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Smoking lean grass-fed beef brisket

Joined Aug 29, 2017
Need help with smoking a leaner grass fed beef brisket.

We raise grass fed beef and I am looking to learn more about smoking a leaner grass fed brisket. I have not smoked any of our brisket yet, but gave some to friends to try out. One buddy is a smoking hobbyist (back yard) and the other is part of a competition BBQ team.

Because the fat content was less than corn-fed (store bought), they reported it turned out to be more like a roast. The flavor was there, but it was a bit dry. Obviously no burnt ends due to the lack of fat.

I have thought about injecting the brisket to help keep it's moisture...would that help?

I posted a photo of a brisket, you can tell it's pretty lean. It's also been dry-aged 21 days -- is dry-aged beef bad for smoking?

Any feedback is really appreciated! 




Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 7, 2013
Don't know that I can help you, Chris, but your brisket concerns have stirred up my noggin' stuffin'.  Maybe I can stir up some ideas in your head too.

Lean brisket, very little fat, well exercised muscle.  You still have to melt the collagen to make it tender and juicy, but don't have the additional fat to add some additional juiciness.  Dry aging uses the enzymes in the meat to break down the tissue, also losing water weight.  That won't hurt at all because brisket gets cooked to high enough temp that most of the water has been sweat out of the meat by the time it's done anyway. 

Some claim injecting a brisket helps with juiciness.  I think in your case you'd need to inject it, with the grain, using beef broth and food grade sodium tripolyphosphate to enhance retention of liquids.  $12 on Amazon for 1.1 lbs. 

As far as fat goes, you have some options. 

   1.  Rub the meat, then cover with thick cut bacon until the IT get into the 180s, then remove the bacon, or leave it on.  Worth the experiment.

   2.  Save fat trimmings from other meat and use that instead of bacon.

   3.  You could confit the brisket in duck fat at say 350F until it gets past the stall, then apply rub and throw it on the smoker at 250F until probe tender.

Too bad Chef JJ is recovering from eye surgery.  He might have some great ideas. 

Keep us posted on what you do and how it turns out because that is one FINE looking cut of beef!

Last edited:


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Dec 26, 2007
That is one lean looking brisket! I would try putting it on the smoker for 4 to 6 hours and then put it in a pan with some beef stock or some dark beer or both. Don't cover the pan with foil you don't want to braise or steam it. Maybe baste the top of the brisket with the pan juices occasionally.  Collagens really start to break down around 165 internal so you maybe want to wait to pan it until then. Might also want to add a water pan in the smoker somewhere to keep that moist heat going. Low and slow is your friend here! Good luck and let us know what you did and how it turns out!

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