Originally Posted by tropez
I trim the fat off. - Me too, at least on pork butt. With brisket, I do just like Mike Johnson and trim the fat cap to about 1/4".
Rub doesn't stick to fat. - Actually, rub does stick to the fat - but who wants to eat the fat? Also - when you remove the fat you remove the rub too....better to put the rub directly on the meat.
Takes longer to cook. - Not that I have noticed, and I have cooked a lot of meat.
Smoke doesn't penetrate the fat. - Smoke will penetrate the fat - however, it penetrates the meat better if the fat is not there.
My opinion. Good to have opinions but even better to have good information.
Opinion mixed with information I suppose.
True, rub does stick to fat, but don't think it penetrates the fat very well. So the side of your meat where you leave the fat, and then put rub on it, that rub isn't going to penetrate as well as the rub applied directly to the meat.
Trimming off the fat on our briskets has reduced our comp team cook times in half. We separate out the flat and the point and don't cook it whole. Others may cook it whole. If so, then cook times may be around the same.
The smoke does not penetrate through the fat layer as well. Thus the missing smoke ring when you look at cut brisket with the fat left on. (images below)
See the lack of ring where the fat was kept on this brisket:
Compared to this where the fat was removed:
To each his or her own, just sharing what I've learned.