Tips from the Pros: Removing the Membrane From Ribs
July 18, 2011
The first secret to creating tender, bite through ribs at home is to remove the tough layer of membrane that runs along the bone side of each rack. Today we turn to Larry Gaian of The BBQ Grail for his removal tips.
When you cook ribs, have you ever noticed the skin-like layer on the bone side of your rack of ribs? If you’ve never removed it then you’re short changing yourself on making the most flavorful ribs possible. The membrane will keep your seasonings and smoke from penetrating the meat on that side of the rack. After cooking the membrane gets hard and is difficult to chew.
At first you’ll get a little frustrated trying to remove the membrane. But with practice you’ll get the hang of it. Here’s a short step-by-step primer on how to do it.
The easiest way to remove the membrane is if you can get it all done in one piece. No sharp knives or other utensils that might cut the membrane should be used. Explore along the edge of the rib rack for an area that will allow you to get a butter knife or the handle end of a spoon between the membrane and the meat.
Carefully work your utensil underneath the membrane until you have enough raised membrane to grab. Using a paper towel will make it much easier to hold on to the slippery membrane. Slowly start pulling the membrane off.
Once the membrane starts to pull easily, work your way down the rack of ribs. Don’t pull too hard, you don’t want to tear the membrane off in the middle of the rack. It’s much harder to get it restarted when this happens than it was at the beginning. With the membrane removed you have a nice meat surface to season, smoke and sauce, giving you a much better tasting rib.