Perfect Ribs: 3-2-1 Method on the Dakota Offset Smoker

The Perfect Ribs

The 3-2-1 rib method might be something you have seen thrown around on social media. It’s a popular technique for smoking ribs that are tender, juicy, and come clean off the bone. Picture this: succulent ribs with a smoky exterior and tender, flavorful meat that effortlessly pulls away from the bone. Achieving such barbecue nirvana is an art, and the Dakota Offset Smoker from Char-Griller is the brush that paints the masterpiece. As the aromatic wood smoke weaves its way around the meat, the result is nothing short of perfection, a symphony of flavors that resonate with each biteSimple and easy to follow, this is a surefire way to guarantee your ribs are finger lickin’ good. test

Why the Dakota?

The Char-Griller Dakota Offset Smoker is an excellent choice for using the 3-2-1 method to smoke ribs. Its design, temperature control, smoke flavor, and cooking space make it well-suited for this traditional and flavorful cooking technique. You can expect tender, smoky, and delicious ribs when using this smoker with the provided instructions.

Sides that pair well with Ribs

Some of the best sides to complement ribs include coleslaw, whose crisp, tangy cabbage and creamy dressing provide a refreshing contrast to the rich, smoky flavors of the meat. Baked beans, with their sweet and savory sauce, add a hearty touch, while macaroni and cheese offers a comforting, cheesy indulgence. Cornbread, with its crumbly texture and slightly sweet taste, is another favorite that pairs perfectly with ribs. For a healthier option, consider a fresh green salad with a zesty vinaigrette, offering a refreshing counterpoint to the meat's richness. Whatever your preference, the right sides can enhance the joy of savoring tender, succulent ribs.

"Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start." - Anthony Bourdain

The Secret Ingredient

The Char-Griller Rib Rub is the perfect balance of sweet and smoky with a little kick, and is sure to make your ribs the envy of your friends and family. Transforming ordinary slabs of meat into extraordinary gustatory delights Its meticulous blend of spices and seasonings creates a harmonious symphony of flavors, enticing the palate with a perfect balance of sweet, savory, and smoky notes. The Char-Griller Rib Rub is not merely a seasoning; it's the key to unlocking a world of barbecue mastery. With a sprinkle of this magical blend, your ribs are not just seasoned; they're elevated to a status of culinary excellence, leaving a lingering impression that whispers of craftsmanship and expertise. The secret lies in the rub, and Char-Griller has masterfully encapsulated that secret in a bottle, inviting you to unveil the extraordinary with each savory bite.

Perfect Ribs: 3-2-1 Method on the Dakota Offset Smoker

Cook Time:
6+ hours


How many people are you serving?


  • Main

The 3-2-1 Method is a process that involves smoking the ribs for three hours, wrapping them in foil and braising for two hours, and then smoking unwrapped for one hour. This not only helps the ribs cook faster, it ensures an even smoke ring and more tender meat.


  1. 01

    Prepare your Char-Griller Dakota Offset Smoker for smoking by starting half a chimney starter of charcoal and adding it to the Side Fire Box. Tip: Add about half a chimney of unlit charcoal to the side fire box close to the barrel before adding the lit charcoal next to it. The lit charcoal will gradually light the unlit charcoal to help maintain temperature for longer.

  2. 02

    Add three to four chunks of apple wood and close the lid.

  3. 03

    Allow grill to heat up to about 200˚F.

  4. 04

    Remove the membrane from the ribs. Tip: Start at the narrower end of the rack, carefully work a paring knife under the membrane to get it started, and remove the membrane using a paper towel.

  5. 05

    Liberally season both side of the ribs with Char-Griller Rib Rub.



    • 4 Racks of ribs
    • Char-Griller Rib Rub
  7. 06

    Open the grill and raise the adjustable fire grate to the top level. This ensures even smoke distribution.

  8. 07

    Place drip pan(s) full of water under the grates and on top of the fire grate in the main barrel.

  9. 08

    Place ribs bone side down on the grates, close the lid and allow to smoke for three hours. Tip: Place the exposed bone side of the rib rack towards the Side Fire Box to get the meat to pull away from the bone better.

  10. 09

    Periodically check the temperature to ensure it is holding steady at 200˚F. If you have to add charcoal, only add lit charcoal.

  11. 10

    Every 30 minutes, spray the ribs with apple cider and move the rib rack that is closest to the side fire box to the side of the grill that is furthest from the side fire box and move the other rib racks closer to the side fire box to accommodate. Repeat the spray and rotate method every 30 minutes

  12. 11

    Remove ribs from grill after three hours.

  13. 12

    Tear off a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. (One for each rack of ribs.)

  14. 13

    Place one rack of ribs bone side up on each piece of aluminum foil.

  15. 14

    Coat bone side of ribs with brown sugar, honey, and four pats of butter.



    • 8 tablespoons Salted butter
    • 1 cup Dark brown sugar
    • 4 tablespoons Honey
  17. 15

    Pour 1/2 cup of apple cider over the ribs.



    • 2 cups Apple cider, plus 2 additional cups in spray bottle
  19. 16

    Fully crimp the edges of the foil together to cover the ribs.

  20. 17

    Repeat with the other three racks of ribs.

  21. 18

    Transfer ribs back to the smoker and increase the temperature to 225˚F.

  22. 19

    Do this by opening the dampers a little more and adding another half a chimney of lit charcoal if needed.

  23. 20

    Allow ribs to braise for two hours.

  24. 21

    Continue to rotate the ribs as outlined in step 8 to ensure that all of the racks get time close and far away from the fire.

  25. 22

    Remove the ribs from the grill and foil. Place back on the grill bone side down.

  26. 23

    Brush ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce and cook for one hour at 225˚F.



    • 1 cup Your favorite BBQ sauce
  28. 24

    Remove and enjoy!