Ribs, membrane on or off? What's the consensus?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokinjokin, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. smokinjokin

    smokinjokin Newbie

    Have bee removing, but then tried with membrane on, and they seemed juicer. However, that was a long time ago, and my memory is fuzzy.

    What's the argument with/without membrane? 

    Also, using 2-2-1 method, instead of covering with foil, how about placing the ribs in a foil pan, and instead putting the pan inside of a grocery bag? 
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Like you, some say they come out jucier...   I think so also.....  cooked thoroughly, the membrane "should" dissolve and not be noticeable...  so they say..... I have found that to be true....
  3. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have never left membrane on. But I often buy ribs where the membrane removal is already done. So if the processing plant is taking the time to do it then that would tell me that removing it is preferable. I look at it this way. On the ribs where I have had to remove the membrane that is one nasty piece of stretchy leather like skin. I feel better knowing it's not there.
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've gone both ways. Membrane on membrane off. Great results both ways.

    I don't do 2-2-1 or 3-2-1. Straight on the grate all the way through. Some wrap in butcher paper , some pan and cover so I don't see why a paper bag over the pan wouldn't work, unless the bag catches fire.
  5. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I pull them. On spares they do tend to be a bit tough at times.
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I leave them on. You won't even notice them when the ribs are done.

    And they do hold the juice in the ribs.

    Here's a photo of a rack of BB's, with the membrane bulging out with juice.

    This was at the 3 hour mark, when I foiled them.

  7. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Tried both ways, I find removing gives a nicer bite, especially on spares. Haven't noticed the extra juiciness when leaving it on. But that's just me! [​IMG]
  8. cksteele

    cksteele Smoking Fanatic

    yeah ive never noticed a real difference on pork ribs. but on beef  ribs i def do simply because  the membrane  is way thicker 
  9. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I give it a try when prepping. If it comes off easy, great. If it's a hassle, I blow it off. Never noticed a difference.
    I cook ours to FOTB, so the membrane is history by then anyway. Same with beef ribs...
  10. redheelerdog

    redheelerdog Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    My personal preference is remove the membrane  [​IMG]
  11. I leave it on. They come out nice and juicy, and my understanding has been that it helps keep them from drying out so I've never tried removing it. Never been a problem when eating; it hasn't been noticeable, so maybe it gets thinner through the cook or dissolves entirely. For what it's worth from a newbie...

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  12. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I always smoke my ribs without the membrane. IMO, they take on more flavor and are not tough to chew. I smoke mine naked 3 to 3-1/2 hours, at 250-275* with no foil,until a good bend, then I glaze/sauce them twice for 15 minutes a time. They always come out juicy, tender and with a slight tug.

    Works for me. Good luck, Joe. :grilling_smilie:
  13. av8tor

    av8tor Meat Mopper

    I always remove the membrane
  14. I've tried both ways... Prefer removed.
  15. I remove it.  Juiciness is not a worry since I always foil them.
  16. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    I remove it as well.

    I don't cook a ton of ribs (sacrilege I know for a lover of smoked meat to not like ribs though my last smoke may be changing my mind) but my family has never griped about it being gone so I just keep on keeping on.
  17. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I smoke ribs a lot. At least once a week.

    I have tried every imaginable way to smoke them, and even though I have my best method that works every time for me.

    Out of boredom I still try different methods, the possibilities for ribs are endless.

    But over time I have concluded that with the membrane left intact there is more juice retained in the ribs.

    Now I will accept that with the membrane off, rub & smoke may penetrate the bottom of the ribs better.

    But I like my ribs super juicy & I think you have a better chance of getting that with the membrane on.

    Of course this is just my opinion & I realize that out of 100,000 members there are probably 100,000 best rib recipes.

    What ever works for you and your family, then that is the best rib recipe, membrane on or off!!

  18. I usually remove the membrane however, when we had our BBQ business and cooked them by the case I didn't peel them. I mostly do 'nekid' ribs, rub and cook through on the grate, no foil.
  19. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Im in the camp that says to remove the membrane. If no other reason than to permit the flavors getting through. But for me, I'm into tender and meaty versus "juicy" when it comes to pork ribs. I prefer most of that "juice" which is mostly fat rendering to leak out. I like "moist" but defiantly not "greasy". With that said, I prefer to braise my ribs in a liquid in the tin foil first before they go in the smoker, then finished on the grill or under the broiler- with our without sauce. When Ive left the membrane on, they were definitely "juicier" ie  greasier.
  20. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Off, I like nibbling on the boneside after devouring the meat.
    If you leave on, score it.
    Leaving on the membrane does help keep the ribs intact when cooking fall off the bone.

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