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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)

Rib Membrane Removal

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.

Costco ribs instructions did not include this step the last time I looked, they should. If you make both and compare the two I am SURE you’ll agree with me that this step is a necessity.

removing ribs membrane

How to Remove Membrane from St. Louis Ribs

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.

Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!

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how to remove membrane from ribs

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Wednesday 8th of February 2023

I always remove the membrane and it is sometimes a slippery little so an so to get off. Once you get a bit of the membrane started with a sharp knife, use a paper towel to hold the membrane as you pull it off slowly. The paper towel is a game changer!

Ed Matthews

Friday 6th of January 2023

To start off with, you don’t really have to remove the membrane…just use a knife and score it all over. I make my own rub and sauce. I have two pellet grills and use a competition blend of pellets. Most of the time the 3-2-1 method can be thrown out the window bc not all smokers are alike and cook differently. I never use a crockpot, I always smoke my meats. I love baby backs , especially when they are on sale!! My two cents and Happy New Year to all. Ed. USMC66-


Thursday 1st of December 2022

I use a catfish Skinner to do this it makes it easier.

The Typical Mom

Thursday 1st of December 2022

Interesting, will have to try that out

Theresa Bryan

Monday 9th of August 2021

If I don’t have brown sugar can I use white sugar?

The Typical Mom

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

It would have a much different flavor with white sugar


Tuesday 29th of June 2021

Typical mom, thanks. New to the site and just acquired a ninja. I don’t mind the adverts, that how it works and willing to cut a lot of slack slack for useful advice as yours, even willing to click on them to get the revenue flowing, but couldn’t your instructions, which I expect to come from experimenting, be more explanatory for non-barbecue sauce addicted rest-of-the-world and Europeans? Why use acidic liquids? I’m sure there’s a good reason and in a rare moment of lucidity I could explain why but saying it would be helpful. Why use such an inordinate amount of barbeque sauce? OK, that’s a bit more difficult, can you help me there? It’s just the liquid? Could something else be used if one didn’t want to become completely Americanized in just one session, his tasting buds completely and instantly obnubilated ? People could look for alternatives, available in their areas and suitable for their tastes/requirements if the purpose is clear, stated and understood. Thanks Sorry didn’t want to sound snobbish just looking for better , clearer instructions which could make your site useful even for retards like me.

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