Clean ribs is a primary requirement prior to barbecue. But before you add dry rubs, marinades and seasoning, we'll need to spend some time getting the ribs prepared and ready. The process is somewhat simple but can be daunting if you've never been exposed to the preparation process.
We'll take you through the simplest form of preparation and cleaning before you fire up your grill for amazing ribs. So let's get the ribs ready as you will need the proper amount of time to ensure they are cooked for serving.
There are a couple of methods for cleaning and flavoring ribs prior to barbecuing on the grill. We'll show you what has worked for us.
To get your ribs ready for grilling you'll need to do a couple of things. The first requires removing the silvery membrane followed by thoroughly washing.
Steps on How to clean ribs
1. Place the BBQ ribs on a large platter or tray.
2. It's a good idea to have the ribs cold but not completely frozen or at room temperature. You'll need to remove the back silver membrane (The membrane is like a fibrous skin that will block the flavor of spices and marinades from penetrating the meat). If you aren't comfortable trimming it yourself, ask your butcher to remove the membrane while it's pliable but not frozen. If the film is frozen it will tear prematurely before you've completely removed it and thus you will extend more than the average amount of work necessary to remove the film.
The best way to start the film removal is to use a section of paper towel or a small butter knife. With the paper towel find a corner section of the film and pull toward the opposite end of the ribs. Pull evenly and slowly so the film will remove in as large a section as possible. If using a butter knife slip the knife underneath the film as you make contact with the meat.
Pry the film upward to create a gap between the film and the meat. Afterward slip a finger just beneath the loosened film then pull upward until you feel the film pulling away from the ribs. Continue lifting and pulling slowly until the film is removed. Repeat the process as necessary to expose the back of the ribs.
3. After the film is removed gently wash the entire surface of the ribs. Dry the ribs with a paper towel or lint free cloth.
4. Coat the clean ribs with the BBQ rub (Dry rubs use a combination of herbs and spices to impart an added level of flavor to BBQ ribs). It's at this point that we discuss an alternative to directly applying the dry rub. Some say that they apply a little olive oil or some neutral liquid to the ribs to create the needed contact to the ribs. I've used both processes many times and I find if I want to pre-marinade the meat I will use a simple addition such as yellow mustard. Rub completely with the mustard then allow the meat to site for about 1 hour then apply the dry rub. The mustard adds a little tartness to the meat and nicely adds a level of tenderizing you really don't get from oil. So, consider the mustard if you're so inclined. To help you after cleaning the ribs Jake's provides a wonderful set of BBQ dry rubs that make grilling ribs simple and easy. The steps to grilling ribs with dry rub are as follows, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 1 - 3 hours to marinate the ribs.
5. Once the clean ribs have marinated in BBQ dry rub, remove the wrap and allow the ribs to rest on a kitchen counter for about 20 minutes. This will bring the meat somewhere near room temperature. Place the ribs on the grill to start the cooking and grilling process.
Once done, remove and set aside for 5 - 10 minutes, BBQ ribs will generally continue cooking for a few minutes as they cool to just the right temperature for eating. Now that you've learned the rib cleaning process why not take a look at the barbecue sauce and dry rubs used at Jake's Famous Foods to enhance the flavor of these meats. Use code Barbecue10 to take 10% off at checkout.
Friends and Rib Cleaning
A close friend asked me how to best to clean ribs, especially since he was fond of those Dino style ribs. He also asked if it matters the way different ribs types are cleaned. Should you spend more time or manage the process differently when it comes to baby backs versus spare ribs versus plate or beef ribs? The difference comes when you change the type of meat that you will barbecue. In fact, when you plan on grilling beef ribs you'll find that there is a heavy layer of fat on the underside of the ribs. Each rib type, no matter what it is beef ribs, or pork ribs both should be cleaned. When it comes to baby back, spare ribs or country-style ribs the method of cleaning is generally the same.
First ensuring that the ribs have reached room temperature so that they are pliable.
Second, making sure that the ribs are dry and not moist. So, to ensure the ribs are dry you'll need to use paper towels to remove the moisture.
Third, you'll need either fingers, a flat butter knife or some other item to begin pulling up the membrane.
Fourth, start from the point of the ribs farthest away from you and pull the membrane toward you. Slowly pull the top most edge of the membrane toward you and away from the meat. Be careful the membrane may strip apart which is OK. Just remember to grab a new edge and keep pulling toward you. If you prefer to start at the bottom nearest you and pull upward that's OK too. We start from the top, because we found that the membrane will shred more when pulled from the bottom.
After clearing away all or as much of the membrane as you can next you can begin washing the ribs with cool water. If you have gloves you can put them on now. If not, then press on and wash vigorously on the top and the bottom of the ribs. One complete dry the ribs with paper towels. You'll want to remove as much water from the ribs as possible. You'll be doing the drying in preparation for the marinade or dry rub. Personally, at this stage we like to provide a little extra flavor and tenderizing by coating the ribs with yellow mustard, but of course you can you whatever works for you. When coated or seasoned place the ribs in a container or plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator until about an hour before the planned grilling. At that time you'll want to pull them out and allow them to rest on your kitchen counter as they get close to room temperature.
On beef ribs you'll apply the same clean methods as before except for one very important step. You'll find with beef ribs the fat layer is almost impossible to pull off by using a butter knife or finger tips. At this stage the best method is to use a sharp knife and remove as much of the fat as possible. Try to get as close to the bones as possible. Once done you can start the cleaning process. Once done washing towel off the ribs and at this point you can use mustard or seasoning to prepare the ribs before storing.
We hope this information helps as you plan your steps for this and every other barbecue going forward.
For additional information on Clean Ribs see our BBQ Tips BBQ Tips
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We couldn't resist the opportunity to create a basic video on How To Clean Your Pork Ribs. Follow these simple steps to clean and remove that silvery film from your ribs.