Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by Shari Mason
The rib membrane is a layer of tissue along the bone of the ribs. But can you remove the rib membrane after cooking?
Our team will discuss what happens if you leave the membrane on the ribs, how to tell if it is still on the ribs, and more tips and tricks. Read on.
Is It Possible To Remove the Rib Membrane After Cooking?
Yes, removing the rib membrane after cooking is possible, but it’s a bit messy to do since the membrane is already cooked.
The rib membrane or silverskin is a thin layer of connective tissue on the back of each rack of ribs and helps hold its shape during cooking. 
If you don’t remove the membrane, it will make the ribs less tasty and tender.
Read: What To Do With Bones After Making Bone Broth?
What Will Happen If You Remove It?
If you remove the rib membrane, the ribs will become more tender, juicier, and flavorful because the flavors and seasonings will penetrate the meat. 
The membrane will be a hindrance when cooking without removing it.
It blocks the seasonings and smoke from entering the ribs if you leave it on. It should also be done correctly to avoid damaging the ribs and ruining the texture.
How To Remove Rib Membrane After Cooking
Use A Knife
Use a sharp knife to cut away at one side of the membrane until all sides are meat-free. The cooked tissue might tear off in pieces as you do, so be careful.
Then pull off any remaining pieces from both sides to expose more meat underneath. This method works better when the ribs are uncooked.
Use Your Hands
Grab hold of the cooked membrane, then use your other hand to pull it off.
This is by far the easiest method for removing ribs with one hand, but it requires a towel or napkin in case the membrane is a bit slippery.
How To Tell If Membrane Is On Ribs
To tell if there is a membrane on the ribs, place the rib rack with the bone side facing up once the packaging has been opened.
There is a membrane connected if there is skin that appears silvery white or looks like a plastic bag stretched over the bones.
Should You Remove Rib Membrane Before Cooking?
Yes, you should remove the membrane before cooking because it blocks the seasonings from penetrating the meat and makes the ribs less tasty.
The best way to get rid of it is by using a butter knife in one hand and prying it up on one side of the membrane with your other hand while pulling back on both sides with your fingers.
What Happens If You Leave the Membrane On Ribs?
If you leave the membrane on the ribs, they will be harder to eat and chewier. The membrane should be removed because it makes the meat tougher and less tender.
It also prevents fat from melting into natural juices, resulting in dryer meat with less flavor.
Tips & Tricks When Removing Rib Membrane After Cooking
- Use a paper towel or clean cloth to grasp the membrane and pull it off in one piece.
- Use a sharp knife to cut through any stubborn spots on your rack before using tongs to pry off individual small bits of meat that remain attached by connective tissue.
- The part with the thick white membrane facing you indicates that the ribs are upright.
- Do not press the sharp side of the knife onto the membrane. If it tears off, you’ll have a hard time removing it as a whole.
Is it okay not to remove the rib membrane before cooking?
No, it is not okay. The membrane should be removed before cooking so the seasoning can penetrate the rib meat and add flavor and tenderness.
What is the best way to remove the rib membrane after cooking?
The best way to remove rib membranes after cooking is to tear them off pieces carefully with your hand. However, it will be messy and needs more patience.
Generally, the rib membrane can still be removed after cooking. But it is recommended to be removed before cooking because of some reasons that include:
- The rib meat will be more tender, juicier, and flavorful.
- The seasonings will easily penetrate the rib meat and won’t get blocked by a membrane.
- It is easier and more convenient to remove the rib membrane when raw.
- If you leave the membrane, the rib meat will be taut and less tasty.
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