How To Debone Baby Back Ribs After & Before Cooking

Whenever it comes to deboning your baby back ribs, one thing you need to make sure is – to prevent the meat from getting damaged. So, you need to know how to debone baby back ribs properly.

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Preparing delicious dishes is always a barbeque lover’s dream. Sometimes, even when you are working your heart out but still can’t get the desired result, it can become frustrating. 

However, a few little tricks will solve a lot of issues for you and here’s the tricks for deboning ribs.

Things You Will Need To Debone Your Baby Back Ribs

If you wish to debone your baby back ribs without any problems, try gathering the elements I mentioned below before starting the process. 

  • Cutting Board
  • Kitchen Knife
  • Paper Towels
  • Hook Knife
  • Aluminum Foil

How To Debone Baby Back Ribs After Cooking

Ribs come in a curvy shape. One of the sides is hollow; that’s the bone-side. Another one curves outwards, the meat side. There is also a membrane over the rib. That was the basics. 

So, how do you take the bones out of baby back ribs? 

Let’s see. 

Step-1: Lay the ribs on an even surface, preferably on a cutting board.

Step-2: Use a good quality blunt knife to put between the outer layer and the meat. It will cut the tough tissue residing at the end and make it easier to peel the membrane off.

Step-3: Using paper towels for a firmer grip, hold one end of the membrane and peel it off. Remember that it can take you two peels to remove the membrane entirely. Your job is not to make it messy. 

Step-4: Now, where the meat and bone meet, score the slab’s surface. Make sure you use a sharp knife tip to do this. 

Step-5: To make the bone falling process easier, cut the membrane close to the bone. Your motive is to pull the meat away from the bone but not completely break it apart. 

Step-6: Using the 3-2-1 method, smoke your ribs after dividing the slab into two halves. Or, you can smoke them at 300o F. 

Step-7: Cover your baby back ribs with aluminum foil after adding one-half cup of liquid. You can use a domestic cola. Then, keep cooking for another one or two hours using 300o temperature.  

Step-8: If you follow the steps I’ve described, the bones should easily come off after you finish cooking. 

How To Remove Meat From Baby Back Ribs Before Cooking

  • Follow the same steps to remove the membrane. 
  • Use a sharp kitchen knife to make two cuts on both sides of each bone where the meat is attached to the bone. 
  • Use a hook knife to remove the bones without damaging the meat. 
  • If the meat is too thin, do not use a hook knife. 
  • Instead, remove the bones using a regular knife.

How To Prepare Baby Back Ribs For Cooking

When cooking your ribs, no matter if you are grilling them or smoking them, there are few things to improve the result. 

The first thing to do is to remove the membrane. A lot of people prefer leaving the membrane at the back of the ribs. But you shouldn’t.

It can make your meat chewy and result in ruining the whole texture of your dish. Follow the steps I’ve instructed previously to remove the membrane perfectly. 

Once the membrane is gone, cut all the excess fat residing with the rack. Sometimes there will be extra fat clung to the rack that can ruin your cooking procedure when melted. Any fat you don’t want, cut using a sharp boning knife.

Apply the rub your recipe suggests. You can use some non sweet bbq sauce as alternatives to rubs. It can vary from recipe to recipe. Now sit the rack in the refrigerator for about one hour. 

It will allow the meat to absorb all the good flavors inside it. Many people skip this step because baby back ribs take enough time to cook as it is. However, if you want your ribs to be delicious, you won’t skip this process. 

Now it’s time to marinate your ribs. Even though marinating isn’t compulsory for cooking ribs, it will make the ribs moist, tasty, and tender.

After you’ve added your favorite marinade mix to the ribs, let the rack sit for another 8 hours to let it absorb the flavors entirely. 

The next procedure depends on what recipe you’re following. As long as you stick to the basics, you should be okay. 

Remember to use indirect heat for cooking baby back ribs. Using direct heat can cause uneven cooking. Also, don’t forget to add burnt ends bbq sauce when you are almost done cooking. Also, keep an eye out for undercooked ribs. 

Check if they’re properly cooked before finishing. Even though recipes will give you a strict timeline and procedure, meat size, type, heat, temperature, and ingredients can deviate perfect cooking time. 

So, instead of blindly following any recipes, make sure you get your basic ideas right. Further, I’ve included some mistakes you should avoid to have nice and juicy ribs.

Mistakes To Avoid When Cooking And Deboning Ribs

If you want your baby back ribs to be perfectly juicy, tender, and tasty, you have to avoid some common mistakes. The most frequent mistakes that people make are-

  • Not Removing the Membrane 

Don’t forget to remove the membrane. It’s a must-do if you wish your dish to be perfect. It’s a silver layer under the bony side of the slab. 

If you do not remove this membrane, your meat will likely get rubbery during the cooking procedure. However, you can store it later to use somewhere else, like when you are making sausages. 

  • Not Pre-Cooking Before Grilling

You don’t need to roast your baby back ribs from beginning to the end to achieve smoky flavors. Baby back ribs come out perfect when you simmer them on low heat. SO, it’s important to pre-cook the meat before you grill it. 

  • Adding the Sauce Early

Most grill sauce will contain sugar-like components. It’s sure tasty but burns quickly. If you add the sauce too early, it will ruin your meat instead of making it tastier. So, make sure to add the sauce 10 minutes before you finish grilling the ribs. 

  • Overcooking or Undercooking the Ribs

Yes, it’s true. You can overcook your baby back ribs. Cooking them for too long will make the meat mushy and ruin the taste. Undercooking, however, is also a matter of concern. Check your meat before turning the heat off. 

You can run a few tests to check if your ribs are ready. One of them is picking the rack using tongs. If the ribs bend in the middle, your ribs are perfectly cooked. 

  • Direct Heat

Baby back ribs require low temperature. If you use high and direct heat on them, they’ll burn on the outside and stay undercooked on the inside. Use indirect heat and keep the temperature low if you want a tender outcome. 

Also Read: How To Reheat Baby Back Ribs Perfectly 

Should Baby Back Ribs Fall Off the Bone

Perfectly cooked baby back ribs should NOT fall off the bone. When you steam or boil the baby back ribs, the bone comes off. But that’s not barbequing. 

Steaming and boiling causes the meat to lose all flavors, and the ribs lose their purpose. Besides, the meat will feature a mushy texture when you boil or steam them. 

So, unless you want to prepare soup with your baby back ribs, do not boil them or steam them. 

When smoking, grilling, or any type of barbequing, the ribs should be tender enough so you can cleanly pull the bones using your teeth but not mushy that the bones fall off. 

However, you can help the bones come off easily by pulling them with tongs. I’ll include the process of how you can make them easily come off of the ribs. 

How Can You Tell If Baby Back Ribs Are Bad

Sometimes your baby back ribs can go bad even if you store them using precautions. To identify that if the baby back ribs are bad, there are three signs. 

If you notice any one of them, make sure you don’t use them. One, you’ll get a sour smell from the ribs. 

Two, you’ll notice a dull color on the ribs. And third, the texture will turn slimy. Among these three, the smell confirms that the ribs are no longer in a condition to be cooked. 

Which Is The Best Knife For Deboning Baby Back Ribs

The best knife for cutting baby back ribs has to be the MAIRICO Premium Ultra Sharp stainless steel carving knife. Baby back ribs are tender and can ruin the meat if you try using a blunt life. 

This one comes very sharp and can cut the meat sharply with precision. The knife has a perfect length and a sharp blade to let you cut ribs with minimal effort. 

Not only me but also a lot of professionals use this knife because of its high-quality features. There can’t be a better option if you are searching for a knife suggestion to cut ribs. 

However, when you are deboning, I would recommend you go for the one from  Mercer Culinary. It comes with a sharp tip that’s exactly what you will need to cut the bone-attached meat. I think this one is the most convenient to use too. 

The handle is ergonomic. I feel very comfortable using it. Moreover, the materials are very high-quality and scratch-free. So, if you want a knife with durability, this is the one to go for.

Which Is The Best Cutting Board For Cutting Baby Back Ribs

Even though cutting boards are mandatory for all recipes, sometimes it cannot be very pleasant. I mean, haven’t you ever made your knives blunt because you used cutting boards? It’s a common occurrence. 

However, there is a board that doesn’t make your knives blunt. The bamboo cutting board from Royal Craft Wood is really something. Not just knife-friendly. It’s much more. 

When you are deboning something as firm as baby back ribs, you need strong and robust support to accommodate the meat without damaging the surface. 

I have a ridiculous collection of cutting boards. But I prefer this one only for cutting and deboning my baby back ribs. 

Did I mention the grooves? They’re structured to accommodate the juice running from the meat so you can have a mess-free cutting experience. 

Lastly, there are in-built handles, ergonomically designed so you won’t have any issues handling it either. If you want to get the same board in different shapes, they offer a cutting board set too. 

You will get three different sizes, all with the same quality and structure. If you want them for other purposes, I highly recommend you go for the set. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Baby Back Ribs Boneless

Baby back ribs are one kind of rib cut among many. So, no, baby back ribs are not boneless. All ribs are derived from the top rib cage residing in between the spine and the spare ribs. 

There is meat in between the ribs and on top in baby back ribs. These are comparatively meatier and shorter in size than spare ribs. Most of the time, baby back ribs are cooked and served as a whole containing 8 to 13 bones, 

Can you smoke baby back ribs too long?

As a matter of fact, yes. You can smoke baby back ribs too long. If you smoke your meat much longer than you are supposed to do, it can become mushy. 

That’s not what you want in your ribs dish. Ensure the bones don’t fall off the meat to keep the ribs perfectly tender but not overcooked. 

What is the difference between regular ribs and Baby Back Ribs?

Baby back ribs are one kind of ribs cut among different types of rib cuts. Baby back ribs are usually more tender and expensive than regular or spare ribs. Besides, baby back ribs cook faster than spare ribs.  

Can you cook baby back ribs like spare ribs?

You can use the same recipe for cooking baby back ribs and spare ribs. The only thing that will vary is the cooking time. Baby back ribs take less time to cook than spare ribs. It’s mainly because spare ribs come largely in size and contain more bone. 

Bottom Line

Baby back ribs can be frightening to cook for beginners, given the time and effect it requires. Everyone is always fussing about how the bones don’t come off or how it’s difficult to remove them before cooking. I say you can do it. As long as you know how to do it, you can do anything. So, when I say you’ll learn how to debone baby back ribs, trust me, you will. With enough patience, care, and the right ingredients, you can always result in a professional outcome in front of you without much hassle. 

Take a deep breath, and let’s remove the bone from the baby back ribs! 

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