Johnny Trigg is a modern-day barbecue legend. In the 1990s, he dominated the competition circuit with his wife Trish as The Smokin Triggers.
They are the only team to have won the Jack Daniels World Championship BBQ Invitational on two separate occasions. Needless to say, they’re a huge thing.
In this post, we’ll go over one of Johnny’s award-winning rib recipes, as well as the components he uses and the procedures he employs to make them. Prepare to enjoy the greatest ribs you’ve ever prepared.
- The 3-2-1 method for cooking pork ribs
- Prepping your ribs
- Smoking the ribs
- Wrapping the ribs
- The final countdown
- Slicing and serving the pork ribs
- How long does Johnny Trigg cook his ribs?
- What rub does Johnny Trigg use for his ribs?
- Does Johnny Trigg still compete in BBQ?
- What sauce does Johnny Trigg use?
- What is the 3 2 1 method of barbecuing ribs?
- What is the secret to moist ribs?
- How to make tough BBQ ribs tender?
- How do I make my ribs more tender in the smoker?
- What’s the difference between BBQ seasoning and BBQ rub?
The 3-2-1 method for cooking pork ribs
Johnny cooks his ribs using the 3-2-1 technique. The ribs are unwrapped directly on the smoker for three hours, then covered firmly in foil for two hours more before being unwrapped for the final hour.
It’s difficult to determine who originated this method of cooking ribs, but it’s gained popularity in both competition and home BBQ.
The 3-2-1 technique is a foolproof method for cooking high-quality ribs on any kind of smoker.
Prepping your ribs
Johnny often uses an entire slab of spare ribs with tips and cartilage attached, but the 3-2-1 approach works with any variety of pork ribs. I used racks of St. Louis cut and baby back ribs in this recipe.
First, run your hands over the rack of ribs to check for any loose bone pieces or gritty bits from the butcher block. Remove any dirt with cold water and cut any extra fat, loose bone bits, and shiners.
Remove the membrane by flipping your ribs to the rear, non-meaty side. Unless you expressly request that the membrane be removed, most rib racks come with it.
When the membrane is left on to cook, it becomes tough and chewy, and it hinders smoke and rub from permeating and giving flavor to the meat.
After removing the membrane, generously apply your dry rub on both sides of the rack. To help the rub adhere and penetrate, push it into the flesh with an open palm. Allow your ribs to remain at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour after they have been properly dry massaged.
Smoking the ribs
While your ribs are resting, heat your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. A little temperature variation is OK here as long as you keep the temperature as constant as possible between 225F and 275F. Once your smoker has reached temperature, add your smoking wood.
Because I’m using a Backwoods Chubby 3400, the fuel supply in the firebox is a bed of B&B all natural lump charcoal manufactured from oak.
Stick to natural fuel sources like wood or lump charcoal to stay loyal to the Johnny Trigg approach. He employs one hardwood, pecan, and one fruitwood, cherry, to create a smoke with a nuanced, layered taste.
Avoid briquettes that include unneeded fillers that may have an unfavorable effect on the final product’s flavor.
I toss on 3 pieces of local hardwood, hickory, and 2 bits of fruitwood with my charcoal rolling and my smoker at 250F. In this instance, peach.
If you’ve been paying attention, this procedure should have nearly precisely timed to where your smoker is stable at temperature with clean smoke and your ribs have reached the right length of rest time at room temperature.
Place your ribs, bone side down, right on the smoking grates.
Smoke your ribs uninterrupted for three hours.
If your smoker does not have a built-in water pan, pour a container of water inside to preserve moisture in the cooking chamber and prevent the ribs from drying out. Another option is to spray the ribs with a liquid like apple juice every hour during this stage of cooking.
Wrapping the ribs
Tear out a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil big enough to wrap one complete rack of ribs, almost twice the length of the ribs themselves.
Lay the metal sheet flat on a table after three hours. Spread the softened butter evenly. In this case, I put ghee on foil the same length as your rib rack. If you’re using squeezing butter or margarine, a zig-zag pattern will suffice.
Once the butter is melted, sprinkle with brown sugar and one ounce of tiger sauce. Finally, back and forth squeeze the agave nectar or honey to cover the same area as the butter.
Using a gloved hand, combine the materials and make sure they are completely combined. If the mixture seems too thick, add a tablespoon of apple juice to thin it up to the proper consistency.
Place the ribs in the glaze mixture, meat side down. Spread the extra glaze over the bone-side of the rib rack using the same gloved fingers.
Wrap the foil securely over the ribs, allowing no gaps for air or steam to accumulate. Take care not to break the foil, but if you do, just double wrap the ribs with another sheet of foil.
Return to the smoker for a further two hours.
The final countdown
After two hours under the foil wrap, remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap them, and return them to the grates. Cook for another hour after slathering the ribs with your preferred BBQ sauce.
Remove them off the grates with a cloth or gloved hands, as metal tongues may tear the glossy bark you’ve worked so hard to create.
When the internal temperature between the bones hits 195F, the ribs are finished. They should be flexible and provide resistance when the bones are dragged apart.
When you remove the ribs from the smoker, you want them to have a little give but not fall apart. The temperature will rise to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, yielding a luscious, soft rib that remains on the bone.
If the rib meat practically breaks apart when you pick it up, it’s overcooked (but makes a great shredded pork sandwich!)
Slicing and serving the pork ribs
When you take the ribs off the smoker, they should be nice and glazed with a great bark, and if you tug on two bones, they should start to break apart. Allow ten to fifteen minutes for them to relax.
It’s now time for the prize. Turn the rack bone side up to preparation for rib cutting. With the bone side up, it’s simpler to see where to cut between the ribs.
With a very sharp slicing knife, slice cleanly between the bones being sure to leave a little meat on each side of each bone.
Plate and serve while warm.