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

Prep Time: 25 Min | Cook Time: 6 Hrs


  • 1
    4 Racks of Ribs
  • 2
    2 Cups of Apple Cider, 2 Additional Cups in Spray Bottle
  • 3
    8 Tbsp of Salted Butter
  • 4
    1 Cup of Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 5
    1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 6
    Char-Griller Rib Rub
  • 7
    4 Tbsp Honey

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. 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. Add three to four chunks of Apple Wood and close the lid.

  3. Allow grill to heat up to about 200˚F.

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

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

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

  8. 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.

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

  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.

  11. Remove ribs from grill after three hours.

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

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

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

  15. Pour over 1/2 cup of apple cider.

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

  17. Repeat with the other three racks of ribs.

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

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

  20. Allow ribs to braise for two hours.

  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.

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

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

  24. Remove and enjoy!

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