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Brisket, straight up - to trim or not to trim?

Powak Posts: 1,391
I’ve done a bunch of briskets over the past 7 years. Most of them I slathered with mustard, tossed a rub on and smoked till done at 209-210 - Came out great. Recently a buddy of mine at work picked up an egg and introduce me
to Malcom Reed and Meatchurch videos. Lately we’ve done more competition style briskets with trimming, injections and butcher paper wraps at the stall. Had some decent ones and some okay ones. Still feel some of my best ones were the way I first did it. If I go back to that should I not trim so the fat protects the meat as it cooks?


  • GoldenQ
    GoldenQ Posts: 547
    I only trim the thick hard fat but I score the other with a knife
    I XL  and 1 Weber Kettle  And 1 Weber Q220       Outside Alvin, TX-- South of Houston
  • Powak
    Powak Posts: 1,391
    Trimmed off the hard fat. Lookin good. Left the 1/4”’or soft fat cap on.
  • StillH2OEgger
    StillH2OEgger Posts: 3,711
    Many of the things I see (from a distance, admittedly) for competition is not really stuff I want to do for feeding myself and friends.
    Stillwater, MN
  • Photo Egg
    Photo Egg Posts: 12,108
    I believe trimming fat is more based on personal preference and type of cooker used. The Egg holds more moisture by design than most cookers. Because of this I like to trim my briskets and pork butts pretty tight. I also prefer more outer bark/crust than fat.
    Thank you,

    Galveston Texas
  • lousubcap
    lousubcap Posts: 31,172
    Remember the competitors are looking for the one "wow" bite. 
    Louisville; Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!  Seems I'm livin in a transitional period.
  • Mr1egg
    Mr1egg Posts: 359
    I usually trim just like the videos on YouTube and it turns out really good. Pull it at 202 and let it rest for for as long as i can 
  • lkapigian
    lkapigian Posts: 10,463
    Not much trim if doing chopped brisket , trimmed I’d “ Craft Bbq Style” … most of the time it’s chopped for Brisket Sliders 
    Visalia, Ca @lkapigian
  • Teefus
    Teefus Posts: 1,196
    When I do a whole or partial Brisket, I always trim off the hard fat and shave the rest down to a uniform thickness. I shoot for about 1/8" max. I get decent bark.
    Michiana, South of the border.
  • CGS
    CGS Posts: 69
    when you catch info online, you need to pay a little attention to what cooker is used. The ceramic grills are very different to grills that move and replenish heat....pellet and stick burners.  Ceramic grills are tighter spaces and move little air. So with fat, we don't need as much protection that a big fat layer adds and less fat means less mess to manage. 

    I trim out the hard fat, clean up the fat cap to about 1/4" thick and remove the thin fat pockets from the meat side. Most flats have a skinny fatty vein or two that run deep into the meat. Leave them be or you'll end up with a crater. In ceramics, I smoke briskets and butts, fat cap down for added protection and better bark topside.

    Beef has a unique tell, in that it sweats at certain temps. For brisket, the meaty top side will begin sweating when deep in the stall. It's a handy timing gauge for me.

    Instead of mustard, you might try worcestershire as the wetting agent. It adds a nice meaty flavor.

    Briskets seem to be coming in down in price, not counting holiday sales. My Sams Club in Texas had Prime last week at $3.45 lb. 

  • stlcharcoal
    stlcharcoal Posts: 4,672
    I trim off most of the fat for the same reason Tom said.....it's not like there's a  wind tunnel drying it out.  It stays pretty moist under the dome.  Plus, the rub doesn't make it through all that fat, so if you cut it off later, then you lose that level of flavor.

    I slice the fat off in thin layers, then throw it back on top of the brisket after I've rubbed it.  That way you still get the fat to baste it, but you'll still get the bark and flavor of the rub later.  I can't remember what that method is called.....the french use cheesecloth soaked in lard on turkey breasts for the similar reasons.