3-2-1 Pork Ribs Recipe

pork ribs

It is so disappointing to splurge on a nice cut of meat only to have it spoiled by a sub-par or failed recipe. It’s happened to all of us. But making pork ribs on the Traeger doesn’t need to be intimidating. This delicious recipe is as easy as 3-2-1. 

remove silver skin

Start off by taking off the silverskin membrane from the bone side of the pork ribs. For this, we used a plastic spreader and some paper towels to give us a little extra grip while ripping it off. If you leave the membrane on it will make the ribs rubbery and the seasoning will not get absorbed into the underside of the meat. 

pork ribs rub

Next, you will want to give your meat a full rubdown with the mixture of mustard, apple juice, and Worcestershire sauce. This will help protect the meat, trap in some of that moisture, and help the seasonings stick to the meat while it cooks. Once the ribs are rubbed and seasoned they are ready for the first THREE hours of cooking, meat side up in the smoker. 

ribs in tinfoil

For the next layer of flavor, you will pull the meat out and prepare a little tin foil boat for the ribs to sit in by folding up the edges on a long sheet of aluminum foil. Put a quarter of the butter, brown sugar, and honey on the bottom layer of tin foil and set the ribs on top, meat-side down. Then add more of the butter, brown sugar, and honey on top of the ribs. Top with another sheet of aluminum foil and seal off the edges so all of the juices stay trapped inside while it cooks for TWO more hours. 

pork ribs

The final step is carefully taking the ribs back out of the tin foil and slathering on your favorite BBQ sauce. You can try this recipe from Chef Todd or go with the trusty Traeger ‘Que Barbecue Sauce. Once the ribs are covered, move them back to the smoker and cook them directly on the grate, meat side up, for ONE more hour.

Sure, this way of cooking pork ribs is an investment in time. But following these steps makes it as easy as 3-2-1, enjoy! 

3-2-1 Pork Ribs

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  • 2 racks of baby back pork ribs
  • ⅓ cup yellow mustard
  • ½ cup apple juice (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub (to taste)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup Mike’s Hot Honey
  • 1 cup Traeger ‘Que BBQ Sauce



If the butcher hasn’t already done it, use a butter knife and paper towel to pry away and remove silverskin membrane from the bone side of ribs.


In a small bowl, combine mustard, ¼ cup apple juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Spread mixture on both sides of ribs and generously season with Traeger Pork Poultry Rub.


Set smoker temperature to 180℉ and close lid to preheat for 15 minutes. Smoke ribs directly on the grate, meat-side up for THREE hours (until internal temperature reaches about 160℉). Remove from grill and increase temperature to 225℉.


Tear off a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil long enough to fit a rack of ribs and pull up the sides to make a boat that keeps liquid inside. Put a quarter of the butter, brown sugar, and honey in the bottom of the foil. Transfer one rack of ribs meat side down to foil and sprinkle with another quarter of the butter, brown sugar, and hot honey, and pour in half of the remaining apple juice. Lay another long piece of foil over top and tightly crimp edges together. Repeat with second rack of ribs.


Return foiled ribs to smoker and cook for TWO hours (until internal temperature reaches about 205℉.


Gently remove ribs and discard the foil. Brush ribs with Traeger ‘Que Barbecue Sauce on both sides. Arrange ribs directly on grate, meat side up, and cook ONE more hour until sauce tightens.


Remove ribs from the grill and let rest a few minutes before serving.

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