Introduction: Baby Back Ribs 3-2-1 Style Made Easy

About: I'm a 49 year old Systems Architect living in the Midwestern United States. After travelling the world for 20 years as a consulting architect I became disabled, as a result, I am now embracing a Slow life. F…

Baby back ribs have been a fixture of family cookouts for generations. I can remember watching my Dad fret and fuss and bravely struggle with his smoker for the perfect ribs. Nowadays, things are fortunately much simpler. This easy, but delicious, 3-2-1 rib recipe is made almost effortless with the use of a pellet smoker. The pellet smoker allows for very fine temperature control, while still providing high quality smoke. Be sure to check out my other pellet smoker Instructables:

This recipe calls for only a few simple ingredients, a couple of optional ones. Proportions are for two full racks of baby back ribs.


  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs
  • 1/3 cup Ba Tampte mustard
  • 1 12oz bottle of beer (or 1/2 cup apple juice)
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 2 tbsp pork rub (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (optional)

Helpful Gear:

Follow me on Instagram - @therealcoffeedude

Step 1: Prep Smoker and Ribs

Prepare your smoker according to the manufacturer's instructions and preheat for 175-185 degrees Fahrenheit. The smoker I used for this Instructable was set to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the ribs by toweling them off and removing the silverskin from the back of the ribs. The first picture shows the silverskins still on, while the second photo shows the silverskin removed from the rack on the right. The easiest way to do this is to use a knife to slice through the middle of one of the bones near an end, peel up the edge of the silverskin, and gripping tightly with a towel, pulling lengthwise across the ribs. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to get it all, but it is well worth it.

Step 2: Three!

Mix the mustard, 1/3 of the beer (or a 1/4 cup of apple juice), the Worchestershire sauce, and optionally, 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Pour or brush the mixture on the ribs in a couple of the disposable aluminum pans. To make the ribs easier to work with, each rack can be cut in half.

Place the ribs directly on the grate of the smoker for three hours.

Step 3: Two!

Remove the ribs to a couple of disposable aluminum pans and divide the remaining beer (or another 1/4 cup of apple juice) between them. Increase the smoker temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can optionally sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar on the ribs if you would like them sweeter. I'm using a couple of delicate savory sauces, so I omitted the brown sugar in this step.

Cover the disposable aluminum pans with foil, and place back in the smoker for two hours.

Step 4: One!

Remove the aluminum foil from the pans and brush the ribs with your favorite bbq sauce, or sauces. Here, I used a spicy bbq sauce and a korean bbq sauce for variety.

Leave the ribs in the smoker for one more hour, then remove and loosely cover with foil, allowing them to rest for about ten minutes.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!

Serve and enjoy!

I like to experiment with plating my ribs, since the standard way of simply placing a wihole rack on a long serving dish gets boring and takes up a lot of space on the table.

Here I have placed a couple of rib sections in a Spanish soup bowl with some baby manchego cheese and fresh bell pepper.

Barbecue Challenge

Runner Up in the
Barbecue Challenge