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

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

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? 

post #2 of 22

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....

post #3 of 22

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.

post #4 of 22
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.
post #5 of 22
I pull them. On spares they do tend to be a bit tough at times.
post #6 of 22

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.



post #7 of 22

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! :grilling_smilie:

post #8 of 22

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

post #9 of 22
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...
post #10 of 22

My personal preference is remove the membrane  :grilling_smilie:

post #11 of 22

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...



post #12 of 22
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.gif
post #13 of 22
I always remove the membrane
post #14 of 22
I've tried both ways... Prefer removed.
post #15 of 22

I remove it.  Juiciness is not a worry since I always foil them.

post #16 of 22

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.

post #17 of 22

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!!



post #18 of 22
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.
post #19 of 22

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.

post #20 of 22
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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