Demystifying Short Ribs – My Easy Step-By-Step Guide For Cleaning & Prepping Beef Short Ribs

Hey y’all! I’m back today with the complete lowdown on prepping and cleaning beef short ribs before cooking. Now I know short ribs look kinda intimidating with that web of fat and membrane. But with just a few easy steps, you can get them trimmed and prepped for absolute perfection.

As a short rib mega-fan, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years for getting these babies ready to transform into finger-lickin’ deliciousness Whether you’re braising, smoking, grilling or instant potting, proper prep is key!

In this post, I’ll walk you through exactly how to clean beef short ribs so you can unlock their full rich, beefy potential Let’s get to trimming!

Why Are Short Ribs So Special?

First. what makes these hunks of meat so magical? A few reasons

  • All that marbled fat keeps them incredibly moist and flavorful

  • The meat easily falls off the bone when cooked right

  • They transform into melt-in-your-mouth tenderness

  • That beefy, rustic flavor is so crave-worthy

  • A little goes a long way – very filling!

But to get the best results, we gotta do some work on the front end. Here’s what you need to know.

Start With Quality Short Ribs

No matter the recipe, it all starts with fresh, high-quality short ribs. Here’s what to look for:

  • Good marbling of fat throughout

  • Deep red meat color, not brown or gray

  • Firm and moist to the touch, not dried out

  • White fat, not yellow or grizzly fat

  • Packaged securely and kept cold

Remove Membrane and Silver Skin

Here’s where the fun starts! First up is removing that papery membrane covering the bone side of the ribs.

Slide a knife under a corner and peel it off slowly to get a clean removal.

Next, flip the ribs over to the meaty side. See that silver skin coating the muscles? We gotta strip that too.

Slide your knife under at an angle and carefully slice off the slimy stuff. Take your time here for pretty ribs!

Trim Off Any Hanging Meat or Fat

Once the membrane and silver skin are gone, inspect the ribs for any loose pieces of meat or large fatty areas.

Use your knife to slice off anything untidy or excessive. We just want nice, clean-cut ribs.

Remove Bone Scraggle

Flip the ribs back over and check the boney side. See any random bone fragments or scraggly bits?

Use your knife to trim those down for a smooth surface. This also allows seasonings to adhere better.

Portion Into Individual Ribs

For the best results, I like portioning beef ribs down into individual bones before cooking.

Determine your ideal size, then slice between each rib following the natural seam.

For braising or instant pot, 2-3 bone chunks are good. Grillers can keep them 4+ bones together.

Rinse Well & Pat Dry

Lastly, give your trimmed up ribs a good rinse under cold water to remove any bone dust or residue.

Always pat them very dry with paper towels before applying any rub or marinade. Get them bone dry!

Storing Short Ribs

Once you have your ribs all prepped, store them tightly wrapped in the fridge for 2-3 days max. Or pop them in the freezer for up to 4 months.

If freezing, separate ribs with parchment first so they don’t freeze together in a mass.

Now they’re ready to transform into absolute succulent deliciousness! Enjoy.

Sam the Short Rib Guy

Cleaning Spare Ribs

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