How to Trim a Brisket

How to Trim a Brisket in Under 7 Minutes | Heath Riles BBQ

Do you struggle to cut brisket? That’s understandable! Brisket is one of the most intimidating cuts of meat, as it’s expensive and large. It’s only natural to be cautious when trimming. After trial and error, I figured out How to Trim a Brisket in Under 7 Minutes

This foolproof method is simple yet effective. You should note that this is how I trim brisket for backyard cooking, not competitions. That’s one area you can’t cut corners in (pun intended!). You’ll have a perfectly trimmed brisket ready for smoking in no time. Are you ready to dive in? 

Trimming a brisket doesn’t have to take hours. You just need to know when to cut and how! Of course, some good tools don’t hurt, either. There are many ways to trim a brisket, but my tried-and-true method produces excellent results every time. 

How to Trim a Brisket in Under 7 Minutes

If you’re a visual learner, you’ll benefit from watching my in-depth video. For now, here’s a quick rundown of How to Trim a Brisket in Under 7 Minutes

  • Trim the fat. I removed the brisket from the package and trimmed some fat off the top. I kept things simple by leaving most of the fat on, focusing on pockets of hard fat that wouldn’t render well. 
  • Cut out discoloration. Since I was just cooking at home, I kept the sinew on. I did trim any gray discoloration, though. This step is simply for show, ensuring that only the best meat gets consumed. The meat turns gray because of oxidization in the packaging, not because it’s rotten! 
  • Trim meat flaps. My brisket had a little excess meat on the point and an oversized flap on the side. I cut those off, saving them for later. I call these scraps “Chef’s snacks!” 
  • Cut out fat seams. Every brisket has a fat seam that separates the point from the flat. I cut a little of that out, then turned the brisket and cut more of the fat seam off the side. 
  • Even the brisket. Sharp edges can affect the cooking process, so I made the brisket as smooth as possible. I also shaped the edges, rounding any curves. Creating this shape helps the juices to run right off the brisket, giving you that perfect bark. 
  • Trim the bottom. I turned the brisket over and started working on the bottom. The bottom of the brisket usually has more hard fat, so I trimmed more off this side. If you have a lot of hard fat, the best trick is to get underneath it. This helps the fat come off in one solid chunk, not affecting the shape of your brisket. I left a little fat to keep the meat moist and tender. 
  • To finish the brisket, I repeated what I did on the other side: cutting discoloration, trimming excess meat flaps, and evening any sharp edges. 

    The Results

    The end result was a great-looking brisket that laid flat. The edges were smooth, and there was just enough fat to keep things moist. The color of the brisket was gorgeous and free of any oxidization. Remember, the goal is a good eatin’ brisket, not perfection! I’m confident you’ll be able to pull this off in your own backyard. 

    The Knife

    Every pitmaster will play butcher from time to time. That’s why it’s essential to have the best knife possible. A sharp knife will help you get the perfect cut of meat and keep you safe. There’s nothing more dangerous than working with a dull knife! 

    My knife of choice is the Victorinox Fibrox Boning Knife. This knife is cost-effective, and it gets the job done. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee! 

    My Favorite Brisket Recipes

    Now that you’ve crafted the perfect cut of meat, you’ll need to cook it. Here are a few of my favorite ways to cook a brisket (and use leftovers).  

  • The Easiest Smoked Brisket Recipe. This delicious recipe is as easy as they come. The brisket is injected with Heath Riles BBQ Beef Injection & Brine and seasoned with Heath Riles BBQ Hot BBQ Rub and Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeño Rub. It has the best flavor out there! 
  • Brisket Street Tacos. Use leftover brisket to make street tacos! This is a great recipe for Taco Tuesday. It’s a welcome change from chicken or ground beef. With a buffet of fun toppings, you can’t go wrong. 
  • Chopped Brisket Sandwich. This hearty sandwich features thick slices of brisket, Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Sauce, crisp pickles, and zesty onions. Add some chips and a scoop of coleslaw for a winning lunch! 
  • Smoked Brisket Baked Beans. Baked beans are a great addition to any BBQ meal, from chicken to hot dogs. If you have just a little brisket to use up, try this baked bean recipe. It’s nothing like you get from a can! 
  • Equipment and Tools

    Victorinox Fibrox Boning Knife


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