Author Topic: Brisket - why trim the fat at all?  (Read 325 times)

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Offline SteelerFanInTexas

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Brisket - why trim the fat at all?
« Reply #-1 on: December 07, 2017, 10:16:19 PM »
So, bear with me while I test the theory that there are no stupid questions...   :)

Reading the thread about how the brisket came out dry, and how one possible reason is that too much fat was trimmed off which caused it to use moisture, it makes me wonder...why trim the fat at all?  Is there any reason why you can't just cook it straight as it comes, then trim off the fat after the cook?
« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 10:35:55 PM by SteelerFanInTexas »

Offline TentHunteR

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Re: Brisket - why trim the fat at all?
« on: December 08, 2017, 06:53:41 AM »
Why trim fat at all? A good question, especially for those new to brisket, and it really depends on the cut of brisket you buy.  There are three basic brisket cuts:  a Flat end, a Point end, or a Whole Brisket (commonly called a whole packer).


Brisket flat: As the name implies, it's the flat somewhat squarish shaped muscle on the bottom of the brisket. It has a layer of fat on top (fat cap), and very little fat marbling.  Often times the fat cap is trimmed way down or completely off when you buy it. Because it's a tough cut and has little marbling, this is the part of the brisket that is most difficult to cook and keep moist.

Brisket Point: This is the end section which comes to a thicker point, with lots of fat marbling and collagen, making it much easier to keep moist. It just needs lots of time for the connective tissues and collagen to break down and become tender.  This is my favorite part of a brisket. It's great for pulled beef.

Whole Packer: This is simply a whole brisket containing both the flat and the point ends with a HUGE, thick layer of fat in between the two muscles.  It's this thick fat layer that usually gets trimmed mostly away.


Why trim any of this fat away?  Because it's a lot, and I mean A LOT, of fat, which really doesn't do a whole lot to keep the flat moist.  Instead it just cooks off and melts away creating a lot of grease in your cooker.  Also beef fat is much harder to digest.

For whole packers, I usually trim most of this layer of fat out, leaving about a 1/4" fat cap on the flat.


 

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Offline Jaxon

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Re: Brisket - why trim the fat at all?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2017, 08:43:53 AM »
See what I mean?

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Offline smokeasaurus

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Re: Brisket - why trim the fat at all?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2017, 09:12:36 AM »
I completely trimmed a packer of most of the fat and it came out great. Of course that was a one time only cook that way. Much of the fat on a brisket will not render. Like Cliff said 1/4 seems to be the golden rule. I have seen trimmed briskets at HEB for sale next to the untrimmed ones.

If I don't trim at all or if I trim a bit, it is always fat side down for me. In an offset, I like the fat cap to protect the meat since the heat is coming up from below and rising over the meat.

Be an interesting experiment to cook them both and see the results.
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Offline TentHunteR

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Re: Brisket - why trim the fat at all?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2017, 10:26:21 AM »
If I don't trim at all or if I trim a bit, it is always fat side down for me. In an offset, I like the fat cap to protect the meat since the heat is coming up from below and rising over the meat.

Same here. I like using the fat as a barrier from the heat to keep it from drying out the bottom of the flat during the cook.  I do the same with pork shoulders too.
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Offline scottv

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Brisket - why trim the fat at all?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 03:01:39 PM »
I trim mine pretty well. You're not cooking it for the 12+ hours like you do on a traditional smoker. I also cook it the fat side down. To me it kind of creates a barrier to not dry out the rest.

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Offline Ka Honu

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Re: Brisket - why trim the fat at all?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 05:44:25 PM »
I've been known to cook the brisket fat side down and rack some of the trim above it to "baste" the top. Not in a PBC, of course, but it seems to work for me when I remember to do it.
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