Why You Need To Shape Your Brisket While Trimming It

One of the most popular cuts of beef used for barbecue is the classic brisket.

BBQ Host says that the brisket comes from the cow's chest and contains the deep and superficial pectoral muscles. The cut is considered a working muscle because its position supports almost two-thirds of the cow's body weight. And, in addition to having a cap of fat, connective tissue and cartilage are also common. While for some these might sound like negative qualities, those who know the beauty of slow-cooked beef are already salivating at the thought of a good brisket.

RecipeTin Eats says that what makes brisket unique is that it can be slow cooked so that it is tender, but remains "sliceable." And BBQ Host adds that fat renders during the cooking process, adding tons of flavor to the final cuts of beef. 

Whether you choose to smoke it, braise it, or throw it in a slow cooker, as long as you have the time and patience, you can't go wrong with a good brisket.

An even shape promotes even cooking

One of the most important steps to producing a high quality brisket is to properly trim it before it heads to the smoker. Pitmaster Aaron Franklin says, via MasterClass, that this is for two main reasons. Number one is to simply trim off unwanted sections of fat. Briskets have plenty of marbled fat to keep them moist during cooking, so there's nothing lost in taking a little more off the top.

The second reason for trimming is to properly shape the brisket. Franklin said that trimming should result in an even shaped, rounded brisket. Any pieces of meat that stick out or give an uneven shape will likely end up burnt, dried out, and be possibly inedible. It's the same concept as tying a tenderloin, but with more importance thanks to the "bark."

FoodFireFriends says that any good pitmaster hopes for a perfectly charred "bark" of spices to cover the exterior of their meat. What they don't want is that bark and meat to dry out or burn. Without proper shaping though, that's exactly what will happen. Smoked BBQ Source adds that an even shape will also make a more aerodynamic brisket. This will allow the smoke to smoothly flow over the meat, and help it make even contact while it cooks.