Over the past two years we have had some great guest on the podcast with all kinds of bourbon related products. Some utilize bourbon barrels for all kinds of items. This week our guest use them to make barbecue or grilling smoking chips and blocks. Of course I get excited anytime I can try a new product for my smoker since I am always looking to improve on my already delicious smoked food. Come on now, would you expect anything less from the Big Chief? Who wouldn’t want to Smoke Your Bourbon. So with a bag of Barrel Proof Bark Smoking Chips I got busy smoking some baby back ribs to eat after an episode with the owners of Barrel Proof, Susan Jackson and Traci Hunter.

The Bourbon Road Media Player

Press play above to listen to this episode

The idea for Barrel Proof Bourbon Bark Smoking Chips was born from numerous Kentucky evenings of Susan and Traci with their husbands discussing bourbon and grilling. The two entrepreneurially minded women decided to explore the use of the barrels as grilling chips anticipating that it would add a unique flavor to grilled foods while also reducing waste from the millions of bourbon barrels that might otherwise end up in our landfills, thus the birth of their new venture, Barrel Proof.

The chips and blocks are packaged beautifully in a re-sealable bag that helps the wood retain its bourbon moisture. Now initially I thought that I might not be able to use these with my Yoder Pellet smoker https://www.yodersmokers.com/pellet/  but Susan was quick to draw and explained that I  could just pour the chips on the heat de-fuser plate of my smoker. It worked perfectly making my smoker roll blue smoke like a wild locomotive. The blue smoke is what every BBQ enthusiast is looking as it what will eliminate that bitter taste in your smoked food. As my ribs smoked it smelt of dark aged oak and bourbon mash. How do I prep and smoke my ribs you ask. Here is my secret receipt that I only share with great friends.  So I use the 321 method with my special rub and apple juice or cider. I only use baby back ribs. There isn’t enough meat on a spare rib for this big man.

What Is The 321 Method for Smoking Ribs? If you’re into BBQ, there’s no disagreeing that you’re into ribs. Doing them right is essential. That’s why learning how to smoke your ribs using the 3 2 1 method is a great skill to have. As a result, we end up with the best ribs that melt in our mouths, making it the perfect starter recipe and one that the family is sure to rave about! What does 321 mean when smoking ribs?

  • The “3” relates to smoking the ribs for three hours directly on the grill or smoker.
  • The “2” stands for the two hours we put the ribs back on the grill with them wrapped in foil with liquid.
  • The “1” is the final hour spent slathering the ribs in BBQ sauce after unwrapping them.

Is 321 good for ribs? What is the best temp to smoke baby back ribs? When using the 3 2 1 method for baby back ribs, I smoke them between 180 ºF and 195ºF.

Step 1: Preparing The Ribs, For this first step, we’ll need to peel off the underside (or bone side) of the rack of ribs’ membrane. Leaving the membrane attached to your ribs will result in less-flavorful ribs and a tough texture.  Use a paper towel to help pull it off. Then I coat the ribs in honey as a binder for my rub. Then I generously apply a BBQ rub. Place the ribs back into the refrigerator for 2 hours to let the rub and honey set in.

Step 2: 3 Hours of Smoking Unwrapped. Next, set the temp to between 180 ºF and 195ºF. and smoke our ribs for three hours directly on the rack bone side down. We can also put ribs on the grill and add smoke to simulate a smoker if that’s more convenient.

During this 3 hour smoke, don’t mess with them. Remember the saying, “If you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’.”Remember to add in your wood Barrel Proof bourbon chips in this step to get that wood flavor! I also spray the ribs with apple juice or cider every hour, I know, I know I told you not to look. This will keep the ribs moist.

Step 3: 2 Hours of Smoking Wrapped. The next two hours are spent tenderizing the meat. First, we wrap the ribs in aluminum foil to allow the meat to steam while being cooked. This steam will break down the connective tissues, making the meat tender. We spray the ribs heavily with apple juice or apple cider before closing them up. These liquids work great for that tender result you’re looking for (and they’ll taste great). You can also add more rub or brown sugar as it will add that nice caramelized color and add a touch of sweetness. Similar to the three hours of smoking, we should keep the temperature at 180 ºF and 195ºF when cooking for two hours. Here, you’ll still place these bone side down.

Step 4: 1 Final Hour of Smoking. I don’t do sauce but this would be the time for BBQ sauce if you love your ribs wet. For the last hour of smoking our ribs, we need to continue to cook them at 180 ºF and 195ºF after brushing on our preferred BBQ sauce. Let the steam escape by removing the foil. Now, we’ll be able to see that the meat is beginning to fall off the bone ribs as they become more tender. This is why we need to be careful when we’re lifting the smoked pork ribs from the foil. They’re so tender that they may fall apart. Use a sauce brush to apply the BBQ sauce after placing the pork ribs on the smoker rack. Apply a generous amount of sauce to make it tastier if you like them wet or spray with apple juice or cider. Now, we wait for the final hour by the smoker or grill. Get your sides ready because it’s almost chow time!

So pick up a bag or two of the Barrel Proof Bourbon Chips from https://smokeyourbourbon.com/  and try my rib technique. Heck see if you can improve on it and send it back to me to try. Make sure to grab that glass of bourbon to enjoy and catchup on some podcast episodes while you wait. On this episode you will hear Jim, Susan, Traci and I laugh well into the night as we took another trip down The Bourbon Road as the smell of baby back ribs smoked to perfection wafted through the room. Cheers

Mike (Big Chief)