How to Trim a Competition Style Brisket with pitmaster Heath Riles

How to Trim a Competition Style Brisket with pitmaster Heath Riles

Today, I’m taking a note from my playbook and teaching you how to trim a competition style brisket. This isn’t your backyard hunk of meat; I’m talking about a brisket trimmed to perfection and ready to win you the gold. I’ve used these techniques on the BBQ circuit, winning me plenty of money. This method may seem simple, but it’s tried and true. 

There are many art forms, but trimming meat has to be one of the most prestigious. There’s something special about sculpting a juicy brisket into a masterpiece. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting to hone your craft, this simple tutorial will help you elevate your game. Without further ado, here are my best tips for trimming a competition style brisket.

How to Trim a Competition Style Brisket | Heath Riles BBQ

The brisket featured in the video is a Wagyu Brisket from R-C Ranch. They were kind enough to send me one of their 14-pound briskets! This brisket had gorgeous marbling and was incredibly tender. Give them a shot next time you’re in the mood for something special! 

How to Trim a Competition Style Brisket

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 competition style brisket. 

  • Trim the fat. To start, I knocked off some of the deep pockets of fat between the point and the flap. This smoothed out the Competition Style Brisket, giving it a clean appearance. I also wanted to see what I was working with, so I evened the edge of the brisket. 
  • Shape the brisket. Most briskets taper off into thinner areas, creating an uneven brisket and a distorted cooking time. I trimmed off the little bits of thin meat and rounded the edges. Then, I mashed the brisket with my hands and trimmed a little off the top. The end goal is a uniform brisket. Be sure to save the scraps, as you can use them in stews or casseroles or smoke them for a chef’s snack. I also like grinding the brisket with other meat scraps to create a gourmet mix. 
  • Trim the “Mohawk.” You’ll notice a “mohawk” of meat as you play around with your brisket. I trimmed mine off so the brisket would lay flat. This helps it fit into the smoker and gives you a smoother surface for seasonings. 
  • Remove discoloration. Next, I removed any discoloration, rough spots, and silver skin. Be sure to watch the video to see what you should be looking for. Take care with this step, as you don’t want to hack into the meat. The easiest way to trim meat is to place your knife flush against the meat. 
  • Give it one last go-over. Sometimes, as you trim, you uncover more areas that must be fleshed out. This is why I always give the Competition Style Brisket one last go-over, removing any hard fat pockets, bone fragments, silver skin, and discoloration. I like to use my butchering shears to remove any sharp edges. Don’t worry about getting every last bit of fat off; you want to keep some of it on the meat so it renders! What you’re looking for is a flat brisket that will cook evenly. 

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, this brisket is fit for competition. If you’re cooking it in your backyard, you don’t need to go for perfection! 

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 blade! 

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 Competition Style Brisket

Now that you’ve crafted the perfect cut of meat, you’ll need to cook it. Here are my favorite Competition Style Brisket. 

Equipment and Tools

Victorinox Fibrox Boning Knife, disposable cutting board, Heath Riles BBQ Butcher Paper

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