Barbecue Spare Ribs by the 3-2-1 method

Spareribs are a popular dish consisting of the ribs of pork. The meat sits between the bones and is known for its juiciness and flavour. Spareribs can be prepared in several ways, but the 3-2-1 method is a popular barbecue technique.

The 3-2-1 method

The 3-2-1 method is a guideline used to prepare spare ribs on the barbecue. It refers to the time division of cooking. Here's how it works:

  • 3-hour smoking: The spare ribs are first smoked at a low temperature, usually between 110-120°C, for about 3 hours. This helps impart a subtle smoky flavour to the ribs and cooks them slowly.
  • 2-hour braising: After smoking, the spare ribs are wrapped tightly in aluminium foil. This process is called stewing. Wrapping helps keep the meat moist and promotes tenderness. Optionally, some apple juice or beer can be added to the foil for extra flavour.
  • 1-hour glazing: After braising, the spare ribs are unwrapped and placed on the barbecue again. This time they are placed directly over the heat source. During this hour, the ribs are regularly coated with barbecue sauce to create a nice glaze.

Advantage of the 3-2-1 method

The advantage of the 3-2-1 method is that it creates spare ribs that are both tender and flavourful. The slow smoking cooks the ribs and gives them a delicious smoky flavour. Stewing in the aluminium foil helps soften the meat and makes it easier to eat off the bone. The last hour on the barbecue with the barbecue sauce creates a sticky and flavourful glaze on the spare ribs.

The 3-2-1 method takes some time and patience, but the result is worth it. You get deliciously tender and flavourful spare ribs that are perfect for a barbecue party or a cosy meal with friends and family.

Recipe Barbecue spare ribs according to the 3-2-1 method

Time: 6 hours
Serves 2-4, or as a snack


2 kilograms of spare ribs
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Barbecue sauce of your choice


  1. Remove the thin skin on the back of the spare ribs by sliding a knife under the skin and pulling it off. This helps the marinade and smoke flavour penetrate better.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder, ground cumin, salt and black pepper. (TIP: You can also use the Valhal Outdoor x De Fik Erin Viking Rub)
  3. Rub the marinade evenly over the spare ribs on both sides. Make sure the ribs are completely covered with the marinade. Let the spare ribs marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  4. Preheat the barbecue over indirect heat to a temperature of about 110-120°C.
  5. Place the marinated spare ribs bone-side down on the grill of the barbecue, away from direct heat. Close the lid and let the ribs smoke slowly for 3 hours.
  6. After 3 hours, remove the spare ribs from the barbecue and wrap them in aluminium foil. If necessary, add a little apple juice or beer to the foil to keep the ribs moist. Place the wrapped ribs back on the barbecue and cook for another 2 hours. This will ensure a tender result.
  7. After 2 hours, remove the aluminium foil and place the spare ribs back directly on the grid of the barbecue. Brush the ribs on both sides with barbecue sauce of your choice and let them grill for another 1 hour or so. Brush the ribs regularly with the sauce, turning them occasionally for a nice glaze.
  8. Remove the spare ribs from the barbecue and let them rest briefly before cutting. Serve the ribs with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

Enjoy your delicious homemade spare ribs from the barbecue!

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