Over Trimmed briskets are interesting, given they don’t look like a normal piece of barbecue.
There is hardly any residual fat on top of the meat. If you are thinking of trimming a brisket, make sure you are okay with paying a lot more.
You will want to smoke a trimmed brisket just like you would with a normal un trimmed brisket, but just make sure to tend to it a lot more. If you have excess trimming from brisket, you can use it as a cooking oil for other types of foods.
What does trimmed brisket mean
Having a trimmed brisket just means that the excess fat has been removed. Commonly, this refers to trimming down the fat all around a brisket until there is about 1/4 inch in thickness.
Many PitMasters will go even farther, and trim just about everything off of the brisket, hence creating an over trimmed brisket.
Trimmed and over trimmed briskets can and will come out great in their own right. It’s just a matter of what you are looking for, what do you prefer in a brisket, and how you want it to come out.
Having a trimmed brisket means that you will still have that layer of 1/4 inch thick fat surrounding the brisket. This can be an excellent way to have that happy medium between a too fatty or too lean type of brisket.
To Trim or Not Trim Fat?
If you like the taste of a really fatty brisket, leave the fat on. If you don’t then go ahead and trim your brisket. The main difference between a trimmed or un trimmed brisket is simply the taste, and how the bark comes out.
I’ve smoked plenty of briskets, both trimmed, un trimmed, some perhaps over trimmed, and they all are very similar with only slight differences.
If you go around asking PitMasters in person, the general consensus is to just trim your brisket to roughly 1/4 worth of external fat. This provides the right balance between fatty and beefy flavor.
The right amount of trimming to be done for a brisket is recommended to be around 1/4 of an inch thick. This has the benefit of providing a nice beefy but still flavorful brisket. The bark has just enough fat to form onto, but you don’t encounter a lot of un rendered fat to deal with. It’s a great happy middle ground.
Un Trimmed Briskets
I prefer Un Trimmed Briskets. They are simple, easy, and are a great way to get your first brisket smoke under your belt. You don’t have to go to the extra effort of slicing pounds of fat off. Just season and throw on the smoker. Done.
Some PitMasters claim that there is some fat that won’t render down – that is actually true.
I just find it a lot more beneficial to spend time worrying about other aspects of the overall smoking process like getting the smoker temps up, managing fuel, etc.
Plus, un trimmed briskets with their Smokey fat taste really good anyways.
Over Trimmed Briskets
You’ve got to watch out for over trimmed briskets. Although there is nothing that has really changed with your brisket if you happen to obtain an over trimmed brisket because the meat will still come out tender, there is a lot more that goes into the overall flavoring.
Having fat on any kind of meat, not just brisket, can only help how the end product comes out.
It makes it way more tasty, and you could even argue serves as a protective shield against all of the direct and indirect heat that will force its way upon your brisket.
What to do with an over trimmed brisket?
If you happened to accidentally buy a trimmed brisket that looks way over trimmed, you will want to treat it just like any other brisket. It’s really not some specialty type of brisket, only the outside and excess fat has been removed.
Here’s what to do if you’re worried about overcooking a trimmed brsiket:
- Use a water pan for the first half of the cook (until internal temp gets to around 160)
- Start raising ambient temperatures substantially above what you were smoking at the first half
- Wrap in your preferred material – foil or butcher paper
- Pull once the brisket is probe tender
Having the excess fat around your brisket does not really change the cooking process for your brisket.
As noted by some experienced PitMasters, the real tenderness for your brisket comes from the intramuscular fat inside the brisket. This is what really renders down and provides you with those gloriously juicy briskets.
Can you smoke a trimmed brisket?
Smoking a trimmed brisket can produce amazing results. As mentioned before, you are only really having to deal with a slightly less fatty type of brisket than if you were to try and smoke an un trimmed brisket. There is still some fat along the top, no pockets of un rendered fat, and amazing bark that should form.
Buying A Pre Trimmed Brisket
Buying a pre trimmed brisket will warrant a higher price tag per pound. Although you don’t have to go to the effort of trimming it yourself, there will definitely be a premium you will be paying.
Furthermore, a lot of the meat market butchers I’ve seen in these grocery stores will regularly over trim all of their ‘trimmed’ briskets.
Basically, they will take just about every ounce of fat off of the externally parts of the meat. That’s not good! You will always want some level of fat present on top of the meat.
Not only will you be paying a premium, but you sacrifice any customization to your brisket. The only thing I see as a benefit is all of the so called ‘work’ to trim a brisket is taken away from you.
Buying An Un Trimmed Brisket
Buying an un trimmed brisket will offer you way more flexibility.
The price is way cheaper, you have the ability to trim as much or as little as you need, and they are generally easier to find.
Un trimmed briskets in the average marketplace will generally range anywhere from $1.99 per pound for select grade cuts to almost $4.99 per pound for prime grade.
What do you do with the trimmings from a brisket?
There are a variety of things to do with trimmings from a brisket. The most notable of which is to use the trimming for cooking oil in your other cooking activities. It goes great with eggs, bacon, and can be a great way to help fry your foods. Using left over trimming from your smoked brisket allows you to reuse some great tasting oil.