method.

Step 1.  2 Hours Smoking
The first step is to smoke the ribs for 2 hours. Today I’m using a mixture of apple and pecan woods. I have a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker and I will need to refresh about every 40 to 45 minutes with new wood to keep a good smoking going.

Step 2.  2 Hours Tenderizing in Foil with Beer
After 2 hours  of smoking I remove the ribs from the smoker, wrap them in foil and immediately before I seal the foil, put a small amount of beer in with the ribs. As an alternative you can also use apple juice. The purpose of this step is to steam the ribs which will further tenderize them as well as keep the ribs moist. You don’t need to add any wood to your smoker during this step. The foil will prevent any smoke from permeating the ribs.

2-2-1 Method Smoked Ribs

Step 3.  Add the Finishing Sauce
Add the finishing sauce and smoke for 1 additional hour. For this step, you can use smoke or not. If you like a stronger, smoky flavor, then add some more wood during this step. The smoke will permeate into the finishing sauce that you are using and give you a stronger smoke flavor.

4 Rivers Smokehouse BBQ Sauce

For the complete, detailed process please see our How to Smoke Ribs Using the 2-2-1 Method Video below.

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