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Brisket: trimmings, seasoning

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    Brisket: trimmings, seasoning

    I have questions about brisket trimmings and seasoning.

    1) Brisket has fat described as yellow or white.
    Are both fat trimmings OK for adding to home-ground hamburger, or should I just keep the yellow (or white?)

    2) The side of the brisket where the cut was made (discolored) is typically trimmed.
    Is this any good to keep for hamburgers?

    3) In order to get the brisket in the smoker as early as possible, I wanted to season it with S&P the night before the cook..
    The salt is likely to draw moisture out of the meat, then get re-absorbed into the meat (like dry brining), leaving just the pepper on the surface. Is there any taste or bark difference when meat is seasoned this far in advance?

    The salt is likely to draw moisture out of the meat, then get re-absorbed into the meat (like dry brining), leaving just the pepper on the surface. Is there any taste or bark difference when meat is seasoned this far in advance?
    I like doing it this way, mainly out of laziness (only rub once). In my experience, the moisture drawn out by the salt helps the pepper to stick to the surface, even after that moisture has been reabsorbed. I end up with fantastic bark. I don't bother with water/oil/mustard/etc. to have the rub stick when I do it this way.


      Great timing on this post, as I have the same question about the brisket fat. I've never done any home grinding, always used the store bought stuff. I'm thinking of buying a prime packer at Costco, using the point for pastrami and grinding the flat + 20% fat for brisket burgers.


      • SmokingPat
        SmokingPat commented
        Editing a comment
        My cook on Friday is a prime brisket from Costco! $3/lb., greater Los Angeles area.

      1) I toss ANYTHING from the brisket that is discolored.

      2) I usually keep all the trimmed fat until I don’t have any more room in my freezer, then I throw it away.

      3) I salt first, then apply the rest of the seasonings right before the meat goes over the smoke. But I don’t think it matters, your way probably works exactly the same.


        I have been thinking of making Tallow from my next Brisket trimmings. I always apply a rub with or without salt and salt, if the rub doesn't have any for dry brining. I tend to think that the moisture that is pulled out of the meat will mix with the sodium and also work on dissolving some the seasonings in the rub back into the meat.
        Last edited by Rocinante; March 17, 2021, 02:18 PM.


          If the fat I trim off of the brisket looks good I often render into tallow for making twice cooked French Fries.

          I salt the night before if I’m gonna use “Black Ops” brisket rub. If I use salt and pepper I just put it on night before I cook.

          Good luck!


            Funky colors go in the trash. The rest is good.

            Brisket is the only cut I don’t dry brine. Taking a page from Aaron Franklin’s book...I fire up my pit. While it’s heating up I trim the brisket, hit it with Dalmatian Rub (50/50 coarse kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper), and straight into the pit it goes!

            Flavor and bark are always killer. Brisket has such rich flavors it doesn’t need any other spices.


              As others have said, funky colors => trash.

              As for the fat and trimmings, I make a difference between two types of fat based on consistency.

              For me there's the hard fat, which is the big lump on either side (for example). If you press it with your finger it feels hard, and your finger makes a dent in it. This type of fat is the good fat. This is what I use for rendering beef tallow or grinding burgers. The other fat is the jiggly rubbery fat typically on top of the flat. I don't like that, so I toss it.

              So, basic rule
              • hard, dense fat before cooking: renders out fine during cooking, turns soft and gelatinous. Winner.
              • soft jiggly fat before cooking: stays soft and jiggly during cooking, not pleasant in your mouth. Renders water but doesn't turn gelatinous the same way. Just feels "slimy" (very personal opinion )
              Another example of hard fat is the "eye" in a ribeye, for example. Pure gold.


                Just like Henrik stated. The funky color is caused by boiling water during the cryovac process which actually does a little pre-cook to those areas . Trim until all the funky color is gone and you see red meat.



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