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tips for BBQ | The secrets for low and slow barbecue ribs, pulled pork, brisket and more

2-1-1 Baby Back Ribs

Also Known As: 2-1-1 Ribs, 211 Ribs, Texas Crutch

2-1-1 Method -

You might have heard of the 3-2-1 method which is great for cooking full spare ribs, however for baby back ribs or St. Louis-style ribs (cut to look like baby backs) they don’t take quite as long. So the 2-1-1 method is for cooking baby back ribs. The 2-1-1 refers to the hours for each part of the method. Cook uncovered for 2 hours with smoke, 1 hour wrapped in foil and then 1 hour uncovered again. The temperature should be around 225°F for the entire cook. This process is great and foolproof way to produce moist, tender barbecued baby back ribs.

The trick to this whole process revolves around the 1 hour in foil otherwise known as the Texas Crutch. For this stage most people will add apple juice or some other liquid at the bottom of the foil to braise the meat. Braising relies on heat and moisture to break down the tough connective, collagen, in the meat. This is where you can really experiment with the liquids. It should be added below the ribs in the foil (not overtop) so the rib bones actually hold it out of the juice. You can also try the Johhny Trigg ribs recipe here too!


  1. Lightly rinse the ribs to remove any protein liquids from the packaging. Pat dry.
  2. Trim and remove the membrane from the ribs.
  3. Rub each rack with about 2-3 teaspoons of your favorite Rib Rub.
  4. Cook for 2 hours at 225°F. You can quit adding wood for smoke after the first 60-90 minutes.
  5. Remove and wrap in two layers of tin foil, if you’re adding juice pour 1/4 cup in before putting the ribs in (bone-side down). Cook for 1 hour foiled.
  6. Remove from foil and be careful with the hot juices. I normally pour these overtop of the ribs. Cook for an additional 1 hour uncovered. This will allow the meat to firm back up and form a nice crust. NOTE: smaller ribs may cook a little quicker – just check for done-ness before removing. Don’t rely completely on the 4 hours. Depending on size St. Louis-style ribs can take an extra 30-60 minutes.
  7. Sauced or no sauce is up to you, but if you like yours sauced then keep reading: Some people like to sauce them the last 30 minutes out of the foil. I prefer to wait until the ribs are done and then sauce. This allows you to turn up the heat to set the glaze while closely watching – being careful to not burn the sauce. Sauces can go from caramelized to carbonized in a matter of 1-2 minutes!
    Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

Go to the BBQ Dictionary for more definitions.

Last Updated: April 27, 2012

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