Smoked Baby Back Ribs – 2-1-1 Method

May 20, 2008 | Grilling, Pork, Recipes | By: Average Joe

How about some Smoked Baby Back Ribs!  If you like your ribs tender and sticky then this is the recipe for you.  For this recipe I used my horizontal smoker,Smoke Baby Back Ribs the Char-Griller Smokin Pro and the 2-1-1 method for smoking ribs.  You might of heard of the 3-2-1 method which is good for cooking spare ribs, they take a bit longer to cook, however for baby back ribs we only need the 2-1-1 method.  The 2-1-1 method refers to the cooking times in hours for each part of the method.  You want to keep your cooking temperature around 225 degrees through out this process.

2 – Cook ribs uncovered for 2 hours with smoke and heat.

1 – Wrap ribs in foil and return to the smoker and cook for 1 hour, with just heat.  No need for smoke after this point.  This part will steam the ribs and make them very tender.

1 – Remove the ribs from the foil and then return to the smoker to cook with just heat for 1 hour.  So the ribs can continue to cook and firm up so they are not to mushy.

Check out this great grilling deal. Great for Grilling Season.

AmeriGas Propane Tank Refill Save $6


• 3 racks of Baby Back Ribs

• 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce

• Dry Rub

Used the below Rub for this Recipe

Kansas City Style Rib Rub

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 cup paprika

• 1 tablespoon black pepper

• 1 tablespoon salt

• 1 tablespoon chili powder

• 1 tablespoon garlic powder

• 1 tablespoon onion powder

• 1 teaspoon cayenne

Smoked Baby Back Ribs - 2 1 1 Method - Ingredients

Items used to make this recipe

• Large Serving Platter

• Smoker

• Knife

• Cutting Board

• Tongs

• Paper Towels

• Charcoal

• Hickory Wood Chunks

1.  First of all we need to prepare our ribs.  So remove them from the packaging one at a time and next we need to peel the membrane off the back of the ribs.2.  Peeling the membrane off the ribs is an important step that you do not want to skip.  You will need a couple of things to do this, a sharp knife and some paper towels.

3.  With the tip of your knife you want to get under the membrane covering the back of the ribs and pull it up a bit.  It is sometimes easiest to try right next to one of the ribs.  I always check around the rib and see if there is already a section of the membrane that has started to pull off.

Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Peel off the Membrane
4.  Once you have a piece of the membrane pulled from the bone.  Take a paper towel and grab the membrane and pull it off.  If you are lucky you can get the whole thing at once.  But that is unlikely to happen.  Keep working on it until you get all of the membrane off. Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Peel off the Membrane
5.  Next you will need to mix up your rib rub.  You can use the Kansas City style rib rub that I have listed above or you could purchase a rib rub from your local super market.  I always make the one above and make extra and store it in an old mayonaise jar.  That way I won’t have to do it next time.  Once you have your rub mixed together begin rubbing it into the surface of your baby back ribs.  You can apply some to both sides of the rib. Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Apply Dry Rub
6.  Now it is time to get our smoker ready to go.  You will want to start your charcoal and when it has ashed over transfer them to the side fire box of your horizontal smoker.  This is when a chimney starter comes in handy.  you can start the coals in the chimney starter and when they are ready just dump them into your side fire box. Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Add Coals to Side Fire Box
7.  Once your smoker has reached temperature which is 225 degrees.  Then place your baby back ribs onto the grill as shown.  You want to maintain the temperature at 225 degrees for the entire cooking process. Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Place Ribs on the Smoker
8.  Now it is time to add in the smoke.  Open up the side fire box and throw on some hickory chunks to start the smoke process. Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Add Wood Chunks above Coals
9.  For these baby back ribs we are doing the 2-1-1 method.  So we cook the ribs uncovered with smoke for the first 2 hours.  Then wrap the baby back ribs in aluminum foil and let them cook for 1 hour.  This method makes the ribs really tender.  After the 1 hour of cooking them in the foil remove them from the foil and let them cook on the grill for 1 more hour.  After the end of the 4th hour the ribs should be ready to go.  You can check for doneness by how much the ribs have pulled back off of the bone.  You want it to be at least a half inch or so. Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Wrap Ribs in Aluminum Foil
10.  If you like your ribs sticky then in the last 30 minutes the ribs are on the grill you can choose to sauce them with your favorite BBQ sauce. Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Apply Sauce
There we go some great Smoked Tender Sticky Baby Back Ribs!  Be sure to have some extra napkins on hand, you will need them.Enjoy! Smoked Baby Back Ribs - Plated

For this recipe I used the Char-Griller Smokin Pro, you can check it out at  I highly recommend the Char-Griller Smokin Pro.  It is a great smoker to start out with.


Pingback from Char-Griller Smokin Pro – Assembly
Time: May 20, 2008, 10:53 am

[...] check out the Smoked Baby Back Ribs I did with the Smokin [...]

Pingback from Baby Back Ribs – Indirect Grilling Method
Time: May 20, 2008, 2:18 pm

[...] grill or if you would like to step up to the next level check out my article on Smoked Baby Back Ribs using the 2-1-1 method.  Any one that has a grill can make them!  You just need a grill and a little bit of time [...]

Comment from Joe
Time: June 27, 2008, 4:02 pm

Great post, pics and ideas. I just slowed cooked a rack of Baby Back ribs on my blog. Come check it out and let me know what you think.

Comment from Mike
Time: April 10, 2010, 7:31 am

Outstanding baby back tutorial! I hadn’t tried the 2-1-1 method until reading through your post and the ribs delivered!!! They were delicious. Thanks and great job!

Comment from Brian
Time: June 30, 2010, 3:34 pm

Thanks. This is my 2nd time visiting this page as I need a refresher on the method. :) Works great

Comment from Paul
Time: July 6, 2010, 2:45 pm

KILLER RIBS Thanks alot

Comment from Richard
Time: October 13, 2010, 4:08 pm

I used your rub recipe for my own baby back ribs. Wonderful flavor. My baby backs were very large so I ended up cooking them the 3-3-2 method at 220 degrees. falling off the bone, and tender. Thanks for the tips.

Comment from Ribs Norm
Time: November 19, 2010, 11:48 pm

Really good cooking method and very similar to the way I make St. Louis cut ribs. Love the rub recipe, gotta try it. Thanks for the great info.

Comment from smokeribsmom
Time: December 10, 2010, 12:11 am

Love your recipes and the easy explanation of the 3 2 1. thanks.

Pingback from Memorial Day Weekend BBQ Recipes
Time: January 4, 2011, 9:26 pm

[...] Smoked Baby Back Ribs – 2-1-1 Method [...]

Comment from Ron
Time: May 15, 2011, 5:04 pm

Got a smoker for my birthday and was looking for a good recipe and stumbled over you page. Thanks to you the ribs were a complete success. Super delicious.

Comment from AJC
Time: June 9, 2011, 8:06 pm


I am glad your ribs came out good. I made some this weekend that were awesome.


Comment from Fred
Time: July 3, 2011, 8:17 am

Did yous soak the wood chucks?

Comment from AJC
Time: July 5, 2011, 5:17 pm


Yes I always soak the wood chunks or chips. I usually soak them for 30 minutes to an hour.


Comment from Jeff
Time: July 21, 2012, 5:30 pm

I am 2 hours into this process. This is my first time cooking ribs.

Comment from Teresa
Time: August 5, 2012, 8:15 pm

Great tutorial with easy to follow instructions.
This was my first attempt at smoking ribs and they came out amazing.

Write a comment