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-   -   Why fat side down vs fat side up (

BriGreentea 11-09-2018 10:57 AM

Why fat side down vs fat side up
Two briskets ago I smoked on my WSM against all advice I took my 10 dollar packer salt and pepper only fat side up to see what would happen vs fat side down and aside some of the seasoning washed up I noticed how moist the top/crust side was yet near the fat side was a little drier. I thought it turned great.

Should I try this again or go back to fat side down? I want to do a longer smoke this time and also I want to go back to putting mustard slather. That was the only thing missing from my attempt at fat side up. Something about the mustard works wonder on most of my bbq. Lets the seasoning stick and vinegar in it marinades while cooking I guess.

Burnt at Both Endz 11-09-2018 11:05 AM

It's fun to try new things. I use mustard for my bologna sandwiches though. :-D

Czarbecue 11-09-2018 11:09 AM

I used to do fat side up but now I do fat down and flip it after four hours just to get the smoke ring. That way the fat can stay pretty supple and can render down properly without being stuck to the grates. I also reapply a small layer of rub back on after the flip.

razorbrewer 11-09-2018 11:28 AM

It's really simple...the fat cap should face the heat source to serve as a buffer and protect the meat from drying out. In WSMs, kamodos, etc, you should be cooking fat cap down. On horizontal offsets, fat cap up.

thirdeye 11-09-2018 11:29 AM

I consider the fat as a protective layer from the heat. All of the smokers I cook on have the heat below the meat so the majority of the time my briskets are fat down. If you have a reverse flow horizontal the fat cap would be up. The exception to this is when I hang briskets in my drums.

jermoQ 11-09-2018 11:38 AM

You should go with whichever gave you the best results. If your results were good fat up in the WSM, do it again. I have always heard, fat down towards the heat if you have a vertical cooker. Several of these guys have given good tips about flipping halfway and adding more seasoning. I have never experimented with mustard, no mustard so I can't add to that topic. I like mustard though...:laugh:.

smoke ninja 11-09-2018 11:39 AM

I'm a flipper

Smoking Piney 11-09-2018 11:41 AM

I go fat side down. It shields the meat from the more direct heat coming from below, it allows full air circulation around the meat to get the bark forming, and you're not going to leave any bark stuck to the grate when you pull it off.

Beer/Meat/Victory 11-09-2018 12:15 PM

I'm in the Fat Down (on WSM), wrap, Fat Up crowd

BriGreentea 11-09-2018 12:24 PM


Originally Posted by Smoking Piney (Post 4093680)
I go fat side down. It shields the meat from the more direct heat coming from below, it allows full air circulation around the meat to get the bark forming, and you're not going to leave any bark stuck to the grate when you pull it off.

You have a good point. I will say when I did a 10 cook overnight once the fat got stuck and ripped off the Bueno.

I think you sold me on fat side down...makes more sense.

qnbiker 11-09-2018 12:30 PM

Maybe people tell you fat side up or fat side down because if they say personal preference, they're afraid you'll put it on sideways? BTW, I'm a fat side down kind of guy.

BriGreentea 11-09-2018 12:33 PM


Originally Posted by Beer/Meat/Victory (Post 4093699)
I'm in the Fat Down (on WSM), wrap, Fat Up crowd

Yes, that is what I usually do. Fat side down then tried wrapping in butcher paper for 2 hours fat side down once wrapped and one fat side up and putting the brisket fat side down for 6-8 hours and wrapping it for 2 hours fat side up had the best results. I am assuming the basting in the paper fat side up did the trick.

DBBQ 11-09-2018 07:03 PM

LIke others said, so what you feel tastes best to you. Its fun trying various methods.

frognot 11-09-2018 08:12 PM

Fat side down with my BGE (and WSM before it) and add a little pickle juice to my mustard slather. Wrap with butcher paper when IT around 160. Not a flipper.

Rusty Kettle 11-10-2018 10:54 AM

Fat side down

SmokerKing 11-10-2018 11:09 AM


OklaDustDevil 11-10-2018 11:40 AM

I think it depends on the circumstances. I understand the logic of having the fat side face the heat source for protection, but IMHO that becomes less important as you:
- cook lower and slower
- place the meat farther from the heat source
- use a water pan for moisture between the meat and the heat source
- place something that acts as a heat diffuser (sheet of metal, empty pan to catch drippings, whatever) between the meat and the heat source

If I don’t need the fat cap for protection, then I cook with the fat cap up for self-basting.

In my horizontal offset, for example, the only time I experienced an issue with part of the brisket cookin faster, burning, or charring was when I placed it right next to and above the opening into the firebox. If I just moved the brisket to the other end of the smoker, so the smoke and heat had a bit of room to mix before flowing around the meat, then I had no issue and didn’t need the fat cap for protection.

My vertical wood-burning smoker, on the other hand, contains a huge water pan between the wood fire and the meat rack. So, again, as long as I center the meat above that water pan such that the smoke and heat has to mix throughout the smoker before reaching the meat, I don’t need to use the fat cap for protection.

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