Ribs are simple to cook, less simple to cook well. One of the main complaints that barbecue newbies have is that their ribs turn out tough and dry. Ribs are prone to this because the meat is naturally tough and rubbery, which means that you need to use a cooking method designed to tenderize it.
Normally, the only way to make ribs tender is with indirect heat and time. Shortcut methods like boiling the ribs or using meat tenderizer are seriously flawed in that they will either not work, or they will detract from the ribs’ flavor and texture.
The traditional option is to do it the hard way and smoke ribs for 12 hours. This will work, but most of us do not want to get out of bed at 6 AM to start cooking dinner. That is where the 3-2-1 method comes in. It is a simple, easy-to-remember way to get tender ribs in a reasonable amount of time.