Joe's Smoked Ribs: Prepping

A raw rack of ribs being prepared for cooking

A raw rack of ribs with yellow mustard squirted on top while sitting on two pastic cutting boards, one red and the other blue.

Start Prepping

Prepping is like a tasty choose your own adventure story, you have some different directions you can head but in the end you just want to be satisfied.

The First Fork in the Road

Do you remove the membrane? You will need to decide if you want to remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs. Most places that sell ribs leave this on, either due to speed or laziness. It does not add any flavor, just something else for the eater to chew on. I saw take it off, make the ribs more enjoyable to eat.

My Ribs: Early Prep - Transcript

The Second Fork in the Road

Do you keep the rack whole or break it down? Cooking the rack all together looks nicer and can provide a variety of textures as you work your way from the outside ribs to the middle. Cutting the rack into 2, 3 or 6 bone pieces makes them easier to maneuver while cooking and provides a more uniform final product. I like to cut mine down.

The Third Fork in the Road

What do you use as a wet binder for the rub on the ribs? I recommend using a rub seasoning on the ribs, but in order to keep it on, you will need to add something wet to hold the rub in place. Some use vegetable oil, but I prefer plain yellow mustard. The vinegar in the mustard will not leave an aftertaste and the yellow color makes it very easy to see what areas have been covered by the rub.

Steps to Prep the Ribs

  1. Take the ribs out of the package and pat them dry using paper towels
  2. Place the ribs on a cutting board, this is where you will remove the membrane and cut them down if you choose to do so
  3. Spread mustard on all sides of the ribs, then sprinkle on a generous amount of your desired rub

Note: This is also a good time to get your smoker up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit

Do Your Ribs Still Have Their Tips?

Depending on the type of ribs you buy, they may still have a section across the top called Rib Tips. These are delicious mini bites of meat, just cut the section off, prep and cook with everything else.

Pork Rib Tips

A raw rack of ribs, with the tips cut off up top