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Rib Membrane

edited 8:00PM in EggHead Forum
OK, I give up - Is there an easy way to get the membrane off the back of spare ribs? Have cooked plenty of caveman ribs (outlaw deer - open fire - membrane on - altered state of consciousness)...but this is 1st attempt at formal preparation of classic ribs. Ribs are in fridge with JJ's rub - removing membrane seemed like more hassle than it was worth. How do you guys do it? Is there a trick? Is it really necessary? Going to bed - worked last nite & was up all day; will check back in when I wake up. Thanx - ERIC


  • GfwGfw Posts: 1,598
    E.B., is it necessary, probably not! Will it improve the ribs, probably yes! Removing the membrane allows the back side of the ribs to absorb the rub, etc. Easiest way to remove is to life it a little bit and then use a piece of paper towel to grab the membrane where it is lifted - olnly thing left to do is to pull it away. Check out Tim M's site - you can see a picture of him removing the membrane with paper towel.

  • WillieBWillieB Posts: 21
    Not really that difficult. Start in the center of the slab, work the handle end of a spoon under the membrane, then work your fingers under and pull to both sides. If it tears and you are having a problem, use a paper towel to give you a better grip on the membrane. Baby backs are even easier.
    Hope this helps some.[p]WillieB in Lubbock, Tx

  • EarlEarl Posts: 468
    Good Morning:
    Eric, I have not had a problem removing them. Before I go
    on, I will say 90% of the ribs I do are baby backs. This
    may or may not make a difference. I take the largest end
    & with a knife I slide the blade under to first rib bone.
    Next while being carefull, I move the blade around so as
    to allow enough room the get my finger under the skin.
    at this point I am able to lift the end & using a paper
    towel, I hold one end of the ribs & pull the membrane down
    & off the piece of rib. By the time it took me to type this
    I am sure I could have skined 4-5 racks. Does it make a
    difference, I think so. Best to try things a couple of times each way & whatever works for you, is the right way.
    Hope this helps.


  • mikemike Posts: 152
    E.B.,Hang in There,the first time I tried to remove the membrane I couldn't even find it. That was because the butcher had already removed it when my wife bought the ribs. Now I know what to look for, it is transparent and covers the back of the ribs. I start on the large rib side and slide my finger under the membrane between the two ribs to get it started, then I use a paper towel to pinch it and pull it across the ribs. After a couple of times you be able to tell others how easy it is to remove the membrane, and yes I think it makes a difference.

  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    E.B.,[p]I use the paper towel method described in posts below with success. Here's an additional tip I picked up on Danny's BBQ site:[p]"Once you have a good slab, get it really cold in the fridge, or put it in the freezer for a few minutes. Very cold ribs are much easier to remove the membrane from, than barely cool or room temperature ribs."[p]Hope this helps,

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    <p />E.B.,[p]I am getting pretty good at removing the membrane. I will try to discribe my way.[p]Baby Backs:
    at the small bone end is where we start. Membrane side up. Insert a sharp small bladed knife on top of the last small bone. Insert knife between the bone and the membrane and whatever is on top (membrane, a little meat maybe). Push the blade in the whole lenght of that smallest bone (maybe 2"). Now the sharp end should be facing the end of the rack of ribs - cut towards the end of the rack from the last bone. It will only be 1/2' to an 1' of membrane loose now at the very end of the rack. Grab it with a dry paper towel and pull at a 60 deg angle backwards. Should look like this picture. [p]I don't do many spare ribs so it may be different there.[p]Tim

  • Car Wash MikeCar Wash Mike Posts: 11,244
    E.B.,Iv'e been pulling them off for years very easily. Use a paper towel to dry of ribs. If needed get another paper towel start at the short end and work your way back to the large end. Usually takes about 1 minute. Good luck[p]
    Car Wash Mike

  • E.B.,[p] I do it pretty much the way others have described. Only question I have for the other Eggsperts is what you normally do with spare ribs that have the "extra" chunk of meat on them -- you know, where the membrane disappears in between the rack of ribs and the aforementioned chunk. Do you cut that piece off or just tear the membrane off at that point? I've seen people do both . . .[p]MikeO
  • CatCat Posts: 556
    MikeO,[p]I've done both. Sometimes that flap pulls off with the membrane; if not, I just leave it, along with the bit of membrane underneath. [p]Cathy
  • E.B., looks like the paper method is most popular, but I still just use a pair of cat fish skinning pliers and I know others do too...

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,469
    Cutting off the flap makes a nicer presentation. I usually cut them off, rub them, and cook them on the side to munch on during the cook!
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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