How To Remove Membrane From Baby Back Ribs


Baby back ribs are the perfect tender, succulent cut of meat. They can be the perfect falling off-the-bone smoked meat that every barbeque lover dreams of. However, all good things in life come with a price, and the same goes for baby back ribs. If you start smoking baby back ribs immediately after getting them from the butcher, the result will be terrible. The king of ribs demands certain preparations before being placed inside the food smoker. 

Yes, your rub plays an important role in preparing baby back ribs for the perfect smoking experience, but there is more to it than your chosen rub. You have to get rid of the membrane that can ruin the texture of the meat, turning it flaky or crispy instead of tender, soft meat that falls off the bone. The membrane can also act as a barrier between the smoke and the meat, resulting in less smoky flavor being absorbed. This guide is all about removing the membrane from baby back ribs in the most simple way. 

A step-by-step guide to removing the membrane from baby back ribs

There are several ways you can get rid of the membrane, but we have chosen the easiest. This article intends to help beginners perfect their food smoking experience, so we don’t want to get complicated anywhere.  

1. Start by placing the baby back ribs on a rack membrane side up.

2. Now, grab a dinner knife and slide it under the membrane. Remember to start from one end and not the middle of the ribs.

3. Now, lift the membrane with the help of the knife and try to loosen it. See it tearing off the surface of the meat.

4. After loosening a substantial amount of membrane, put the knife away and grab a paper towel.

5. Grip and hold the membrane with the paper towel and try to pull it off the ribs.

6. The whole membrane might come off in a single pull or in parts. It is fine both ways as long as you can remove it successfully without disturbing the muscle tissues in the meat. 

After successfully separating the membrane from the baby back ribs, clean the ribs, pat them dry, and start seasoning.

Bonus tips 

Removing the membrane from baby back ribs is only the first step to getting smoked ribs that fall off the bone. There is more to it. To help beginners pull off baby back ribs like a pitmaster, here are some easy peasy Bradley tips & tricks on smoking ribs. These tips are simple to follow yet effective in the long run. Check them out below and thank us later. 

1. Maintain a low temperature

Temperature is the key to any barbeque, especially food smoking. If you’ve just started smoking food, an offset food smoker can be a challenge. Try modern electric food smokers like the Bradley Smoker. It has advanced temperature controls and a preset timer with an automatic feeder to work with some supervision. The magnetic door and insulated body not only quickens the cooking process but also safeguards the user. To smoke baby back ribs to perfection, maintain 225 °F to 240 °F (107 °C to 115 °C) for at least 5 hours. 

2. Follow the foolproof 3-2-1 method

This is a well-known pitmaster method because it hardly ever fails to provide perfectly seared, succulent ribs that fall off the bone. You have to smoke the ribs for 3 hours on the grate, then wrap them in a liquid (like butter and apple juice) in foil and smoker for another 2 hours, and finally unwrap and smoke for 1 hour. You can reduce the heat in the final hour depending on the doneness of the meat. 

3. Use clean flavored smoke

The problem with wood is that it emits toxic fumes when burnt. These fumes can make the meat taste foul or bitter. Keep replacing the wood when burnt to ensure the ribs are cooked in clean flavored smoke. The hassle-free alternative to this is Bradley Bisquettes. These are compressed sawdust chips that burn for a precise time generating clean smoke to flavor the meat. Bradley Bisquettes come in different flavors and extinguish automatically before turning to ash. 

4. Treat the ribs with respect

Baby back ribs deserve respect after being smoked for hours. Don’t be impatient to serve them. Let them rest for a while. This will allow the meat to reabsorb all the juices it has lost during the last hour of smoking, resulting in irresistibly succulent and flavorful meat. 

Food smoking is an art that needs to be mastered with practice. This article is here to help beginners with the basics of smoking baby back ribs to perfection. We hope the Bradley tips & tricks shared here have been useful to you as a beginner to food smoking. 

Interested in learning more about ribs? Check out these articles we have prepared for you:
How to Make 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs, and Why You Should Do It
Can You Freeze Smoked Ribs?
Baby Back vs. Spare Ribs: What You Need To Know About Pork Ribs
How to Smoke the Juiciest Beef Ribs

For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.