This time, we finally perfected the 3-2-1 ribs on our Weber Kettle Grill! This is a great meal to try on your next camping trip and is always a big hit with the kids and adults alike. It’s also incredibly simple to pull off with minimal effort if you do your coals right! No crazy equipment or expensive smokers needed.
All you need to do is set up your Weber for 2-zone cooking. Either use some of these charcoal baskets, or just do a smallish snake going around the outside of the grill 2 coals high x 2 coals wide. Make sure you have some wood chips soaked in your favorite liquid and ready to go.
To prep the ribs, we just remove the membrane off the bone side, pat dry with paper towels to get all of the excess moisture out, and then hit them generously with a rub of your choosing. We use a combination of equal parts paprika, brown sugar, and kosher salt plus a half part of black pepper. It’s actually the same rub we use on our Beer Can Chicken as well…
Oncee that’s all ready to rock and roll, then you can let that sit and absorb the goodness while you get your coals going. I always use the Weber chimney starter because A) it heats all your coals quickly and evenly, but more importantly B) it’s an easy way to measure out how many coals you need, which isn’t that important for grilling, but makes all the difference for smoking.
I usually fill the chimney to just under the top set of holes, which is just under half of the chimney. That should give you a nice start to your smoke. Then I fill the baskets about 25% of the way full, which is maybe another 8-10 coals per basket, on each side of the grill. Try to cram all the unlit coals up into the sides of the basket on opposing corners.
Then, when your other coals are all hot in the chimney, dump half in each basket. This will start the fuse on the unlit coals, which will heat up over time as the other ones die and should keep it pretty close to a constant 225 degrees, which is what you want. Then I always add the grill grate and pop the lid on with all the vents wide open to get the grill nice and hot so you don’t waste the first 20 minutes of cook time just heating up the kettle.
Once it’s nice and warm inside your Weber, pop the ribs on and let them go for 3 hours uncovered directly between the two charcoal baskets so it’s on indirect heat. For the vents, I leave the bottom ones between half way and wide open and then I close down the tops to just a few mm cracked. Before you close it all up, sprinkle on your first handful of soaked wood chips to each basket to get it nice and smokey inside. Use the top vent to regulate the heat as needed, but you shouldn’t have to tinker with it very much if you got your coals right. You’ll want to add some more chips every half hour or so to keep that smoke going!
After 2 hours, pull the ribs off and wrap them in foil. You should also add a few ounces of your favorite liquid into the packet before you close it all up. I always put the meat side down at this point, so the meat gets to mingle in all those juices during the covered phase. Then pop it back on the Weber and button it back up again for 2 more hours, keeping it at that same 225. At this point, I don’t use many chips since it’s wrapped.
Once the 2 hours is up, unwrap those ribs and hit them generously with your favorite BBQ sauce and throw them back down on the Weber, bone-side down again, to let them go for the final hour. You can resume the wood chips again if you want at this point too. That BBQ sauce should get a nice carmelization.
That’s it! Once that final hour is up, pull those bad boys off, give them a few minutes to rest, and ENJOY! This one is a lot of fun to make and is awesome for days at the campsite when you’re just chilling out. It doesn’t take much work, just the time, and you only really need to check on it every now and then if you have the right amount of coals going. The kids really love these too, which is a bonus.
Getting out there and making those memories, and eating good food while we do it, is #WhyWeWork! See you on the next adventure!!
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