Food - Drink
Does Marbling Matter When Buying Brisket?
Smoked brisket can involve over ten hours of cooking time, and since you want the finished product to be worth the wait, you need to start with a good piece of meat. While you may think that you should always buy beef with plenty of white fat, or marbling, distributed throughout the cut, brisket is a little different.
Marbling may be crucial when buying the juiciest ribeye, but it doesn’t matter that much when it comes to brisket. A lack of visible marbling in the meat is fine, as long as you don’t trim all the fat off the exterior of the brisket; this "fat cap" stops the meat from drying out and keeps it moist as it cooks low and slow.
While lots of marbling may not be necessary, Barbecue FAQ still recommends buying USDA Choice or Prime grades of brisket. Choice or Prime brisket has more fat in general, which leads to a more tender brisket, and you can be more confident in a brisket's lack of excess marbling if you know its grade is superior.