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SkunkedAgain

Help Me Stop Hacking Up My Ribs

39 posts in this topic

I've gotten pretty good at making ribs over the years, but one final piece still escapes me. When I try to cut them up for consumption, it looks like a 4 year old did the work. I may need to put a sharper edge on my knife, but the best I've got is my long carving knife. It struggles going through the bark, and when it finally does, the meat just separates haphazardly below. This partly due to my wife liking ribs to be more fall off the bone, but I know that it's also a knife issue.

What type of knife due most of you use for this? I was thinking about getting a butcher knife but am open to any suggestions. What do you use?

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40 minutes ago, SkunkedAgain said:

I've gotten pretty good at making ribs over the years, but one final piece still escapes me. When I try to cut them up for consumption, it looks like a 4 year old did the work. I may need to put a sharper edge on my knife, but the best I've got is my long carving knife. It struggles going through the bark, and when it finally does, the meat just separates haphazardly below. This partly due to my wife liking ribs to be more fall off the bone, but I know that it's also a knife issue.

What type of knife due most of you use for this? I was thinking about getting a butcher knife but am open to any suggestions. What do you use?

Try a filet knife or just put the whole rack on the table and let people go Benihana at it on their own! :lol:

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If the meat is fall of the bone tender I'm not sure if there is a better option in terms of a knife, the meat is probably ready to fall off just by looking at it.  One thing I have tried to do when they are really tender like that is to cut directly up against one of the bones instead of evenly between two bones.  That way when cutting up against the bone you aren't really cutting the meat as much as you are intentionally separating it off the bone in one piece  If the meat is ready to fall off the bone it shouldn't take much complete the separation but hopefully it doesn't pull off the other rib at the same time.  Of course the down side to this is that one side of the rib has a ton of meat while the other side has none so it is a trade off.

Or you can also do what Leech suggested and just put full racks out and let people pull or cut what they want.  Then you can blame them for the mess they make of it.  I do one big rib fest at my house each summer and for that party I usually just toss the racks on the table and maybe cut them into 3rds and then let people attack the pile.

Edited by nofishfisherman
leech~~, reinhard1, Dotch and 1 other like this

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Try an electric knife.  Never used it on ribs but it is great on rib roast and turkey

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my wifey like them fall off or close so when I do them that way I just cut the half racks that I smoke in half again just before eating. Usually about 3 bones in a piece. then just grab a fork. :) 

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Razor sharp boning knife, of course. Yer knife should slide thru them. I use a  6" like in the pic.

 

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That's the knife I have Reb.  Have about 6 of them.  Fall off the bone is probably not made for cutting.  Follow the bone from one direction to another.  You could cut every 2 or 3 ribs and put a spatula under that one 2 or 3 piece section and serve it that way.  I like tender to the bite myself.  Yes get yourself a good boning knife like Reb shows.  They maintain a good edge.  Fillet knives are for fish.  good luck.

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Mine is so worn down from years of honing, about time for a new one. But, good knives last a long, long, time.

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58 minutes ago, reinhard1 said:

That's the knife I have Reb.  Have about 6 of them.  Fall off the bone is probably not made for cutting.  Follow the bone from one direction to another.  You could cut every 2 or 3 ribs and put a spatula under that one 2 or 3 piece section and serve it that way.  I like tender to the bite myself.  Yes get yourself a good boning knife like Reb shows.  They maintain a good edge.  Fillet knives are for fish.  good luck.

Do you prefer stiff or flexible in boning knives? Please no Beavis and butthead jokes. I could make them myself if necessary.

Edited by delcecchi
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Really don't know any Beavis or butthead jokes anyway LOL.  You know that question is even talked about between butchers all the time.  We had both.  However the stiff blades are the most used, and that is what I have.  I like to have control of such a sharp tool at all times.  Flexible blades tend to move around too much for me.  You may not notice it as much, but when you are cutting quickly at times I don't like the blade to move.  Flexible knives work more for fish in my opinion, not boning out or trimming meat.  good luck.

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I personally don't want a flexible blade on my boning knife. That's for my fillet knife only. ...or using to cut around a bone in a ham.

reinhard1 likes this

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I've pre cut the ribs between each hone before cooking them about 3/4 of the way down stopping about an inch short before making individual riblets. I have found no difference in cooking times or method by doing this other than being able to do the bend test for checking To see if they r done. Then your rub and bark will cover more meat surface while they are cooking. After they r cooked u can basically grab two ribs and pull apart with out the need of a knife

Edited by Coffee118
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As far as flexible and firm with knives it is all about personal preference.  If you had 10 butchers, I would say maybe 2 would use a flexible knife.  Doesn't mean those two are wrong with using them, just that they are more comfortable with them.  good luck.

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I usually get a pretty thick bark, which is delicious but contributes to my cutting problem. Pre-cutting is an interesting thought. I never do the bend test anyway so I might have to give this method a try, along with picking up a good boning knife.

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been boning deer with my rapala fillet knife for 20 years or more. :) 

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Skunked, I also have run into this problem - when I do ribs, I pull them just before they're "fall-off-the-bone."  I want them tender, but not like pulled pork.  I like for them to have just a little bite required to get the meat off the bone.  If using a standard kitchen knife and it's dull, some of the meat starts to shred and the harder you push down, you sometimes make the bone pop-out all together and you're left with hacked-up rib meat and no bone to hold on to.

SO - I reached in the back of the drawer and found an old, junky, plastic-handled serrated steak knife that I've had since college. Probably bought it at K-mart in Winona, back in the day (Go WSU Warriors) but I digress.

Anyway in an act of desperation, I used it with very mild pressure and it "sawed" the rack in to beautiful, straight, perfect individual ribs.  One of the VERY rare occasions that it pays to have a cheap knife handy.  It's now my go-to rib knife.

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I think it also helps to pull them right before they're done, cover with foil, an let them "rest" for 10-15 mns undisturbed. What also may work well for you is a sharp, thin, serrated steak knife...I have some that  would do the job great. It's actually this old set...found it on that one internet selling place!

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A bread knife would likely work, it you don't have a razor shape boning knife or an electric or a cheap serrated kife available.  

Reflecting further , I bet kitchen shears would work fine. 

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Tip the ribs on edge so that the bones are standing vertical and use a good sharp boning knife cutting from the middle out.  Start with stab to the middle where it's easy to find the space between the bones and cut down to the cutting board before reversing course and starting your upward cut to free the bone.

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Quit yakking and just hand me that rack o' ribs. I don't need a knife. :P

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