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View Full Version : Tutorial - How to Trim a Whole Packer Brisket


Mister Bob
11-26-2011, 05:35 PM
There's more than one way to skin a cat, or trim a brisket. You can certainly cook one with very little trimming at all if that's your inclination, but this is how I do it for competition. It gives me plenty of surface area to develop a great bark, it makes it very easy to separate the point and the flat after cooking (so I can make burnt ends from the point while the flat is resting/holding), and it gives me perfectly uniform, right sized slices for my turn in box.

I hope this takes some of the mystery out of it for the new cooks, and maybe teaches some of the old dogs a new trick or two as well. I'm constantly learning new things here in this forum, and I like to give back once in a while, so here goes:

I'm starting with a 14 pound Angus Brisket from Restaurant Depot.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket01.jpghttp://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket02.jpg

Here's what it looks like right out of the Cryovac.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket03.jpg

The first thing I do is remove the large hunk of fat at the separation between the point and the flat.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket04.jpghttp://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket05.jpghttp://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket06.jpghttp://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket07.jpg

Then I run the tip of the knife between the point and the flat, only going in about an inch or inch and a half. This will help later when it's time to separate them so I can rest/hold the flat and cube and make burnt ends from the point.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket08.jpg

Next, I trim away the brown edges.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket09.jpghttp://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket10.jpg

Then I remove the larger pieces of fat from the top of the flat. No need to go crazy here, just go for the bigger pieces, the rest will render during the cook.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket11.jpg

Next, I cut off the tip perpendicular with the grain in the meat. This lets me know the direction of my slices later, because once the bark forms you won't be able to see the grain.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket12.jpg

Finally, I cut with the grain along the edge so all of my slices from the middle of the flat will be sized perfectly for the turn in box. No meat is wasted, I grind the trimmings to make MOINKs for my team during the comp. I don't trim the fat cap on the point side at all.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket13.jpghttp://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket14.jpg

Here's what it should look like when all the trimming is done. Hope this helps.

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket15.jpghttp://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/How%20to%20Trim%20Brisket%20for%20Competition%2011-26-11/CompetitionBrisket16.jpg

MilitantSquatter
11-26-2011, 05:55 PM
Thanks Mr. Bob..

This will be very helpful to many members.

colonel00
11-26-2011, 06:00 PM
Interesting method. What do you do with the trimmings from the flat? I assume you rub them up and cook for snacks?

Mister Bob
11-26-2011, 06:05 PM
Interesting method. What do you do with the trimmings from the flat? I assume you rub them up and cook for snacks?

No meat is wasted, I grind the trimmings to make MOINKs for my team during the comp.

Yes, sometimes sliced, rubbed and grilled too.

stephan
11-26-2011, 06:09 PM
Nice job on the tutorial.

Ron_L
11-26-2011, 06:10 PM
Nice job, Mister Bob!

For those who are cooking for home use and don't care if their slices fit into a turn in box :-D there is the Basic Brisket Tutorial that Bigabyte posted a couple of years ago...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57882

buccaneer
11-26-2011, 06:13 PM
Extremely helpful for those of us in countries where they butcher differently because the only way for us is to explain to the butcher which whole piece we need and do it at home.
Thanks a million for this tutorial, Bob!:bow:

tortaboy
11-26-2011, 06:29 PM
Thanks Mister Bob!

Besides more bark area, is there any difference between removing the fat cap prior to cooking vs. cutting it off once cooked?

Shiz-Nit
11-26-2011, 06:42 PM
Bro you are the man... I LOVE your blog and check it out all the time

Ron_L
11-26-2011, 06:56 PM
Thanks Mister Bob!

Besides more bark area, is there any difference between removing the fat cap prior to cooking vs. cutting it off once cooked?

He didn't do anything to the fat cap. It's on the underside of the brisket in his pictures (except the first two in the cryovac).

tortaboy
11-26-2011, 07:00 PM
He didn't do anything to the fat cap. It's on the underside of the brisket in his pictures (except the first two in the cryovac).

Woops..I missed that.

42BBQ
11-26-2011, 07:02 PM
Awesome tutorial, I've been getting better with my brisket but this should take it up a notch. Well done Bob.

Mister Bob
11-26-2011, 07:03 PM
Thanks Mister Bob!

Besides more bark area, is there any difference between removing the fat cap prior to cooking vs. cutting it off once cooked?


I'm no butcher, so my nomenclature might not be entirely accurate. Maybe a more learned Brother will chime in. I refer to the layer of fat, usually covering the entire point side of the packer as the fat cap, similar to the fat cap on a pork butt. I don't remove that when cooking a whole packer.

If you're talking about that large chunk of fat between the point and the flat that I removed first in the tutorial, I don't know what that's called, or if it even has a name. Besides getting more bark, removing that prior to cooking makes it much easier to identify the separation between the muscles later, so I can run the back of my slicer in there to separate them after cooking.

If you're talking about what I call the fat cap, there are several different schools of thought there. Some leave it on and cook with the fat up, believing that it will help baste the meat. Others leave it on and cook with the fat down, believing that it will help insulate the meat from the heat rising up in an upright style cooker. Others trim it to 1/8" or so and apply rub to get bark on that side.

I leave it on, cook with fat down and don't rub it. I'll be cubing the point and seasoning later when the burnt ends go back in the cooker.

tortaboy
11-26-2011, 07:07 PM
I'm no butcher, so my nomenclature might not be entirely accurate. Maybe a more learned Brother will chime in. I refer to the layer of fat, usually covering the entire point side of the packer as the fat cap, similar to the fat cap on a pork butt. I don't remove that when cooking a whole packer.

If you're talking about that large chunk of fat between the point and the flat that I removed first in the tutorial, I don't know what that's called, or if it even has a name. Besides getting more bark, removing that prior to cooking makes it much easier to identify the separation between the muscles later, so I can run the back of my slicer in there to separate them after cooking.

If you're talking about what I call the fat cap, there are several different schools of thought there. Some leave it on and cook with the fat up, believing that it will help baste the meat. Others leave it on and cook with the fat down, believing that it will help insulate the meat from the heat rising up in an upright style cooker. Others trim it to 1/8" or so and apply rub to get bark on that side.

I leave it on, cook with fat down and don't rub it. I'll be cubing the point and seasoning later when the burnt ends go back in the cooker.

Thanks! I've made so many burnt ends over the past few months that I'm tired of them (Sounds impossible, I know):heh:

Do you ever just slice the point for sandwich's also?

smokingj
11-26-2011, 07:08 PM
Have you ever thought of filming these tutorials and then burning them to disc to sell here on the board? I'd buy one.

Mister Bob
11-26-2011, 07:28 PM
Thanks! I've made so many burnt ends over the past few months that I'm tired of them (Sounds impossible, I know):heh:

Do you ever just slice the point for sandwich's also?

I do. At competitions, I only make one half tray of burnt ends so I can turn some in with the slices from the flat. Since I usually cook two packers, I wind up with lots of 'point' meat to slice and vacuum pack. I think those slices are even better than the flat on a sandwich. I also shred or chop it for ABTs.

Mister Bob
11-26-2011, 07:40 PM
Have you ever thought of filming these tutorials and then burning them to disc to sell here on the board? I'd buy one.

I have thought of doing a series of 'how to' videos, and if I do get around to it I will post them on my blog for free.

tortaboy
11-26-2011, 07:46 PM
I think those slices are even better than the flat on a sandwich.

Me too! But I've been afraid to make that claim for fear I would be labeled a heretic.:thumb::thumb::thumb:

JD McGee
11-26-2011, 08:38 PM
Great tutorial Bob...thanks for sharing it with us! :thumb:

Brauma
11-26-2011, 08:48 PM
Thanks Mr. Bob. You rock!

LoneStarMojo
11-26-2011, 10:46 PM
That's a premo tutorial. Directly to the point and easy for anyone to follow. BravO!

tish
11-26-2011, 11:00 PM
I have thought of doing a series of 'how to' videos, and if I do get around to it I will post them on my blog for free.

Thank you, Mr. Bob! I will definitely be following your blog! Just another example of the generosity to be found on this forum!! :thumb:

Phrasty
11-26-2011, 11:28 PM
Looks good to me! :thumb:

JMSetzler
11-26-2011, 11:38 PM
Thanks for posting that with the photos! I am gonna give your method a try on my next brisket.... :)

Vision
11-27-2011, 06:56 AM
Thanks

Why do the last two pictures look like different pieces of meat?

Mister Bob
11-27-2011, 07:30 AM
Thanks

Why do the last two pictures look like different pieces of meat?

It's just a matter of angle and perspective. They're taken from opposite sides of the cutting board. Look closely at the fat patterns and you'll see.

Al Czervik
11-27-2011, 08:01 AM
Great tutorial Mister Bob... It's going to definitely come in handy for my next brisket so I book marked it for easy access. :thumb:

I also read though your entire blog. All I can say is I was very impressed. I'll be using some of what you shared on future cooks. BTW, the Kobi ramp was very cool.

Black Dog BBQ
11-27-2011, 08:48 AM
Thanks for that. Very well done, even a Texican can understand the process.

Sledneck
11-27-2011, 08:52 AM
Thanks Mr. Bob..

This will be very helpful to many members.

And you and Phil always picked on me for whipping out my Fatmax Stanley tape measure :rolleyes:

morgaj1
11-27-2011, 02:16 PM
I've never cooked a brisket, but have been studying up. Definitely a bookmark!

SmokinAussie
11-27-2011, 03:52 PM
Yes, I'll be printing this out to take the the butcher shop. Hopefully they will be able to get me some brisket afterall!

Cheers!

Bill

razrbakcrzy
11-29-2011, 03:54 PM
Nice tutorial!

Big_Alvin
11-29-2011, 04:47 PM
thank you, i especially like the "I cut off the tip perpendicular with the grain in the meat. This lets me know the direction of my slices later, because once the bark forms you won't be able to see the grain." will make the slicing much easier next time around.

Pitmaster T
11-29-2011, 06:40 PM
i came in here to make some smart arsed comment ... but see a well executed and disciplined trim... damn! Other than you cannot make a moink out of anything but frozen prepared meatballs or its not a moink I see this as a good job. The pictures are good enough to steal when I I roll out my Pitmaster Kid 3.0 vids.

Brizz
11-29-2011, 09:20 PM
Best tutorial I've seen here. Thank you so much. Oddly I was doing a lot of this already. I like cutting that pyramidal hunk of fat that separates the flat and point, then I can grab the two muscles like handles after a cook and they usually just peel apart.