Triming beef brisket

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by qcrazy, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. qcrazy

    qcrazy Fire Starter

    Hello every one, its been a while since I've been on. I'm just curious about the correct way to trim a brisket. I've watched some barbecue shows and have noticed that they trim as much of the fat off the top of the brisket as they can and have heard some folks trim the fat off of the bottom so the rub and marinade will penetrate the meat. They say the meat has enough fat running through the meat so you don't need the excess fat on the meat. Is this just preference or is there something to this. Thanks  
  2. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    IMHO...all a matter of personal preference.  The first one I smoked I trimmed the fat cap down to about 1/4", scored it, then applied the rub making sure it got into the cracks & rubbed the rest.  Turned out great!

    I saw today where Jeff mentioned trimming most of the fat off the bottom rubbing the meat real well, leaving the fat cap untouched and cooked it fat side down!

    I guess what I'm saying is, try it one way and if that doesn't work for you try something else.  My opinion is that it is personal preference, otherwise there wouldn't be so many different methods out there!

    Good Luck and Good Smokin'

  3. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It's all personal preference........

    I trim most of mine because the wife will just cut it off any ways..........I will leave about 1/8-1/4" so I can have some, but not too much......
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another vote for the personal preference, but:

    I prefer to trim only after cooking.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. maple sticks

    maple sticks Smoking Fanatic

    I'm with jarjarchef. I take it down to 1/8-1/4 score it every 1/2 inch to the meat then rubby rubby.
  6. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I dont trim..and smoke mine fat side up.  Want the fat to melt into the meat.  I trim after smoking some what.  My husband will cut off every morsel of fat off anything anyway.  So....I let him do that to his pieces!  [​IMG]   My 2 cents!

  7. I have tried them fat on and untouched, on and scored, trimmed, fat cap up, fat cap down, and every other variation. My personal preference at this time is trim most all of the outside fat, some of the fat between the point and flat, inject, lots of rub and love. The less fat, the less time it takes to render out and cuts down cook time. To me, thats important as I feed the smoker a split of wood every half hour. Makes for a looonnnggg night and every hour I can shave off helps. Fat is flavor, but too much fat gives me a headache.
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Quarter inch trim and score here. Fat up in the MES but did them fat down in the ECB because they needed protection from the high heat coming up from the charcoal in the bottom...JJ
  9. qcrazy

    qcrazy Fire Starter

    Thanks to every one. Sounds like I've got some experimenting to be done. I've been cooking on a WSM which I've really enjoyed but I'm looking into purchasing a Lang reverse flow. I've heard good things about this type of cooker and seems to make sense, but was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with one of these. Thanks
  10. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    Mine are done, no trim, fat up. When completed, I can scrape off as much fat as I want and then have the beautiful brisket for whatever the family desires. 

    I use the same method for our company's "food day" events, and everyone is very complimentary.  You know how hungry people will "gild the lilly" for a little free brisket.

    It really is up to personal preference.  I have friends that go back and forth about this issue, but the brisket is always delicious.

    Good luck!
  11. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    As most have mentioned, personal preference.  Fat trim is not needed at all, however I do it for  anumber of reasons.  The fat does scrape off much easier once cooked, but to really get some rub onto a lot of the meats surface, I trim all the side fat from the flat (especially for comps, for presentation points!), the large hunk of fat between the point and flat, I'll cut that away as well, then separate the flat from the point about 3 to 4", so that I can get some rub in there as well.  On that piece, I'll try and leave fat on the bottom of the flat portion, but trim fat off the top of the point area to expose that meat and allow rub to adhere along with more direct heat to completely cook the point.  As far as the bottom of the brisket (the fat cap), I'll only trim the heavy areas, leaving a uniform layer to protect the meat from the heat coming from under the brisket as I cook fat side down.  As far as the theory of cooking fat side up to allow the fat to melt into the meat, I do not beleive that fat will melt 'into' the meat.  The fat content in the meat itself is what were trying to get to render and break down to allow the meat to become both tender and juicy.  The outer layer of fat may self-baste the brisket as a whole, but I find it hard to beleive that it melts into.  I have cooked briskets any which way you want, slow and low, hot and fast, fat up, fat down, injected, at room temp, right out of fridge, they all turn out the same, cook them until they are done and enjoy.  Each one tends to cook differently, just have patience and let it cook until it's toothpick tnder, rest, slice, eat.  Just my humble .02...
  12. qcrazy

    qcrazy Fire Starter

    Thanks for all your help I'll keep experimenting.
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As always late for the party. Let me throw this out.

    I don't always trim but even when I do not trim at home, I always cut a corner so I can easily tell which way the grain runs. I may get some fat or not but I always cut a corner so I know without thought how I want to cut it for serving/presentation. If you cut a corner of the flat end with the grain so you will know where it runs, its so much easier. Then sometimes I level out that end so its cutting exactly the same across the meats grain.

    What do I do with all the pieces? I cut them up put them in a zip lock, freeze 'em and Its usually the two or three best chili's I make all year round! Marble, fat, and tuff meat ............ CHILI!
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  14. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Qcrazy. welcome to our world.

     I do things differently and like the way I do.. .

    No trimming is done to my Brisket, the fat helps insulate the Muscle from burning to a crisp and fowling you meal.

    Place the Brisky 'Point side up'(the thickest part) and toward the fire. The most Fat will render out as you cook and the Bark it creates is outstanding.[​IMG]

    Be patient as you cook and do not crank the heat up to overcome the 'stall', all this will do is tend to dry the moisture out , and do not poke a hole(except for probing) until the meat is at your chosen temp.

    I also do not open the Smoker until it's almost done, then I remove and wrap it in foil ,towels and place it in a dry cooler(like for cold drinks).This will hold the Brisket at temp. for up to 6hrs. and will help tenderize it more. So if you have other foods to cook, you'll end up with it all coming out together.Cool Beans[​IMG]  .

    have fun and remember our Heros.

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