View Full Version : Beef Ribs & Membranes

Sleepy Smoker
09-17-2010, 06:42 PM
I preface this question by mentioning that I've only smoked beef ribs twice, so admittedly I am new to the process.

Am I the only one that struggles mightily removing the membranes from these suckers? At least in comparison to pork ribs, which given that I've practiced a bit, I can breeze through.

The first rack I smoked I removed one membrane layer, and feeling confident that they were prepared to smoke, I proceeded to prepare them. I found them to still be tough, with a very chewy layer on the bottom remaining. Clearly these were not pork ribs and my approach was flawed.

A few days ago I decided to smoke the second rack, so I pulled it from the freezer and thawed it out. Remembering the lesson from the first rack I removed the first membrane fairly easily, then proceeded to do the best I could in removing a second layer, this one much tougher to get rid of. I'd estimate I only removed about 80% of it.

They're on now and I am waiting to see how they turn out. Hopefully the extra work will benefit the end product. But the extra work? Boy, oh boy, work it is. It was a PAIN in the... well, you know.

Does anyone have any advice for removing the membrane from beef ribs? Like I mentioned before, baby backs, spare ribs, they are all a piece of cake. Loosen the membrane and grab it with paper towel. Is there some inherent difference in the ribs that makes the beef so much tougher to remove than the pork? Or was it just the particular beef ribs that I got stuck with?

(FYI, these were your typical beef ribs. Similar in appearance to baby backs. Not the gigantic racks used for dinosaur bones, etc.)


Paulie G.
09-17-2010, 07:53 PM
I trim only the first layer and the fat below it.

Louisiana Smoker
09-17-2010, 10:24 PM
I cook as many beef ribs as pork. Always pull the membrane on pork ribs, never pulled them on beef ribs.

09-17-2010, 10:37 PM
It can be a pain on beef ribs.

09-18-2010, 11:52 AM
As stated in a previous thead, take a knife and cut the membrane crisscross and leave it. I did that on my last rib cook, seemed to work fine.

09-18-2010, 12:29 PM
My membrane philosophy is to give 'em a good ol' college try at least once; if they come off ok, good.
If they don't and or are being obstinate, fuggitaboutit.
The crisscross method then works just fine.

09-18-2010, 01:45 PM
Ditto on the criss-cross method. This is my preferred way.

09-18-2010, 01:52 PM
It can be a pain on beef ribs....but very easy on bison ribs....

09-19-2010, 11:41 AM
Fortunately, for some reason my butcher shop removes the membrane on the beef ribs (oddly they leave them on the pork ribs). When I have had to remove them myself in the past, a good sharp skinning knife helps a lot.

09-19-2010, 08:36 PM
For some reason, my grocery store butcher drags his knife across the bones when he trims beef ribs, making it impossible to remove the membrane in one pull. It's a pain in the a** but I always trim them. Much harder than pork ribs but worth it.