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Pulling membrane from babybacks

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
A trick I have learned on pulling the membrane is as follows:

Put the ribs in the freezer for about 30 minutes. You don't want the meat to freeze but you do want the membrane to freeze or get VERY cold.

Then take a small cake frosting knife (shhhh...don't tell my wife!!!) and slide it under the membrane between the bones. Do it from each side of the ribs to release the membrane from the meat. Then you can take a paper towel and grab one corner and pull it right off. The reason I use the frosting knife is that it is very flexible and bends with the ribs. You can use a butter knife or the handle of a spoon/fork but cake knife is much better.

Also don't forget to score between the bones on the membrane side. You can never get all of the membrane off so this will allow the rub to get in to the meat on both sides.
post #2 of 15
Thanks luv2. I fought with the membrane/skin/plaster paris on the back of some baby backs today. I'll have to try this out next time.
post #3 of 15
Thanks for the tip, I am going to have to try this out!

I've only done ribs once so far; I was having a hard time finding and gripping the edge of the membrane to peel it off. What I ended up doing was making a small slice across the width of the ribs, right at the center. Then I spread the slice, giving me a very nice edge to grip and peel off both halves.
post #4 of 15

Membrane Removal

Thanks for the tip. Planning to do Baby Backs on Tuesday. Will let you know how the membrane comes off using your method. Wife already said I can use her cake knife. PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif Gee, she is a good sport..hehe

Happy Smokin

post #5 of 15
If I might add a oyster knife work quite nice for me.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Oyster knife is good as well

Really anything that has a 3/4" to 1" wide blade that is flexible will work. You want something that will slide under the membrane but not cut or tear in to the meat. A butter knife is stiff and also has the serrated edge.

On edit: should have typed anthing with a QUARTER to HALF INCH blade.
post #7 of 15
I use a small paring knife. I slide it under the membrane about mid rack along a bone. I then lift the handle straight up on the knife seperating the membrane from the bones. I then slide a finger in there and keep pulling up until it seperates to the top of the rack and you can get your fingers completely around the membrane in the centre of the rack. Its then just a matter of pulling up on the membrane,, it will remove all of it!
post #8 of 15
I've used pliars before, haha. Hard to keep a grip on them slippery suckers.
post #9 of 15
my first couple shots i didn't use the paper towel. THAT SUCKED. then the other day i saw someone using that. don't know why i never thought of it. but did it last night and was able to get damn near all of it as soon as i got a hold of that bastard. only had to get a couple small pulls for the rest. nice.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
The wife is at work so I snuck her frosting knife out so you can see what I use. Thin blade that is very flexible and rounded on the end so it does not damage the meat.

The Swine Ribcage Membrane Removal Device is on top. PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif
post #11 of 15
Thanks, Luv2. I plan to try some smoked baby backs soon (did some spares already). The SMF will make it easier once again.

Hang in there in Vol country.
post #12 of 15
It aint that hard guys, just like outdoor fool said( I use a fork, and just edge 1 tine under the membrane) lift it straight up from the middle of the rack.Get a finger under the membrane and pull straight up. After ya do a few it is so easy.If you start at one end and work to the other, you will take forever and have 1/2 dozen pieces when you are eventually done.Start in the middle, it all comes off in one piece. Baby backs are alot easier than spares, but it works for both. I can do 2-3 racks per minute easily. If ya score the remaining membrane, then your ribs are gonna fall apart. You need that lower membrane to hold the meat together, you just want to get rid of the top membrane.icon_wink.gif
post #13 of 15
I made that mistake earlier... I've got a rack that has fallen apart in my smoker, about to take it out shortly eek.gif
post #14 of 15
My first rib smoke was terrible, then I read about the membrane and how to remove it! If you don't take the membrane off, the ribs are quite nasty!
post #15 of 15
Dan's got it right......I pulled lots and lots of membrane off of BB's when I worked in a restaurant......do whatever it takes to get your finger under the membrane in the middle of the rack (i.e. butter knife...fork...pastry knife...whatever...) and it's all downhill from there......hold one end of the rack....crook your finger around the membrane and slide it to the other end......grab the membrane you just pulled loose and pull the other side off with the other hand.

Dan.....3 racks a minute won't get ya far in the restaurant business.....I would pull 7 - 10 racks worth of membrane per minute.....had alot of practice tho....wink.gif

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