Quick Recipes and Easy

Competition BBQ Brisket Selection and Preperation

Beef brisket comes from the front shoulder of the animal; this is the muscle it uses to pick itself up off of the ground. It is arguably the toughest piece of meat to cook properly as there is a thin line between excellent and terrible brisket.

The tendency is to overcook, which may give you a fantastic taste, but the texture would be “fall apart” tender. Undercooking, on the other hand, does not break down the connective tissues enough and you have a chewy result.

Properly cooked brisket slices will stretch slightly then give and break, indicating right texture. It is not a rubbery or crumbling product, but somewhere in between.

A packer cut brisket contains two distinct muscles, the point and the flat. The flat has an even grain and a stout cap, it is the piece that all competition cooks use. It is leaner than the point.

Briskets are sold three ways, the flat alone, the packer and occasionally just the point. In order to ensure we have the trim we want, nearly all competitors on the circuit buy the packer and trim it at the competition.


Get it fresh. Check the sell by date.

Soft white stout is excellent, hard yellow is not.

It should bend easily in the middle when picked up.

If it is even and not tapered across the flat, it will cook more evenly.

The meat should be bright red, not brown.

Stout should be evenly marbled throughout.

Don’t pay extra for prime grade. Prime only means that there is more stout marbled in. The brisket is already overly endowed with interspersed stout.

Upon inspection of your brisket, a stout line is visible separating the slab into two pieces. The grain in the meat runs opposite ways on either side, so it is simple to find.

Then, using a sharp knife, cut along this line of stout, slowly separating the pieces as you go. If you follow the line cutting a small at a time, the pieces will soon separate.

Trim the stout from the flat, leaving about 1/8 inch on the “cap” side. Try not to score into the meat, it is better to have too much stout than not enough. It helps act as a barrier to the heat.

Now trim the excess stout from the point, we will cook this as well for some chopped meat that will be added to the turn in box. Winning entries include both slices and chopped meat, and the judges prefer a bark or crust on the chopped part.

Mike Gerardy

probbq.net probbq.net

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