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Rib membrane question

slo-rydslo-ryd Posts: 27
edited 11:10PM in EggHead Forum
I've cooked ribs about 5 times now. All with good results, but by far the best batch were the babybacks that I forgot to remove the membrane from until they were done. They turned out simply perfect in texture and taste.

Was this a fluke?
LBGE w/modified Whiz table, Webers and such.


  • PhilsGrillPhilsGrill Posts: 2,256
    No, lot's of people don't remove the membrane. But it does allow the rub to penetrate better if it is removed.
  • Teach42Teach42 Posts: 219
    Personally, I spent about 20 minutes trying to get the darn membrane off some ribs a couple weeks ago and just said 'screw it.' Left it on, and didn't even notice a darn thing.

    As I understand it, the membrane breaks down and dissolves during the cooking process. Some people claim it helps to keep the ribs moist and tender, others say it prevents the rub from absorbing on that side.

    I'd say it's not worth the trouble to remove it.

    So there. ;)
  • I've only done this once, but you can cut a slit through the membrane between each rib.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    Its my understanding the membrane does not dissovle during the cook.
  • how do you cook your baby backs?
  • sweetthang wrote:
    how do you cook your baby backs?

    I lightly coat with yellow mustard, sprinkle with BB Butt Rub, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.

    They go on bone side down with a dome temp of about 225 for 5-6 hours. I don't wrap them in foil.
    After 2 hours I spritz them with an 80/20 apple juice/ apple cider vinegar mix every half hour until done.

    Perhaps the membrane helps shield the bottom side of the racks from some of the direct heat around the sides of the plate setter?
    LBGE w/modified Whiz table, Webers and such.
  • Any opinions from the rib experts on this?
    LBGE w/modified Whiz table, Webers and such.
  • I can't tell you for sure what happens to the membrane when it cooks but I do know it don't disolve. I've cooked a many slab of ribs and my better ones are always the ones wothout the membrane. I can make them completely fall apart on the grid without the membrane. I do know that ribs that have been frozen are always hell for me on removing the membrane. When I started getting all my ribs from Sams, fresh never frozen unless marked, the membrane comes off easy. Make sure if your buying ribs on sale at a store for 1.49 a pound or so you know if they have been frozen or not. I'm not saying I don't take advantage of huge frozen sales like that I'm just saying be ready for a little bit of a tricky membrane removal. Make sure you are using a dry paper towel to try to grab one corner of the membrane to pull. I always just take a butter knife and start in the center of the slab and try to run down one of the bones about an inch with the tip of the knife. Once I do that I stick my finger in and run it all the way down the bone under the membrane. Then I work my way out to both ends just using my fingers. If the membrane starts tearing up a lot, then I go to the paper towel trick. Good luck.
  • I bought some baby back ribs from Costco and tried to remove the membrane. It turned out that Costco already removed it.
  • mojomojo Posts: 220
    I'm certainly no rib expert! But yesterday I made 2 racks of babybacks. I was able to remove the membrane quite easily from one of the racks, and not so much on the other, so I just left it on. Both racks were seasoned and cooked identically. The rack with the membrane removed certainly folded in half with less resistance when cooked than did the other rack, but when it came to eating time, I couldn't detect a difference in taste, consistency or tenderness. In fact I couldn't tell that the membrane had been left on at all. I think I will continue to try to remove the membrane, but if it doesn't come off easily, I'm not gonna sweat it.
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