Do You Really Need To Remove Silver Skin From Meat?

If you're a lover of barbecued ribs, chances are you've noticed that there's a thick, slightly translucent skin, called silver skin, on one side of the slab. It can seem like a daunting task to get rid of it, so aspiring chefs might wonder if they really need to remove the silver skin from meat. 

You can find silver skin on other cuts of meat, too, like beef, pork, and lamb tenderloin, along with the underside of ribs (though some stores do remove it before packaging). It's a sheet of connective tissue, not the actual skin of the animal, and it turns out that for best results when cooking your favorite meats, you really should take the time to remove it (via The Kitchn).

Here's why you should remove the silver skin from meat

Unlike other connective tissues and fats, the silver skin doesn't melt or become tender after cooking, instead staying tough and chewy (via Cuisine at Home). 

What it does do while it cooks is shrink. Since the silver skin is attached to the meat, this shrinkage can cause the meat to twirl and twist up, which can make your final meal misshapen, and can also cause your meat to cook unevenly. When your meat is finished cooking, the silver skin will still be attached, leathery and tough, and wholly inedible.  

The silver skin also creates a barrier between the actual meat you're cooking and any seasonings you use, leaving your ribs or roast flavorless (via Fine Cooking). 

How to remove the silver skin from meat

Thankfully, removing silver skin isn't too difficult — all you need is a sharp knife and some paper towels. Slip the tip of the knife under the silver skin, working it between the meat and the skin until you're able to grip a loose flap of silver skin (use the paper towels to get a better grip, as sometimes the silver skin can be slippery). Pull the silver skin back away from the meat. It should come off in one strip, but if it doesn't, you can just start the process again. At worst, you might remove some meat along with the skin, but even so you won't regret having removed the inedible silver skin from your ribs or roast.

And if you don't want to deal with it yourself, you can even ask your butcher to remove it for you. Now that's even easier.