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How to Remove the Membrane From Ribs

I’ll admit, learning how to remove the membrane from pork ribs isn’t a pretty topic, but it’s an important one. When preparing pork ribs, removing that thin white membrane from the bone side of the slab leads to a better bite and better flavor.

Removing it really takes no time at all. It exposes the ribs to allow them to absorb more flavor from smoke, rubs or marinades. It also makes them easier to eat since that membrane, when cooked, becomes leathery and tough to bite into.

I know it sounds counter intuitive but a knife with a rounded tip works best for this. Cutco’s Steak Knife actually is ideal since it has a rounded tip and a somewhat wider blade that can wiggle in-between the membrane and bones. Once that knife makes its way under the membrane, it’s as simple as pulling it off.

You may encounter a slab of ribs with a really thin membrane that’s hard to strip off. If that’s the case then don't worry about removing it. Also note, some butcher shops may have already stripped the membrane for you.

Removing the membrane from ribs infographic.

How to Remove the Membrane from Ribs

Note: A knife with a rounded tip works best for this technique.

  1. Using a Steak Knife, on the bone side of the slab, about three bones in, slide the rounded tip of the knife under the membrane to create a space.
  2. Use a finger to lift the membrane up to release it from one end of the slab.
  3. Holding the other end of the slab, grab the membrane and pull it away.

If the membrane is really thin and hard to strip off, then don't worry about it. Also note, some butcher shops may have already stripped the membrane.

Quick tip: Use a paper towel to hold onto the membrane while pulling it back for a better grip.

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