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Removing Membrane From Ribs Instructions

Removing membrane from ribs is a must if you want super tender meat that’s fall off the bone delicious! Here are step by step directions on how it’s done.

Removing Membrane From Ribs

Removing membrane from ribs is where it’s at! We will show you how to remove the membrane so the next time you cook, barbecue, smoke or bake them they’re the best you’ve ever had. Let us share these cooking basics with you. (originally published 4/19, affiliate links present)

We love ribs!! Who doesn’t right?? Ever wonder how restaurants make ribs falling off the bone and so tender they melt in your mouth? We have the secret.

Every single one was over the top delicious because we remove rib membrane first!

barbecue ribs recipe

Should you remove the membrane from ribs?

Absolutely. If you want fall off the bone pork or beef ribs you must take the extra 5 minutes to do this. It isn’t hard. The best way to smoke ribs is with the membrane removed!

What happens if you don’t remove the membrane from ribs?

If making grilled or smoked ribs the membrane will prevent the ribs from fully absorbing the smoky flavor you really want.

How to remove membrane from ribs

Here is a photo showing you the first step and how you pull it back.

rib membrane

Remove the membrane from ribs

  1. Why should you do this??
    1. It isn’t something you will want to eat.
  2. Rib membrane doesn’t allow your rack of ribs to get nearly as tender as you’ll want them to be.
  3. If you want your ribs to literally fall off the bone you must remove this piece. Otherwise it will hold the rack together on the underside.

The membrane is very difficult to remove once your ribs are cooked.

removing ribs membrane

All you need is a large cutting board and a really sharp knife. (put away the butter knife please)

  • First you open your package and rinse them thoroughly.
  • Then you’ll want to lay your slab of ribs down with the meat side facing down.
  • Use your SHARP knife to pull up the membrane in the corner and gently pulling up with your hand. 
    • do not use a table knife, you need a nicely sharpened knife to do it correctly.

Pull slowly and steadily trying to keep the membrane in tact. If it breaks mid way through, not to worry. Just separate from the bone side once again and pull again until it comes off.

Keep a paper towel handy to lay your scraps in so you can toss them out once you’re done.

Removing Membrane From Ribs 2

If you take these extra 5 – 10 minutes to do this I assure you it will be a game changer.

From then on you will make sure to take these steps because it makes such a difference in the end result. Super tender meat with just this one simple step before cooking.

Best way to cook ribs

Well, that depends on who you ask really. I have enjoyed every way we’ve made them but ultimately I prefer making pressure cooker ribs and then crisping the outside.

You can do this several ways.

  • You can place them under the broiler for 5 minutes or so to crisp them.
  • An air fryer works great to get a nice crust after they’re already cooked and tender.

Use my husband’s barbecue ribs recipe which cooks them and crisps them at the end. This one is totally amazing because of his secret dry rub.

ninja foodi ribs

Can you remove the membrane from ribs after cooking?

You can but it’s a mess. If it’s cooked with it on you won’t get the results you want overall anyway. This film will keep the meat taut and not allow it to really get as tender as possible.

Best type of ribs

That is a subjective question too. But since you’re asking for MY opinion I’ll give it to you. 😉 Hands down I will say that pork ribs are my favorite!

  • St. Louis and spare ribs don’t have as much meat in my opinion, and thus won’t be as tender. 
  • You can find beef ribs as well but I don’t bother. To me there isn’t a lot of meat and the taste of pork is just so much better.

You can make air fryer ribs too! I know that sounds crazy but next to smoked ribs it is our favorite “quick way” to make them.

Best Way to Smoke Ribs 3

Do Costco ribs have the membrane removed?

Yes they do! In fact if you purchase ribs from Costco you’ll save yourself a step because the membrane is already peeled back.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d prefer a filet over a pork chop any day. But we’re talking RIBS here, and pork wins in this category.

If you choose to use your smoker here’s a meat smoking chart to use for timing and temp.

Meat Smoking Chart

Give it a try and let us know what you think. It has been a game changer for us for years and wouldn’t make a beef or pork rack of ribs any other way now.

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