This is my first time cooking ribs so I feel I am making some rookie mistakes.

I forgot to peel the membrane off of the rack of ribs I plan on cooking later today and they have already been soaking in the marinade overnight.

My questions are: Will the marinade penetrate the membrane and still flavor the meat? If I peel the membrane off after I pull the ribs out of the marinade, would it be worse than if I left the membrane on?

Cursory question, How often should I baste my sauce on the ribs? I have seen reports that it should be anywhere from once or twice towards the end of cooking, to every 10-20 minutes through the whole 2-6 hour process depending on temperature.

1 Answer 1


The membrane will inhibit flavor penetration but not stop it completely. If you have the chance you could pull the ribs out of the marinade, peel them, then put them back and they'll get a bit more flavor. Otherwise peel before you cook them, you won't make anything worse by doing so.

As for the basting, there's a lot of opinion on this topic. Personally I've tried more basting and less basting and I've never found benefit in basting more than an hour from the end of cooking. The ribs have a lot of juice in them, basting them isn't going to keep them any more moist, what you are trying to do is impart flavor by building up a coat of the marinade/sauce on the outside. I've found that basting every 10-15 minutes in the last hour seems to give as good result as basting longer, and it's less work.

  • I will probably see about peeling them then and I will let them sit for another 6 hours so the marinade can penetrate a little longer on the membrane side then. I planned on cooking them without completely sealing them in foil, as I heard that ends up boiling the meat rather than roasting it, which makes the flavorful drippings wash off rather than bake into the meat to form a crust. Any thoughts?
    – Will
    Jun 30, 2017 at 8:23
  • Well, there's more than one school of thought. I think that sealing them helps prevent moisture loss and ends up in juicier ribs, you remove them from the foil for the last part of the cooking and then build up the flavor on the outside by basting.
    – GdD
    Jun 30, 2017 at 8:37

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