Why You Should Never Trim Warm Brisket

Brisket is a cut of meat that grill masters are very familiar with. Although it originated as one of the cheapest cuts of beef, this delicious favorite has become one of the most popular trims of meat in places like barbecue-loving Texas (via Angry BBQ). Brisket is a cow's breast or lower chest meat, and its fat content makes it the perfect candidate for a tremendous slow-cooking experience (via Traeger). According to the Wall Street Journal, the size of brisket can range from about 6 to more than 12 pounds. And that includes the large amount of flavorful fat that needs to be managed properly if you want to dish up a mouthwatering meal.

Trimming the fat is a necessary step in the brisket-smoking process. And according to Hey Grill Hey, how you cut it directly affects whether or not a good bark develops, if the smoky flavor gets into the meat, and generally how the brisket cooks. It may come as a surprise that when you trim your brisket is just as important as how you trim it. However, the temperature is a crucial factor in both navigating the ease of fat-trimming and avoiding unnecessary mess.

Keep it cool to keep it easy

The process of trimming the fat is pretty straightforward. All you need is a sharp knife (preferably a boning knife, via Grill Simply) and a little practice. But if you want the cleanest cut, you also want to work with an excellent piece of meat. According to MasterClass, warmer fat is not only stickier, but it's also harder to handle than cooler meat. Additionally, MasterClass says you should keep your brisket in the fridge until you're ready to cut the fat to maximize your trimming ease. Texas Lifestyle Mag takes this a step further and recommends freezing the brisket for 20 minutes before trimming.

While you'll want to remove some fat, you don't want to cut it all off. Wide Open Eats states that ¼ of an inch is the perfect amount of fat to leave on top of your brisket to keep the meat moist and protect it from the smoker's heat. And in case you were wondering, you technically can smoke your brisket before trimming it, but that doesn't mean you should. Wide Open Eats also states if you wait until after it's cooked, you'll not only have a big mess on your hands but also run the risk of the fat drippings causing flare-ups on your grill.

The bottom line is when it comes to trimming your brisket, the colder, the better. So be sure to cool down that hunk of meat before preparing to make your next smoked brisket.