How to Remove Membrane From Pork Ribs
Pork ribs make some spectacular dishes whether they are baked, roasted or grilled! No matter what the dish may be, everyone has to admit that the tenderer it is, the more it tastes better. However, this tender meat can be easily lost if the thick layer of membrane, which usually accompanies the ribs, is not removed.
Removal of the membrane will ensure that the ribs are able to absorb all of the flavors instead of the membrane itself. So, not only will the ribs be juicy, they will be packed with some excellent flavors. And who does not love a moist, tender and delectable plate of pork ribs?
Hence, if you want to learn how to remove membrane from ribs, then just keep reading! We will guide you through the entire process and everyone will be praising you, for your new culinary skill, in no time.
The Steps to Removing Membrane From Ribs:
- Prepping the ribs
Tear or cut open the packet in which the ribs came in, initially, from the butcher place. Once you have taken the ribs out from the packet, you will have to pat-dry them using a few clean paper towels. Make sure to toss the paper towels in the trash once you are done using them.
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At this point, you may want to give the ribs a good wash. Be that as it may, we strongly recommend you to not give in to this wish of yours. Washing increases the risks of cross-contamination in and around the kitchen and tends to stop the ribs from browning.
- Placing the ribs properly on the worktop
On a clean worktop (such as a cutting board or a kitchen counter), put your pork ribs down in such a way, so that, the curved side of the ribs rests on the surface of the worktop. If you have placed the ribs correctly on the board, then the incurved side should be facing you.
Note that the incurved side will have the thick, white membrane attached to it.
- Getting under the membrane
With the last step done, you will need to find a rib bone, preferably around the middle section of the ribs. We advise you to press down with your fingers, which will help you to accurately pinpoint the location of the rib.
When you have found the hard bone, move to its base with a sharp paring knife. In other words, move to the end of the bone that is nearer to you. From there, insert the knife’s tip horizontally, going along the rib bone, just below the membrane but above the bone. Make sure to push the entire knife through to the other end. Also as you go, maneuver the knife carefully, so as not to cut the membrane with the sharp knife accidentally.
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- Lifting the membrane
With the sharp side of the knife touching the rib bone, rotate the knife to a vertical position. This movement will cause the membrane to be lifted upwards by the blunt side of the knife, creating an air space between the bone and membrane.
It will be wise to choose your rib membrane removal tool wisely. You could use a blunt butter knife instead of a sharp paring knife if you do not feel comfortable working with the latter. This will definitely be beneficial for you because you will be less likely to pierce the membrane with a blunt knife.
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- Lifting the membrane further
Your next move will be to slant the vertical knife into a 30° angle position. Make sure to keep the sharp edge of the knife still in contact with the rib bone. With the knife in this position, lift it up by the handle. This will free more of the membrane from the ribs.
- Putting your fingers to work
With that done, you can finally retrieve the knife from between the bone and membrane. Now, replace the knife with your index finger. In other words, take up the space you just created beneath the membrane, with your index finger. Then try to detach more of the membrane from the ribs by moving your finger from left to right, expanding the space.
The main purpose of doing this is to not only create a bigger gap but also to free up enough of the membrane so that your fingers can grasp a part of the skin later on.
- Grasping the membrane using paper towel
Hold a clean paper towel in your dominant hand in a way that the thumb and index finger are covered by it. Now, use the said thumb and index finger to clasp the loose part of the membrane that you freed before.
The rib pork’s membrane is without a doubt quite slippery and slick. The paper towel will give you much-needed friction and in this case – there will be fewer chances for you to lose your grip on the membrane.
- Positioning your hand in between the rib and membrane
Put the fingers of your non-dominant hand in the space between the membrane and rib. And use the very hand to hold the ribs down while your dominant hand works to lightly pull on the membrane. Make sure, the fingers of your non-dominant hand keep pushing forward until they are visible on the other side of the ribs, with your other hand lifting the rib’s membrane.
It is fairly possible that the membrane may begin to rip with you tugging on it. In such a case, grab your sharp paring knife once again. Then on the side opposite to the one you are working on, detach more of the membrane from the ribs with the knife.
- Pulling the membrane off
Grab a hold of the loose membrane with two fingers from your dominant hand. The membrane would now, act as a handle in this situation. Once more, firmly hold down the ribs with your non-dominant hand and this time, pull the membrane off entirely from the pork ribs. You may have to put in some effort to get all of it to detach from the ribs.
With larger pork ribs, you may need to shift your dominant hand occasionally to ensure all of the membrane comes off smoothly. Usually, you would need to edge your hand closer to the ends of the ribs while your other hand keeps the rib in place.
As we mentioned before, the membrane is very slippery. Hence, it is no surprise that your hand may lose its hold on the membrane at times. If this occurs, you are free to make use of another paper towel in order to grab the membrane through it. it will keep your grip firm and tight.
- Getting rid of the membrane
Throw the membrane and the used paper towels in the trash as soon as possible, to keep things neat and clean. With the membrane removed, you may now process the pork ribs according to your desired recipe.
Now that you know the exact steps to removing membrane from ribs, making delicious pork rib dishes should now be a piece of cake! But if you don’t get it right the first few times, that’s okay too. Remember practice makes perfect!