The Easy Way To Remove The Silver Membrane From Ribs

Pretty much any recipe for baby back ribs calls for you to remove the silver membrane — the thin layer of connective tissue covering the backside of the ribs. Some cooks opt to leave it on (or forget it's there), which isn't the end of the world, but your meal will be far more enjoyable if you discard it before cooking. It stays tough when cooked, meaning you're going to be doing a lot of hard chewing and tugging. If that's not bad enough, it acts as a barrier between your spices and the meat, which equals less flavor in the part of the ribs you actually want to eat.


If you've handled ribs before, though, you know that sometimes that membrane — also known as the silver skin — can be stubborn and a bit of a pain to take off. To help you combat a silver membrane that's acting like a jerk, there's a removal technique so simple and effective that it deserves a spot among the top grilling tips for cookout season — because nothing spoils the fun like having to apologize for the meat you're serving. Best of all, it requires no fancy kitchen gadgets. All you really need is a sharp knife and a strong grip.

How to remove the silver membrane from ribs

First things first, you'll want to make sure your ribs actually have a silver membrane on them; some butchers will have removed it already. Flip the ribs over and have a look at the bone side. If you see something thin and silvery-white covering them, that's the membrane. Using a paring knife or other sharp, wieldy type of kitchen knife, puncture a hole in the membrane on one end of the rib rack, and insert the knife under it carefully. Work the knife in and lift until you've torn the membrane.


Now comes the part that might prove difficult: Getting a firm hold on the membrane and pulling it off. If you have trouble gripping it bare-handed, use a clean paper towel or kitchen towel for better stability. Grab the silver skin with the towel and pull. If the skin comes off in one piece, good for you! It's extremely satisfying. If not, it's not a big deal; just remove the membrane in pieces. Discard it, and move on to the fun part where you bust out the rubs and sauces and wow everyone's taste buds.