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How to Start Trimming a Brisket for Barbecue

Learn how to start trimming a packer brisket from Pork Barrel BBQ pitmasters Heath Hall and Brett Thompson in this Howcast video.


Today I'm going to show you how to trim a brisket. Brisket is probably the king of meat when it comes to barbecue. If you've been to Texas, you've probably had brisket, and it's probably one of the more intimidating pieces of meat, but don't let it be. It's really a fun piece of meat to cook and in the end, there's no more flavorful meat than a good, well cooked brisket.

What we have here is called a packer brisket. Now, in your grocery store, you may not find this immediately, you may find what is called a flat. And this is the flat of the brisket. This here is the point, so this is a full brisket or a packer brisket. I encourage you to ask your butcher if they have a packer brisket or if they can get one for you, because I think it's a nicer meat to cook. You're going to have more control over it, because you're going to have the ability to take off whatever fat that you want or whatever fat that you want to keep.

Plus, you're going to be able to cook the point which is where, I think, the jewel of all barbecue resides, and that's the burnt end. That's after you've cooked the brisket, you cut the point off and you recook it again with more seasoning. It's very fatty and it's very flavorful meat, but it needs a little bit more cooking time, and man, will it give you the candy of all barbecue. Really sweet, juicy, succulent, burnt end.

So let's first show you how we trim the fat cap side. So I'm going to flip this over, and this is the fat cap. That's this big sheet of fat on the one side of the brisket. I like to come in here, and I like to come just straight across, and I like to trim off the top layer of fat that's on that point, because I want to expose that meat so that my seasonings can really get down and deep in there. Now, don't throw this away. You know, this is good stuff to put in beans, if your making barbecued beans. So all this stuff is really good to use in one way or the other.

So we're just kind of lightly trimming. We want to avoid cutting off as much of the meat as we can, and just kind of keep to cutting and trimming the fat. So this looks pretty good on this side for the point. I also like to look and see if there's any real thick layers of fat here. You want about a quarter of an inch of fat. Some of these will come in with an half of inch or more, and if that's the case, just take a sharp knife and kind of trim a layer off. And if you just get a little bit exposed and then just start pulling, it will really be pretty easy. But this one, there's not much to trim off, so I'm not going to do much with that.

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