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Spare Ribs Membrane

Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,560
edited February 2012 in EggHead Forum
A couple questions:

1) Will 5 hours of low and slow eliminate the need to remove the membrane on the back side of spare ribs? 
On my weber kettle I'd smoke for only an hour and then grill to finish, so I would remove the membrane and some of larger fat areas before cooking.

2) Can I leave the flap of meat on the top side on and not have it dry out?  In the past I've taken it off and cooked it separately for those in the family who didn't want to wrestle with the bones.  I'd be happy to leave it on if it won't dry out.  I plan to use 5-0-1 or thereabouts.  I like them tender, but not all the way to the point that they fall off the bone.
Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.


  • 250-300 for your time is good.By removing the membrane it allows the smoke to penatrate the meat.The flap is your call.By removing it,It is more like a St.Louis rack. 5-0-1 is how I do mine.Works goos for me.Indirect with drip pan with your choice of liquid.
  • Leaving the membrane also prevents the rub from penetrating the meat on that side.

    Jackson, Tennessee. VFL (Vol for Life)
  • Oh yeah,Fergot that part
  • eggoeggo Posts: 492
    I left the membrane on one slab and removed it on the other. We could not tell which was which when eating it.
    This was my first baby backs so it might have been beginners luck. At any rate, they were the best I've had anywhere. Bought them at Sam's Club.
    Eggo in N. MS
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,560

    You motivated me to experiment.  I got two slabs from Costco.  One slab is going the grill as it came from the store.  The second slab I cut in half.  The smaller side, I peeled the very top layer membrane.  I think it it still leaves a little bit of film over the meat. On the larger side I went in with a parring knife and completely got all of the film and fat off that covered the meat between the bones.  This is how I've done it in the past when I've shorted smoked them.  I would also trim other sections of fat since the cooking time was too short to render the fat. 

    The Egg is warming up and they go on in a couple minutes.  :)

    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,941
    There was a fellow, Billy Bones, that used to compete, and do big fairs. He said he did not remove the membrane (or any fat), but at the end, he would run the temp up to 425 to burn the membrane off.

    I try to remove the membrane, because I never cook that hot on purpose. But if I don't get it all off, I don't sweat it.
  • billyraybillyray Posts: 1,173
    I've done them both on and off, on low and slow BBQ's and didn't see any real difference. However, if you are grilling them for only 1 to 1-1/2 hours at higher temps, I would definitely remove it.
    Felton, Ca. 2-LBGE, 1-Small and waiting on a mini
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,948
    I have always removed it but like others have posted, decided to experiment one time.  We didn't have a preference one way or the other based on taste.  No longer time the time to remove it.
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,560
    edited February 2012
    The results are in.  These were the best ribs I've made in a long time.  Approximately 6-0-1 with the egg around 260 - 275.  I got lazy and did the last hour indirect but bumped the temp to 300* to glaze the sauce.

    One slab had the extra flap so I decided to cut if off.  Sliced it horizontally along the fat line so I had two thin pieces.  About 3hrs into the cook I put it on and took it off at the 5 hrs.  Just eating plain without sauce was awesome.  27* out and and just stood in front of the Egg enjoying it off the grill.  The other piece I put back on and sauced when I did the sauce for the slabs.  Next time, I'm leaving part of a slab dry. 

    As for the membrane test, for me, removing the membrane wins.  The membrane actually became crisp, almost like a fried pork skin, but it was still a bit tough.  The membrane tasted ok, but it interrupted the soft texture of the meat.  I noticed the kids tended to not eat the membrane when it came off.  Flavor wise, the meat with the membrane was just as good and the meat's texture was fine.  Bottom line is leaving it on doesn't really hurt, but I'll continue to invest the few extra minutes in prep time and remove it. 

    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • To many posts right now about ribs. Gotta get me some!
    Large, small, and a mini
  • i leave membrane on i feel it helps keep juice and flavor in meat.. if u cook right it has a crispy bite to it.. which i love..
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