I’m new to smoking and this is the first time I’ve bought a full brisket. My butcher divided a 16# brisket into 3 more manageable pieces for me to practice on. The end pieces have a 3-4” wide strip of fat in the middle and it looks like more fat than meat throughout. Do I trim this fat out, creating smaller pieces?
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Welcome to the forum. Trim the fat CAP to within 1/4 inch of the meat at most. Then season and smoke. The fat in the middle will partially render our and keep the meat moist. If you have a Costco nearby, they sell prime, whole packer briskets at a good price.
Thanks! I guess this is why it was on sale…
What model smoker do you have?
Wondering if you know the grade of the 16 lb brisket your butcher cut up? Choice or prime? It looks like a very, very fatty prime. Your pics show a very small point (on the top in one pic, and then on the bottom, and a very heavily marbled flat. Terrible waste of that cut of brisket to cut it up. The only variable with the whole brisket would be cook time, and I don't think "practice" on a cut piece of whole brisket tells you much about how to cook a cryovac flat or whole brisket. You will probably get a good result with low and slow cooking, but the exposed thick fat layer will render out early in the cooking, so be prepared for lots of fat in the drip pan. Let us know what happens, and good luck!
I’m sure the butcher saw a newbie and got rid of a less than stellar piece of meat. I trimmed it the best I could last night and let the dry rub sit on it 7 hours. I smoked it low and slow today till it reached 195 and let it rest for an hour. There was a LOT of fat rendered out and it still had a streak of fat in the middle, but it was very tasty! I’m going to take the above comment and buy a better cut of meat from Costco next time. It’s only me and my husband so I’m practicing on smaller cuts to learn some of the basics. Thanks for your advice and kind words.
You shouldn't worry about the streak of fat in the middle. That's normal and easy to cut out when eating. Nobody ever said brisket was healthy! Sounds like you got it right, although I might have gone to 200 - 205 with that much fat. If you get a whole brisket again, without that much fat, you should leave the whole point cut on and then remove it before slicing the flat, and use the point for burnt ends (search here). You'll like it!
Reported. Copied almost verbatim from post of 2 days ago.
Rhonda A: There is a big streak of fat between the point and the flat. Do a google search for trimming a packer brisket. Aaron Franklin does a good job of explaining this. Aaron Franklin describing how he trims a brisket at Brisket Camp 2015 - YouTube . Brisket is one of those "It's done when it's done" cuts of beef. I use a leave in thermometer when I do brisket. I set the alarm for 190 degrees. When the alarm goes off I do a "toothpick" test. This is basically sticking a skewer or toothpick into the brisket in several places. When the toothpick goes into the meat and it feels like it is going into a stick of warm butter it is done. it seems like all briskets are a little different and I have had briskets that passed the "toothpick" test at 190 degrees. I had one that went all the way to 215 degrees before it passed the test. When you get them right the brisket will actually wobble almost like jello. Once the brisket is done I place them in a disposable aluminum pan and cover it with foil. This all goes into a warm ice chest for 2 to 4 hours. I always recommend reading the old 101's that Smokin Okie put together. Brisket 101 is here: Brisket 101 webpage .
Thanks to everyone for your information and encouragement. I’m just starting on this journey of a lifetime and I’m excited to learn from the best.