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321 ribs

3-2-1 BBQ Ribs (Fall Off the Bone Style)

  • Author: The BBQ Brothers
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Smoked
  • Cuisine: American


For those who like their ribs falling off the bone, try our 3-2-1 BBQ Ribs! We also have a recipe for Competition Style ribs for if you like more of a bite!


Meat used: Two racks of St. Louis cut ribs

Seasoning: The BBQ Brothers All-purpose BBQ Rub

Wood Used: Mesquite

Grill Temperature: ~225-250 F

Meat Temperature: None, until bones easily fall out of meat

Smoke time: ~6 hours


  1. First off we need to trim off all of that gross membrane of the back and apply our rub. So what you’ll want to do is take a dry paper towel and find a piece of the membrane that is somewhat loose (or take a butter knife to slide under and pry upwards) and peel off the membrane.
  2. Once you get the membrane removed it’s almost time for the rub down. Before you do that we’ll want to make sure that our rub sticks to the meat as much as possible. Coat the ribs with either vegetable oil (Matthew recommended) or yellow mustard (Andrew recommended). Sprinkle the rub onto the meat and pat it in until all of the meat is covered, including the sides. (Make sure you don’t actually “rub” it into the meat, as this will cause it to cake up and the smoke won’t penetrate the meat well). Cover with saran wrap and put it in the fridge overnight.
  3. We set our ribs on indirect heat with some wood chips of your preference (I used mesquite) at 225-250 degrees and leave them alone for 3 hours (no peeking).
  4. Next we want to take the ribs off the grill and sauce them up, then wrap them in foil with a dab of butter. The reason we are now wrapping them with liquid is to more or less steam them to have them get that fall of the bone texture.
  5. Next, place them back on the smoker for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove from the smoker and remove the ribs from the foil. Be careful when you remove the foil as you will see the bones will be sticking out which is because that the meat is now so tender it is falling off the bone. (Success!)
  6. I now re-sauce them and place them back on the grill (without foil) for an additional 1 hour. This allows them to firm up a little and develops the bark on the outside to keep them together.
  7. And there you have it ribs as easy as 3-2-1! You will find these ribs are so tender that you can remove the bones before you even serve them.


You can actually remove the bones and throw it on a piece of bun and make your own McRib with actual ribs! Just toss the ribs on a bun with onion and pickles and you're set!

Keywords: 3-2-1 style ribs, smoked ribs, fall off the bone rib recipe, game day food, McRib copycat, bbq ribs

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