Pellet Grill Spare Ribs: [STEP BY STEP GUIDE]   

Cooking spare ribs on a pellet grill is one of the most satisfactory ways to make spare ribs. However, most people are not always sure how to do it. 

You must have heard of the famous 3-2-1 method. This technique is used to make spare ribs on a pellet grill. The 3-2-1 method means you should take 3 hours to smoke your ribs, 2 hours to wrap your spare ribs in aluminum foil, and put them back on the pellet smoker. The last 1 hour is for leaving the ribs unwrapped on the grill and sauced. 

Grilling ribs comes with several other rules besides the six hours of cooking. You also need to monitor the temperature as they cook and many other things. Read on for more!                                                                                  

How to Smoke Spare Ribs on a Pellet Grill

Apply the 3-2-1 method as mentioned before. It is a 3 step cooking method that requires one to maintain a temperature of 225 degrees for the entire period. You only need to smoke when executing step 1:

  1. Place your spare ribs on the grill grates unwrapped, and leave them to smoke for around 3 hours at a temperature of 225 degrees F.
  2. Then wrap the ribs in aluminum foil, place them in a foil pan, and ensure that the foil is covered over the top. Place a quarter inch of apple juice or any other favorable liquid before closing. Return them to the smoker, leave them to cook, and cover them for 2 hours.
  3. Unwrap the ribs by removing the aluminum foil from the top of the pan holding your ribs. You can also leave the ribs on the pan, provided they are open. Let the ribs cook for like an hour. This last step depends on your grill. You can leave them open to cook with smoke or with no smoke.

The 3-2-1 method is mainly meant to indicate the number of hours. However, people have different tastes and preferences. Therefore, they have different levels of doneness they love. Tenderizing happens in step two. Consequently, you can adjust the time but not the temperature to enhance tenderness. 

Advanced 3-2-1 method

The advanced 3-2-1 method is not much different from the previous 3-2-1 method discussed above. However, various things are added to the foil in step 2 before covering and returning the ribs to the smoker.         

Here is how to carry out the 3-2-1 method:

  1. Place the spare ribs on the grate directly with the bone side facing down. Maintain the heat for 3 hours while you let the smoke leave for 3 hours. Do not do anything, not even open the lid at this stage.
  2. Lay out a large aluminum foil on a flat surface. Use one about 36 inches long and 1 inch wide. Now sprinkle a half cup of brown sugar, three tablespoons of barbeque rub, and four pats of softened butter in the middle of the foil, an area that should be roughly the size of your spare ribs’ rack. Lay the rack down on top of the padding. Carefully wrap the foil, ensuring that you do not puncture any part of the foil nor pour the ingredients you added. Place your wrapped rack of ribs back into the smoker at a temperature of 225 degrees F. Smoke is optional.

Remove the ribs from the grill after two hours and unwrap them. Do not tear the foil to save the collected juices. You can use these juices to baste your ribs in the last stage.

Also Read: How To Tell When Ribs Are Done? [COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE]

At this point, your spare ribs will be very soft, and the third stage is essential to return their firmness.

3. Remove the spare ribs from the foil and return them to the smoker with the bone side down for an hour at 225 degrees. Smoke is also optional at this stage, depending on how you love your ribs.

Once you get them off the smoker, leave them to rest for about ten minutes before you slice and serve.

How to Cook Spare Ribs on a Pellet Grill   

Before you cook spare ribs on a pellet grill, you should understand some essential tips for successful cooking. The following three tips will make the whole cooking process easier for you:

  • Fuel. You should ensure enough fuel to carry you through the entire six-hour cooking. Imagine how bad it can be if you run out of fuel mid-cooking.
  • Flavor. What flavor do you want to achieve? Are you looking to make smokier spare ribs or want them mellow? Also, would you want them to be barbeque rubbed or served with barbeque sauce?
  • Smoke. There are many different types of smoke you can use. However, the best ones include apple, pecan, mesquite, or maple pellets.

How Long Does to Smoke Ribs

At 225 degrees F, you need six hours to smoke spare ribs using the 3-2-1 method. However, when smoking baby back ribs, you will need five hours because it follows the 2-2-1 hourly method. Therefore, the required time will always vary based on the type of ribs you are smoking and the method.                                                                                      

Pork Spare Ribs on a Pellet Grill      

When making spare ribs on a pellet grill, you need to consider various things, some of which are mentioned above. Fuel, flavor, and smoke are essentials. However, there are several other things that you should avoid when making pork ribs.

Common mistakes to avoid when making spare ribs on pellet grill

Not removing the transparent membrane from the ribs

First, flip the rack upside down and remove the transparent membrane to end up with a tender and easy-to-chew rack of ribs. Depending on how firm it is, you can use a knife or your hands to pull out the membrane from one end to another.

Putting the barbeque sauce on the ribs too early

Most barbeque sauces have sweeteners such as sugar, maple syrup, or honey. The sauce gives your ribs a sweet flavor. However, they as well have an effect on increasing burning. Therefore, if applied to the ribs too early, it can quickly char and burn them.

Overcooking or undercooking ribs

The most typical mistake among people is overcooking and undercooking ribs. Most people recommend that using a meat thermometer is the best way to determine whether your ribs are done or not. However, a meat thermometer has become tough to use on ribs.

Instead of the thermometer, focus on the meat texture. Conduct the bend or twist test to determine whether the ribs are done. Slightly twist the meat from the bone using your hand. When the ribs are done, the meat will be flexible enough to move in a way that exposes some part of the bone. Use light force when bending the ribs to prevent them from falling apart.

Grilling ribs entirely over direct heat

Direct heat quickly leads to an unevenly cooked rack of ribs. It would help if you always placed the grate on top of your grill to avoid heating your ribs. Also, high temperatures can quickly dry out the ribs.

Final Thoughts

Making spare ribs on a pellet grill can be as simple as you make it look. Following the 3-2-1 method is the best way to make tasty, juicy, and flavorful ribs. You are set to go with only six hours and the right tools.