What is the optimal amount of fat to leave after trimming?
Question: Dear Paul, Thank you for all your recipes on all the variety of items you have posted on here. I have a hopefully easy couple questions for you. When smoking packer trim brisket do you slice off all the fat or just some off the top layer? If you trim the fat rather than completely remove, how thick of layer is optimal to leave? I've done a lot of smoking using your methods with great results. This is something I've wanted to know due to more fat the more heat and marinade to use but it also keeps it moister when cooking. Thanks again!
Brandon, I am glad our website has been successful in helping you become a better backyard chef. That is one of our goals. As far as trimming the brisket I have two suggestions. Keep in mind there is a layer of meat between two layers of fat that has a very good beef flavor and should not be discarded as waste. There are two ways to cook a packer trim: 1) Just trim the heavier layers of fat off the brisket and cook as one piece. This will take 8-10 hours depending on the size of the brisket. 2) Seperate the two pieces of meat. I call the smaller piece the deckle piece. It will have a lot of fat on the top side of it. It will be seperated from the bigger piece by a very thin layer of fat. I leave the thin layer of fat on the brisket. I take the deckle piece and trim all the surface fat off. There will be marbled fat in this deckle piece. Leave this fat in the meat. When seasoning (do not) season the smaller deckle piece as heavy. Due to the fat marbled in, it will be too salty if seasoned too much. By seperating the two pieces apart the cooking time will be reduced also. The deckle will cook in about 5 hours. The bigger piece will cook in 6 hours. This is using a cooking temp of 275-300 degrees. You will notice a big difference between the two pieces of meat. I use foil when cooking brisket. This helps in reducing cooking time and keeps the brisket moist. I hope this helps. Let me know if there is anyhting else I can do for you. Paul