Brisket on the WSM. Fat up or down?

Hawk Redhawk

New member
Getting up the nerve to try my first brisket on the new 18” wsm with ATC. From everything I have read, the fat cap insulates the Brisket fron the heat. So with the WSM does the brisket go on the grill fat cap up, since the heat coms downward? Also, for the first attempt, would it be smarter to buy just a flat and give that a shot first?

Lee Ingraham

TVWBB Member
I know this isn't the same thing, but I do fat cap up on pork shoulders (when I don't remove the fat cap completely). I like to think it makes it self basting. Plus, with the temperatures the wsm runs at with a water pan or heat deflector, I don't think the meat is going to need a lot of insulation. If you took those out and just ran it over the flame I would cook it fat cap down.

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Honor Circle
I run my water pan dry so I go fat cap down for the unwrapped part of the cook and then fat up after the wrap. I use butcher paper to wrap so if I go fat down during the wrap, the fat cap sometimes sticks to the paper. If you were running water in the pan you might go fat up because the heat is probably hitting it more from the top. I've done both in the WSM and I can't really say it matters that much.

Another way to look at it might be presentation. On Texas style briskets the fat side is usually the presentation side so you'd got fat up. For a comp brisket you'd want the meat side as your presentation side so fat down.

Chris Allingham

Staff member
In recent years I've taken to cooking whole brisket fat side down in the WSM, so when I spritz every hour starting at Hour 3 I'm spritzing the lean side that's facing up. Then after I wrap in pink butcher paper at 165-175*F, I return it to the cooker fat side up so the fat side doesn't get pressed into the paper and stick.

Your other question was flat vs. packer (whole) brisket. IMO, you'll have better luck with a whole brisket. Flats are easy to dry out.

Jim Strickland

I do brisket both ways with the fat cap trimmed to approximately 1/4". Low and slow l put the fat cap up. Hot and fast l put the fat cap down. Like Chris pointed out you should spritz occasionally with the fat cap down.