Packer or Flat?

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Original poster
May 1, 2009
Mebane, NC
My question is: Which is a better value; buying a packer and trimming the fat off or buying a flat already trimmed.  

I've found that the packer right now at walmart is 2.69/lb (was 1.98/lb) but at my meat market I can get a flat for 4.99/lb.  I've always wondered, by the time I trimmed off the fat before smoking and then considering the amount of fat that I don't eat after cooking, is it basically the same price. 

Has anyone done an research on this? 

I don't bother w/ flats at all any more.

 The fat is what gives you flavor. Also if you smoke the packer and seperate the point you can make burnt ends. (that's worth it on it's own).

A packer is also easier to smoke w/o drying it out.

Was that a flat that ShooterRick did at the gathering?  It was pretty darn good. 

I normally do packers also and trim after smoking but if I can get one to come out as good as Rick's did I'll change over to flats in a heartbeat.
Haven't done the research but I agree with the others. I've only done packers and I've never had one come out dry. And as they said the fat adds to the flavor.

As a guess, I would say if you catch the packers on sale for less than $2.00/lb, you would be money ahead.
how much fat do you trim off?  I usually keep 1/4 inch on the flat.  I've never separated the two pieces.  That fat in between is pretty gnarly. 
I prefer whole packers... the fat I DO trim I set on top of the flat side to render even more flavor into the meat. 
Before or after smoking?  I just do a rough trim on a packer before going in the smoker.  Sometimes that fat cap is an inch and a half thick.  I'll take it down to 1/4 or 1/2 inch depending on mood.  After it's smoked I'll give it a much better trim before slicing.  All depends on how much fat you want on the plate.

The food network had a bbq comp on last night and the contestants trimmed most if not all the visible fat.

I found out this morning that my wife thinks I serve my pulled pork too damp.  Not necessarily fatty just to juicy.  Everyone else loves it.  Next time I do a couple I'll take one and trim the devil out of it both before and after smoking then pull it.  Its tough when someone complains that the meat is to moist when I work so hard to keep it that way.
Sorry bout dat, Al   
Kingofbother,I have it cheaper to get a whole Packer. I don't trim, but let it render down through the meat(I smoke it Flat down and Thick end toward the heat),Cowgirls way works , but me being lazy I leave it on;simple S/CBP and on @ around 220*F for 1.5hrs. per pound. It's the bomb around my neck of the woods

Have fun and remember,
I think the only way to answer your question would be to weigh the whole packer after trimming it, but before smoking. Then get your calculator out.  Let me try some algebra here, might make me dizzy.

Whole Packer @$2.69/lb

Flat @4.99/lb.


   $2.69x = $4.99y.

           x = 1.85y 

So to break even you would need a trimmed, presmoked whole packer to weigh 1.85 times more than the flat that is trimmed by the supermarket.

Now here's the test. Let's say you buy a whole packer  that weighs 15lbs in the bag ($40.35).  You then trim away what fat you would prior to smoking and weigh it.  Then you need to separate the flat from this same brisket and weigh it by itself.  If the whole packer trimmed is not at least 1.85 times heavier than the flat portion you took off, (of course this is assumin your flat cutting is equal to what the butcher at the supermarket would do) then you paid too much. 

I think I got that right, my head hurts.  However, intuitively, I would say that the whole packer is a better value, you get more meat because of the point, I imagine a meat market has to grind that meat up or throw it away after separating a flat.  So in that individual flat you are paying for prep/cut work as well as discarded meat that you don't get to eat or make delicious burnt ends from.  And you get to control the amount of fat that covers your flat portion, as opposed to the butcher determining that for you.
I agree with 55499, I think, but he gave me a head ache too

No one told me there would be math questions

I prefer doing packers, but I had a flat I once threw in on top of a packer.

It slowed the smoke way down which I wasn't expecting, but it turned out being one of the best I've ever done
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Two trains leave their respective stations 36 hours apart on the same track going 1mph headed toward one another. One starts a packer, the other a flat, both at 225* in identical smokers using the same rub and the same mesquite for smoke. After 18 hours they meet head to head. After the dust settles from the 2mph combined speed head-on collision, which tastes best?

I'm going with the nice, juicy, fully rendered packer. 

I'll even allow for the flat to be removed from the smoker for tasting at any point along the way. The packer still wins.

Also, the remaining fat is easily scraped away from the meat on the packer without having to do any pre-trimming.
I prefer packers.... As a matter of fact I'm workin on one right now and will be posting it when it's finished. I'll be posting Qview of how I trim and seperate the point along with finished pics.... 
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