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Learn how to cook up restaurant-quality ribs with this low and slow cooking process. The Traeger 321 ribs are everything you could possibly want in your ribs and more.

From their smokey, slightly sweet taste to their juicy, tender texture, there is a lot to love about these ribs.

Smoked 321 Pork Ribs on cutting board
Time to enjoy the Smoked 321 Pork Ribs

Traeger Ribs Ingredients

Double check the recipe card to make sure you include all of the ingredients because this is just an overview. 

Be sure to get the ingredients needed for both the spice rub and the sauce. These ingredients, when paired together, create an incredible taste that you don’t want to miss.

ingredients for smoked 321 Ribs
Grab your ingredients, it’s time to make Smoked 321 Ribs
  • Spare Ribs – Grab two racks. You can always cook more if you need more.
  • Mustard – Yellow mustard will do the trick for these ribs.
  • Brown Sugar – You can give your ribs a sweet touch with the addition of brown sugar.
  • Honey – Nothing like a bit of honey to enhance the taste even more.
  • Unsalted Butter – Cut your butter into chunks for this recipe.
spices in bowl for Smoked 321 Ribs
Mix the seasoning rub for the 321 Ribs


  • Sweet Paprika – It adds color and flavor to these ribs.
  • Ground Black Pepper – A little bit of pepper goes quite a long way.
  • Dry Mustard – It gives these ribs that zesty flavor.
  • Garlic Powder – You can never have too much garlic. This is a must for the ribs.
  • Chili Powder – Bring color and flavor to your ribs with a bit of chili powder.
  • Cayenne Powder – Just a bit of this will add a slight kick without making the ribs too spicy.

You will also need the ingredients to prepare the homemade barbeque sauce. It’s much better than using any bottled brand you can find in the stores.

What Is the Traeger 3-2-1 Ribs Method?

The 321 method is a step-by-step process commonly used when preparing ribs in the smoker. It involves smoking the ribs for three hours on the pellet grill, two hours of wrapping them in foil on the pellet grill, and then an additional hour of cooking the ribs on the pellet grill unwrapped with a generous amount of barbeque sauce added to both sides of the meat.

It’s a surefire way to ensure you have fall-off-the-bone ribs ready to serve at the end of the night. Because this process takes time, it’s a good idea to start cooking your ribs earlier in the day.

Pork Ribs on Traeger Smoker
First step in smoking the Pork Ribs

How to Make Baby Back Ribs on Pellet Grill

Prep your ribs the night before. Use your knife to get rid of the silverskin membrane, and then apply mustard to your ribs, using it as a binder. Once you’ve applied the mustard, add your seasoning blend to every side of your ribs, place the bag of ribs in the fridge, and allow everything to marinate overnight.

The next day, set your smoker to 225°F. When it reaches the ideal temperature, put your ribs on the smoker with the meat side up, allowing them to smoke for three hours.

butter and brown sugar on pork ribs
Now wrap the Pork Ribs in foil and add butter and brown sugar

Remove your ribs from the smoker, place the meat side up on your foil, add your brown sugar, honey, and butter, and then seal your foil before placing the ribs back on the smoker for an additional two hours.

After two hours, open the foil, brush both sides of your ribs with the homemade BBQ sauce, and put them right back on the smoker for the last hour. Of course, you can leave them on a bit longer if you want your sauce to get nice and thick. Remove from the smoker, let sit for about 10 minutes, and then serve.

barbecue sauce on pork ribs
Now add the barbecue sauce

Wood Pellets – Cherry or Apple?

When it comes to these savory ribs, using apple or cherry pellets will work well. Cherry wood creates this incredible sweetness that enhances the taste of the ribs, making them both sweet and savory but not too sweet. The same thing goes for using apple pellets.

The fruit-flavored pellets add a slight touch of sweetness to anything you prepare in the smoker, meaning either option would be great when you prepare these Trager 3-2-1 Ribs.

321 Ribs on Traeger Smoker
Smoked to perfection

Nothing beats the taste of these incredible Traeger Ribs. Follow the simple 321 cooking method to get tender meat that melts in your mouth.

Cook ‘em up and serve them with your favorite sides, such as a baked potato, grilled asparagus, grilled corn on the cob, and coleslaw and you will have the perfect barbeque meal.

Smoked 321 Pork Ribs on cutting board
Dive in!
barbecue sauce on pork ribs

Traeger 3-2-1 Ribs

Traeger 3-2-1 Ribs prepared with simple ingredients and cooked low and slow for meat that falls off the bone.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Smoked Recipes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Traeger 3-2-1 ribs
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 6 hours
Servings: 6
Calories: 1288kcal
Author: Mark Rogers


  • 2 racks spare ribs
  • yellow mustard
  • brown sugar
  • honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into chunks

Seasoning Rub

  • 2 Tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

BBQ Sauce (KC BBQ Sauce)

  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard


Two hours ahead of smoking (or the night before)

  • Prep your ribs by removing the silverskin membrane from the backside of the ribs using a knife and paper towel to pull it off completely. Cut away breast bone and trim ends of rack.
  • Mix together seasoning ingredients, apply mustard for a binder to the ribs, and season all sides of the ribs generously. Set in the fridge.

Day of smoking

  • Preheat smoker to 225°F.
  • Place the ribs directly on the smoker meat side up. And smoke for 3 hours or until the internal temperature of your ribs has reached 165°F.
  • Take the ribs off the smoker and place them meat side up onto a double layer of foil, sprinkle with brown sugar, and drizzle with honey and pats of butter. Crimp edges of foil together to get a good seal. And place it back onto the smoker for 2 hours. Or until the internal temperature is 205°F.
  • After two hours, remove the ribs from the foil and brush both sides with your BBQ sauce. We love our Kansas City BBQ Sauce for this recipe.
  • Put the ribs back on the smoker for 1 hour or until the sauce has thickened up to your preference.
  • Remove from the smoker and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
  • Store leftovers in refrigerator


Calories: 1288kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 88g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 283mg | Sodium: 1828mg | Potassium: 1714mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 66g | Vitamin A: 3024IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 174mg | Iron: 6mg

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