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Trimming a Brisket


As shown in the picture above, Brisket is the cut of beef that comes from the breast of a cow. This cut is a large, and tough cut of beef. As a result of this cut is often prepared using a low n’ slow method of cooking. Unlike a lot of other cuts of meat, some parts of the brisket need to be trimmed to maximize flavor and for the brisket to properly cook.

Nowadays a good cut of brisket does not come cheap, and these cuts of beef can be quite the endeavor to smoke. Considering, the cost and the time investment required to cook a brisket to perfection, trimming is a process you definitely don’t want to cut any corners with.

In this article, we will break down the process into quick and easy steps so you can perfectly trim your brisket before you are ready to cook it. The process of trimming, prepping, and smoking is a long and detailed one, so buckle up and lets get into it!

First Things First, What is a Brisket?

According to the USDA Institutional Meat Purchasing Standard (IMPS), “Brisket includes the anterior end of the sternum bones“.

There are two briskets on each side of beef. A butcher will usually subdivide the cut before putting it up for sale.  These cuts are known as the “point” and the “flat”. To get both sides you will need to put in a special request for a “packer cut” or a “whole packer.” A packer cut can weigh as much as 20 pounds, especially if it comes with a layer of fat and muscle, called a decker. The “Point” of the brisket is used when trying to cook burnt ends, as some would say, “the best part of the brisket.”  While on the other hand the “Flat” is used for slicing to have on sandwiches or just by itself.

Getting Started:

To get started on your brisket journey you are going to need a couple of things:

  • A Full Packer Brisket (a cut that contains both the “flat” and the “point”)
  • A large cutting board
  • A trash can or bowl to discard trimmings
  • A sharp knife (make sure this knife is nice and sharp, a dull knife makes this job even more difficult and more dangerous. We recommend a thin boning knife for best maneuverability.


How to Trim a Brisket:

Now that you have everything ready, its time to get trimming!


  1. Starting at the “Point” end, score across the fat cap, carving out a chunk of fat from the meat surface. We do this first step to expose the meat allowing your rub to penetrate more, giving you a more flavorful experience.
  2. Keep carving the fat away off of the “Point” leaving about a 1/4 inch of fat. Make sure to cut out all of the Hard fat, this fat will not render properly and just leave you with a chewy bite. Also, cut out all of the fat thatcrrls and covers Andy part of the “Point”. While cutting through the fat try not to cut too deep into the meat. Keep your carving as close as possible to the dividing lines of Fat and Meat. You don’t want to waste any of the meat, that’s to eat!
  3. Now, starting from the “Flat” end start trimming the “Fat cap” of the Brisket. The goal of this section is to leave a good 1/4 inch of fat across the entire flat. We want to make sure that the trimming stays uniform so that the brisket can cook evenly. This fat will render down while cooking and leave you with a perfectly juicy brisket.
  4. Now we are going to make the brisket more aerodynamic so that it can cook as evenly as possible. Flip the brisket around and find the long side that is covered by the fat cap. We want to cut out the hardened fat running along this side of the brisket. Once again, we want this to remain uniform any bits hanging off the side will not cook evenly and eventually burn while cooking.
  5. Turn the brisket around such that the fat cap is now on the bottom. Locate the thick wedge of fat near the point, and carve it out. This fat usually runs deep. Carving it will leave you with a large valley between the point and the flat.
  6. Carefully take a look at the brisket to be sure it is even and that there are no large intrusions of fat remain between the point and the flat.

Now that we have our brisket fully trimmed it’s time to put it on the smoker. Our friends over at Datenightdoins were nice enough to let us use “Their Best Brisket” recipe, and I’ve got to say it’s pretty darn good!






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