Smoking St Louis Ribs

…on an electric smoker today. I do it a few times a year, but still have to look it up. I’m finding the 3-2-1 variation, but they speak of braising! Surely there must be alternatives! I last tried this during a power outage several weeks ago, on a stovetop smoker, and was appalled by the steamed texture.

The bottom rack is trimmings.


Maybe I should smoke some turkey wings too. Anybody done that?

Are you asking for different ways to cook the ribs? The 3-2-1 method is really just a way of trying to keep your ribs from drying out where the middle part has them wrapped in foil. People vary the numbers depending on the kind of rib or the temperature of the cook. Some people think that wrapping them in foil steams them. It sounds like you felt that was problem with yours.

I don’t have a smoker, so I use my gas grill to smoke ribs. I don’t wrap them in foil, I just let them cook. Some people like to spritz their ribs with a liquid, particularly during the last hour or so. I don’t do that either. My ribs turn out fine, or at least they turn out well enough that my family is unwilling to complain. They aren’t necessarily shy about that.

On one of the cooking shows yesterday a guy cooked St. Louis ribs on a charcoal grill. He was cooking at 350 and used a 1-1-1. In the last hour he spritzed them with pickle juice. He said that once the meat hits 140 it stops “accepting” smoke. It is just cooking.


Maybe. Mostly I am wondering who else is smoking, grilling, and BarBQing on what we in the US think of as Labor day, the last bit of a disappointing summer.

I always have to work on Labor Day, so that day was yesterday for me. And I cooked St. Louis ribs on my gas grill.

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Understood. I remember working “every third”. Shudder. Hope they satisfied.

I’m trying 3-1-1, and added some turkey wings.


I did the 3 2 1 method on the Traeger last week . They came out so disappointing and horrible. Way way over cooked .The bones were dried out candlesticks. I’m going back to my old method. 1 hour of smoke . Turn up to 250 for a hour and forty five . In fact I’m doing a rack tonight. No wrapping just straight cooking .


@Jolly, I did a batch on a stovetop smoker a few weeks ago during a power outage followed by a wildfire, and I had no electric smoker. That was disappointing, but since our house didn’t burn down, it was still a win.

@emglow101 What cut were you using? I think those are baby backs. Husband likes baby backs, but that’s not going to happen if I’m buying.

Mine were salvaged from our recent power outage and fires, and if these were disappointing, I would have been pissed.

I ended up doing 3. Maybe 3-1, as in smoked at 225 for 3 hours then brought inside and stowed covered with foil in the oven for about an hour, and then we ate. Even my fatty-meat-hating-husband enjoyed them! The turkey wings are still smoking.

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Your ribs look great. I did St. Louis cut ribs on the smoker yesterday as well. I typically go with 3 hours of smoke at 225 followed by another 3 hours (plus or minus - it depends on the thickness of the ribs themselves) without smoke. I put a bit of water in my drip pan to keep them from drying out, but I don’t wrap. About an hour before I think they will be done I usually baste lightly with a mixture of melted butter, a bit of dry rub, some vinegar and a little BBQ sauce - this dries out a bit and gives them just enough of a tasty coating - moister than dry rub, but not “sauced” either (I prefer them this way; DH likes more sauce so adds some at the table).

I pushed the heat up to 240 for the first few hours yesterday because my racks were a bit thicker than usual and I didn’t want to wait all day. Still took almost exactly six hours to get fully tender but not falling off the bone (I also let them rest for 30 mins before slicing, which I think improves the texture dramatically). My smoker is just a little too small to hold a full rack, so I cut them in half and put the thicker halves in first, followed by the thinner halves 45ish mins later - they cook much more evenly this way.

Anyway, I agree with you that this summer has been something of a flop, but hopefully your ribs made your Labor Day special! I’m about to go enjoy the leftovers for dinner!


Thank you @biondanonima, and that sounds amazing. What isn’t better with melted butter? I usually use the BBQ spice recipe from The New Professional Chef (ha ha).

Here are the smoked turkey wings. Not sure if they reached temp, but stick a fork in ME because I’M done.


Getting ready . Thin coating of french’s mustard , pepper , and the pork rub . I barely do anything. I prefer to leave the membrane on . Once their on the traeger I just leave them alone until done.


Those look VERY nice, and your method soundson point!

I always have to remind myself that to me, Baby Backs are more like loin than shoulder, so they cook differently.


12 minutes to long. Still good.


I’m sure it was.

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Smoked ribs again. Not done yet, but I’ll be too tired to share when they are.


Nice bark! Enjoy!

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I preferably [hickory] smoke baby backs but sometimes sacrifice some St Louis. I departed from 3-2-1 long ago in favor of 2.5-1.5-.5 [235F] Personally I find wrapping in foil results in a n undesirable mushy texture. Alternatively I wrap in pink butcher paper. Actually anything I wrap is in pink butcher plate.

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I mist in the first 2 hours as the moisture helps to bind the smoke to the protein.


Anyone else smoking ribs today? It is “July 4th”, or I believe “Independence Day” here in the United States.

I have two pieces of St. Louis cut, one of which was previously frozen. Smoking at least the first two hours at 225 f in my electric smoker, with this Thermoworks ChefAlarm thermometer.

As many times as I have done this ( maybe twice a year for at least 6 years with this smoker) I still have to look up how to do it.

I’m starting with this “recipe” this year, with a bar b q spice mix recipe from “The New Professional Chef” book, and cherry wood, but don’t anticipate any wrapping, so I’m still looking.


We need pictures!
How much time per pound at 225 are you doing?
That’s a lot of instructions. I’ve never foiled ribs.
Jeez Louise!

This guy is pretty good.
This is the standard style I was raised on.

And a bonus from Steve.

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