How To Trim Spare Ribs

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Are you craving tender, mouthwatering spare ribs? Look no further!

In this guide, we’ll show you the expert techniques to trim spare ribs like a pro. You’ll learn how to select the perfect ribs, remove that pesky membrane, and trim excess fat for optimal flavor.

We’ll even teach you how to create evenly-sized ribs for consistent cooking.

Get ready to impress your friends and family with perfectly trimmed spare ribs that will have them coming back for seconds!

Key Takeaways

  • Look for ribs with good meat and minimal fat
  • Use a butter knife to loosen the edge of the membrane and slowly pull it away from the ribs
  • Trim visible fat and remove large pockets of fat to avoid greasiness
  • Creating evenly-sized ribs ensures even cooking times, uniform seasoning, better presentation, and easier handling during cooking

Selecting the Right Spare Ribs

To select the right spare ribs, you’ll want to look for ones that have a good amount of meat on them and minimal amounts of fat. There are different types of spare ribs available, such as St. Louis-style ribs, baby back ribs, and country-style ribs.

St. Louis-style ribs are trimmed from the spare ribs, removing the cartilage and breastbone for a more uniform shape. Baby back ribs are smaller and leaner, with tender meat that is perfect for grilling. Country-style ribs are meatier and have more fat, making them ideal for slow cooking or braising.

When buying spare ribs, factors to consider include the color of the meat (it should be pink and not gray), the marbling of the meat (more marbling means more flavor), and the overall freshness of the ribs.

Removing the Membrane

When removing the membrane from spare ribs, it’s important to use a butter knife to gently loosen the edge. This will make it easier to peel off the membrane, ensuring a more tender and flavorful end result.

Here are some tips to help you successfully remove the membrane from spare ribs:

  • Start at one corner and use the butter knife to lift the edge of the membrane.
  • Once you have a good grip, slowly pull the membrane away from the ribs.
  • If the membrane is stubborn, use a paper towel to get a better grip and continue pulling.
  • Alternatively, you can also use a pair of pliers to grab the membrane and peel it off.

Trimming Excess Fat

Removing the excess fat from the meat will result in a leaner and healthier dish. To trim spare ribs effectively, you need to master the proper cutting techniques.

Start by placing the ribs on a cutting board with the bone side facing up. Use a sharp knife to carefully remove any visible fat from the surface of the meat. Make sure to cut close to the bone to get rid of any excess fat.

Trim off any large pockets of fat, as they can cause the meat to become greasy and less flavorful. Additionally, consider alternative cooking methods such as grilling or smoking, which can help render out additional fat and create a delicious, tender dish.

Creating Evenly-Sized Ribs

By ensuring the ribs are evenly sized, you’ll achieve consistent cooking times and a more uniform presentation. Here are four reasons why creating evenly-sized ribs is crucial:

  1. Even cooking: When the ribs are of the same size, they will cook at the same rate, preventing some ribs from becoming overcooked while others remain undercooked.

  2. Uniform seasoning: With evenly-sized ribs, you can apply rib seasoning techniques more effectively. Each rib will receive the same amount of seasoning, resulting in a balanced flavor throughout the dish.

  3. Better presentation: Whether you’re grilling, smoking, or baking spare ribs, having evenly-sized ribs ensures a more visually appealing presentation. Uniformity in size makes the dish look more professional and appetizing.

  4. Easier handling: When the ribs are of similar size, they are easier to handle during the cooking process. They can be placed on the grill or in the oven more efficiently, making the overall cooking experience smoother and more enjoyable.

Preparing the Ribs for Cooking

Preparing the ribs for cooking starts with marinating them in a flavorful sauce. To prepare the ribs in advance, begin by trimming off any excess fat from the meat. This will help prevent flare-ups on the grill and allow the marinade to penetrate the meat more effectively.

Next, remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs to ensure a tender and juicy result. Simply use a knife to loosen one corner of the membrane, then grip it with a paper towel and peel it off in one smooth motion.

Once the ribs are trimmed and the membrane is removed, place them in a large resealable bag or a shallow dish. Pour your favorite marinade over the ribs, making sure they are fully submerged.

Allow the ribs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to infuse them with maximum flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should spare ribs be cooked for?

Cook spare ribs at 275°F for 2-3 hours, ensuring temperature control throughout. This allows the meat to become tender and juicy. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, reaching an internal temperature of 145°F.

What is the best seasoning for spare ribs?

For the best seasoning on spare ribs, try a combination of paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Rub it generously onto the ribs before cooking to enhance the flavor.

Can spare ribs be cooked in the oven?

Yes, spare ribs can be cooked in the oven. However, there are different cooking methods for spare ribs, including cooking them in a slow cooker. Each method produces different results, so choose the one that suits your taste.

Should spare ribs be marinated before cooking?

Sure, go ahead and marinate your spare ribs. It’ll definitely add moisture and flavor, if that’s what you’re into. But hey, if you’re feeling adventurous, try cooking them without marinating. The result might surprise you!

Can spare ribs be cooked on a grill?

Yes, spare ribs can be cooked on a grill. To achieve a smoky flavor, use indirect heat and a mix of wood chips. Baste the ribs with a marinade or sauce, and cook them low and slow for tender, juicy results.


In conclusion, trimming spare ribs is an essential step in preparing them for cooking. By removing the membrane, trimming excess fat, and creating evenly-sized ribs, you will ensure that your ribs cook evenly and are more flavorful.

Did you know that spare ribs are a popular choice for barbecues and are enjoyed by many meat lovers? So, follow these steps to trim your spare ribs, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying delicious, tender ribs that will impress your family and friends.