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competition briskett

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I am going to do my first competition on March in Albq NM called the Pork N Brew, here is my question number one, (number one cause I am sure the closer we get the more we will have), I have read were most will not trim any fat from the briskett, so I am thinking when presented to the judges in slices they are going to have fat to eat, is that OK or shall a person trim the fat after cooked, thanks
post #2 of 16
From my understanding its personal preference when the fat comes off. If you take it off before smoking you get more smoke and rub flavor. If you take it off after smoking you get more beefy fatty flavor out of it. The whole saying that fat is flavor. All I know is dont give the judges a piece of meat with a ton of fat on it.
post #3 of 16
Interesting...I have three reasons for always trimming. (just my theories, folks...not claiming it's Gospel) icon_smile.gif

I've only done two brisket flats, never a whole packer or anything. However, I've done a TON of pork shoulders, and since they are both huge chunks of meat with a lot of fat on the outside, for the sake of argument - let's say they are similar enough to make direct comparisons.

Now when I do pork shoulders, I ALWAYS trim off as much fat as possible, and whenever I get around to doing a whole brisket - I'll do the same.

In my experience, the fat doesn't add THAT much flavor - but it does provide one advantage - it can insulate the good meat against heat spikes. A properly cooked, very trimmed-up pork shoulder will be just as good as one that's not trimmed...once again, when cooked right!

What the fat layer DOES do - is it prevents the rub from flavoring the meat directly underneat it! When I used to leave the fat cap on, I noticed as soon as the meat was done - the fat just slides right off the meat...which is what you want. Except it takes all the rub with it.

I trim the hell out of my pork shoulders, so that every square inch of surface area has rub sticking to it, that will form a nice bark. You don't get any bark where the fat was left on during smoking.

Reason # 2 - after watching all the episodes of "Pitmasters"...notice how all teams trim their meat up good. If contest winners are doing it, so will I - if I enter a contest, that is.

Reason #3 - Just about finished reading Mike Mills's book, "Peace, Love & BBQ" He trimmed for contests and he has 4 or 5 grand champions. If it works for him - it might work for you!

Great book by the way...
post #4 of 16
Now I have never competed so I'm might not be the person you need but I have an opion on this subject. I personally like the fat on but in competition I would think you want to trim "most" of the fat off. then your rub will shine thou. Have watched any of the pitmaster shows you might be able to pick up some tips but I dont think they are letting too much out. the bestanswer I have is to go do your best and have fun and see what happens and make changes on the second one.PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #5 of 16
Like with most things in this BBQ world, you can ask 10 people and find 10 ways to do it. You need to find what works best for you.

I can say with a high degree of confidence that you don't want fat going into the turn in box whether you trim it off pre or post cook. There may be judges out there that like fat in the box, but I haven't met them. PDT_Armataz_01_03.gif

I trim the fat post cook..........but that is just me. Pre cook I only take off anything that looks too ugly or thick stuff on the top only. I don't touch the bottom until after it cooks..
post #6 of 16
I agree.....Just about everyone is injecting-butchers,FAB etc....We always trim most fat first,but the comp style brisket is not something anyone is gonna eat a pound of anyways.This is the HARDEST thing for folk to understand who do not compete and watch the comp shows....This is not back yard/restaurant stuff,so experiment and compete some...
post #7 of 16
Remember alot of them on the TLC show are trimming a Waygu brisket, they are different than a choice or CAB brisket from what the guys say on tv
post #8 of 16
When i compete (i cook on 2 UDS) I only trim off the hard white fat and trim a bit of fat from between the point and flat. I then take a sharp knife and make several shallow cuts on the bottom of the brisket to help expose the most fat as possible to the direct heat. After the cook i usually have less than 1/8 inch of fat on the bottom.
post #9 of 16
Well maybe a few are using the Waygu, but I was going to say the same thing, you have 4 o 5 examples from the past few weeks of Pitmasters, and they all are really taking the fat off. In fact I'm surprised by how much fat gets taken off.

Visit a couple of competitions and ask the guys doing the cookin.
post #10 of 16
You will learn ALOT more by going to some comps, just don't get duped into seeing what they want you to, remember, their play'n for money.They will let ya see what they want and tell ya something to make ya smile, they ain't looken for more competition.

As far as trimming fat, it's your call.
post #11 of 16
On some level I get the whole "This isn't backyard BBQ" thing, but what I don't get is why you would have a competition about cooking food, but the goal not be to give the judges something that they would want to eat a bunch of?

It just doesn't make sense to me, not trying to be abrasive...just learn.
post #12 of 16
I agree, I have done KCBS contest and enjoyed it as a hobby but the wife and I like doing the small rib fests that feed the general public better than a KCBS contest.

post #13 of 16
Each judge is sampling 6 pieces of the 4 categories.In trying to make one bite stand out folks use alot more sweetness etc. then you would normaly do....My comp ribs are way sweeter then my home ribs etc...Althoug i would eat the chicken anytime...

This also applies to the techniques.Every team is on a turn in deadline so once they hit on a schedule they stick to it....The hot/fast cooks have figured out how to turn in a tender etc. product in a short timeline.Not something i worry about when relaxing in my backyard smokes etc...

Paul Kirk who has won about as much as anyone mentioned in one of his books that he stopped competing as he burned out on comp style flavoring etc...and he judges/runs his restaurant these days...
post #14 of 16
That makes sense, as it's related to the constraints of a comp (scheduling, making it stand out, etc.). I just mistook the comment I quoted earlier about not being something people would want to eat much of. I took that to mean that something was different that would make unpallatable to people in quantities, where it seems like it just may be like runnig a resturaunt in some regards in that you want it to appeal to the largest amount of people (and in the case of a comp, stand out). Which is really why I think that most resturaunts tend to have bland-er food than I would ever make. Everyone's spice tastes are different.
post #15 of 16
Very well said/written....I guess i was trying to say as far as brisket that the comp style brisket injections are meant to really intensify that one bite.Those injections tend to overwhelm say a big old brisket sandwich etc.,but everyone has different taste profiles they like as you mentioned......The folks winning alot still are producing top shelf tenderness/texture that anyone would be proud to serve.
post #16 of 16
Excellent reading .. without going into detail You might want to trim the top down as fat free as possiable and cook it with any fat on the bottom as to protect the juices from leaving until you want them to . After cooking just slide the fat off the bottom and the top then will have your excellent bark and smoke ring so to speak . Just my thoughts .. good luck and PRACTICE PRACTICE and taste test .
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