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Thread: Went to a Brisket class ...seperating the point from flat

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    Went to a Brisket class ...seperating the point from flat

    Like many on this site, almost everything I know about brisket was from that Aaron Franklin youtube vid. However two Saturdays ago, my wife surprised me with an early Christmas gift. She paid for me to attend a Brisket BBQ class in Manassas, Va. The Class was with Chris of Dizzy Q BBQ. Over the years they have won and earn many of accolades in the KCBS. While he cooks with a big green egg the prep work and serving of the brisket was what was very different from Franklin's video.

    The first big difference was trimming the meat. Unlike Franklin who kept most of the fat on the point, Chris removed all of the fat from on top of the point but kept about the same amount of fat on the flat. He argued that the point has so much fat in it already, there is not need to keep the outlayer of fat. I liked that idea. Fast forward to serving the brisket, using the back of a butcher's knife, he separated the flat from the Point. He then sliced the flat and cubed the point. We all know what Franklin did to his brisket. When I asked Chris why he did it this way, he simply said less fat to digest. This made total sense to me.

    A few days later I came across another brisket vid on youtube. It was a competition brisket video where the guy separated the point from the flat before cooking and then cooked the two pieces of meat. He also removed all the fat from on top of the point. This seemed to make even more sense to be because by separating, you get more square area of bark and the mo bark the better!

    So what is the boards thoughts on this. Has anyone tried these tactics, what were your impressions? I'm guessing separating a brisket should dramatically cut down the cooking time compared to a whole packer.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    Restaurateurs want to sell you some of that fat because everything trimmed off and thrown away is lost profit. Competition BBQ teams have different motivations...winning! They learn that judges score entries higher when the fat is well-rendered on slices and cubes .

    Franklin is also doing what's customary and traditional when it comes to Texas barbecue; Dizzy Q is not.

    Our friend and BBQ competitor Harry Soo removes most fat over the point, same as Dizzy Q. He starts cooking the brisket whole, and when the flat is done he removes the point and puts it back in the cooker to render more fat, while the flat is held at temp in a Cambro. With this approach, the point protects part of the flat from drying out during cooking until separated. When the point is rendered just right, Harry slices the flat and cubes the point and arranges it all in the turn-in box.

    The whole thing is kind of like comparing apples and oranges. What a restaurant guy does to put out a good product & make a profit vs. what a competition guy will do to win in terms of trimming, injecting, seasoning, cooking temps, holding time, saucing, spraying, and whatever other "voodoo" he/she has up his/her sleeve are two completely different things.

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    TVWBB Wizard Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    I think it's totally reasonable to trim the fat cap off on the point, but I would definitely leave a 1/4 to 1/8 inch on the flat. The flat being so lean needs the help and the fat contributes a lot to the taste. Cubing the point is fine if you are going for burnt ends. Personally I'm going to slice and serve it much like Franklin does. Fatty brisket is a religious experience.

    As far as separating before cooking I'm going to flat out state that I hate the idea. This is really more for traditionalist reasons. I don't know if leaving the point on truly keeps the flat from drying out in any way. That's a myth that's probably been debunked even though I believe it. Really, each approach is equally as valid depending on what you are trying to accomplish and personal taste. If you aren't as big a fan of beef fat, then cutting off the flat cap, and putting the burnt ends back on the render out more fat makes total sense. The approach you take when cooking 30 briskets is going to be different than if you are cooking 1 or 2 for a competition or even 1 for the back yard.
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    TVWBB All-Star Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    Chris, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your insight! Absolutely the difference in competition and profit margin is a story of apples and oranges. Money as profit or as prize are different critters.
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    What I take away from all of this conversation (and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation) is the whole point of the fact that WE are in control. The object for me is to please "Me and Mine" (me and my family and guests). This forum (and Harry Soo) have upped my personal game a LOT!

    The real idea is that we need to do what pleases us and ours...

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

    Keep on smokin',
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  6. #6
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    By the way what king of cooking time can I expect when I separate to the two mucscles? Thanks

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    TVWBB Guru Bruce Bissonnette's Avatar
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    I agree with Chris 100%, but not only is it profit margin it's also sheer volume. Imagine the time it would take Franklin to trim all the briskets he cooks on a daily basis. The same goes for ribs. Very few BBQ restaurants
    that I'm familiar with trim the membranes off the back of the ribs, they may score it, but few trim it. Volume of ribs they cook and the time involved in removing the membrane.
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    So I cooked a brisket last week where I separated the point from the flat after the brisket was cooked. Good God what a lot of Fat. I many never eat a brisket again, where the point and the flat are not separated. The brisket cooked for about 12 hours once done, I waited about 2 hours before I separate the two muscles. The stuff in between was pretty gross. But once they were all scrape off, I immediately felt like I was eating healthier for it. My next attempt will be to separate both muscles before the cook. More bark and less cooking time seems like a win-win to me.

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    TVWBB Fan Rusty Breaux's Avatar
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    The logic of taking the muscles apart before cooking makes complete sense, BUT it seems like you are taking away some of the fun and coolness of cooking a brisket. I feel like the skill of cooking a good brisket is being able to get a 16lb piece of meat w/ 2 very different muscles on the grill and come off w/ a fabulous piece of meat that people LOVE to eat.

    The logic is there, but if logic was all we used for brisket, we would use the oven alot more than we do.

    Just my .02
    rb
    Smoking from Houston .. .. ..

  10. #10
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    my Costco has begun selling flats and whole packers. before they only sold whole packers. The flats aren't trimmed insanely, and leaves some of the top fat on there. I have cooked those to as close of perfection as I can and they are nice and juicy. ya don't need to sheer volume of fat from the point to moisturize the flat evidently.
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