Over Trimmed Brisket (How to Fix + EPIC Brisket Recipe)

Worried you might have over trimmed your brisket?

This might send you into a bit of a spin. 

Normally brisket relies on a decent fat cap to keep it moist and tender.

Although an over-trimmed brisket can be successfully smoked with a little know-how.

So read on and find out how to do it! 

What Is An Over Trimmed Brisket?

An over-trimmed brisket is a normal cut of brisket with an excess amount of fat removed.  

Trimming the brisket usually means taking it down to a quarter-inch thickness all around. A perfect balance of enough fat to keep it moist, but still lean enough to be healthy.

Over-trimming takes off almost all the fat, leaving very little behind. Essentially you have a lean brisket.

Should I Trim The Brisket?

That depends on how you like your smoked brisket to taste. If you prefer a juicier, fattier flavor, leave all the fat on. If you prefer it leaner, trim the fat off. 

Somewhere in the middle, trim the brisket before smoking to about a quarter inch all the way around. This gives a great balance between fatty and beefy flavor.

The amount of fat will also affect the amount and delicious taste of the bark you produce.

Trimmed Brisket

The perfect trimmed brisket leaves around ¼ inch of fat present on the meat. This gives a nice flavorful smoked brisket and a good amount of crispy bark.

There will be no un-rendered fat left behind. The brisket fat layer also acts as a protective layer while in the heat.

Untrimmed Brisket

Untrimmed briskets leave all the fats untouched and smoked as is.

It’s perfectly acceptable to leave the layer of fat intact. Much easier for beginner smokes. Some fats may not render off, but remove those when slicing and serving.

Season and smoke the piece of meat as normal. The fats will absorb the smoky flavors and give the outer layer a thick crunchy bark.

Over-Trimmed Brisket

Having some fat on a beef brisket helps the result, but you can still have a tender brisket without the fat layer.  

Removing the chunks of fat gives healthier, lean brisket meat. You may have to sacrifice the trademark amazing bark, but you’ll have a brisket worth eating.

Some extra care can give the meat the juicy tenderness it’s known for.

What Should I Do With An Over-Trimmed Brisket?

First of all – don’t panic.

An over-trimmed brisket flat can cook fine without the fat. The real tenderness comes from the intramuscular fat running inside the meat. This is what renders down to the juicy beef flavor.

First of all, you need to keep the moisture up or inject some extra moisture into the beef. If you’re worried about overcooking, just follow a few simple tricks.

Preparing The Brisket

Inject moisture into a lean brisket in two ways:

Injecting

Injecting beef is a great way of marinating the meat from the inside, giving it moisture and flavor.

It’s a quicker process than using a brine, being ready in a couple of minutes instead of hours. Take two tins of french onion soup and strain out the onion chunks.

Using a meat injector, inject the soup mix into various places around the cut of beef. The liquid can be anything you’d like, that delivers the flavors your looking for. Apple juice, sauces, brining fluid can all work well.

Brining

Brining adds flavor and moisture to the meat using a brine solution. This is a combination of water, sugar, salt, and flavoring solution.

It requires the mixing of a brining solution and soaking the brisket. You’ll need several hours in the refrigerator, up to overnight.

Next Steps

Once you have used a moisture injection technique it’s time to move to the next steps.

Use a dry rub marinade or seasoning for the exterior surface of the beef. Place the cut of meat in an aluminum pan with the rest of the onion soup or beef broth (or other liquid).

Spread sliced onion over the surface of the meat. This will help give a flavor boost and help protect the meat from the heat of the grill. 

Place on the grill grate. After an hour and a half of smoking, baste with the pan juices.

Repeat this throughout the smoking process. This will stop the outer layer from drying out, an important step when there’s no fat layer to insulate.

You can also add a water pan to the smoker to help maintain moisture levels.

Cooking Temperatures and Times

Run the smoker at around 250°F. Low and slow temperature is perfect for maintaining moisture. 250°F is the ideal temp for best smoking ability.

After the first half of smoking time, remove and wrap the brisket in foil or butcher paper. Return to the grill, and smoke until the internal temp reaches 205°F. 

Use a meat probe to check the internal temperatures, ensure you probe the thickest end of the brisket. The cooking time is around 5-6 hours, but use the temperature rather than time as a sign of doneness.

Resting The Beef

The brisket is ready is pull from the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 205°F.  

As tempting as it is to start slicing into it, leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes up to an hour. Resting allows all the juices to settle, leaving the meat so much more delicious and tender. If possible

Wrap the finished brisket in a towel and place it in an empty cooler to rest. This helps keep the brisket warm while the juices settle.

The result will be moist, juicy, and tender brisket with a great smoky flavor.

Slicing The Beef

Unwrap the brisket and place it on a chopping board. Slice against the grain, with a sharp knife, in ¼ – ½ inch thick slices.

Serve the slices of brisket with some tasty sides, and your meal is ready to enjoy!

Smoked Overtrimmed Brisket

An over-trimmed brisket can be successfully smoked with a little know-how.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dinner, main, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 3000kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 70$

Equipment

  • Grill
  • Probe Thermometer
  • Butcher Paper

Ingredients

  • 10 lb Brisket
  • 1 cup Dry beef rub
  • 2 tins French onion soup or apple juice, sauces
  • ½ cup Olive oil

Instructions

  • Using a meat injector, inject the soup mix into various places around the cut of beef.
  • Place the cut of meat in an aluminum pan with the rest of the onion soup or beef broth (or other liquid).
  • Spread sliced onion over the surface of the meat.
  • Use a dry rub marinade or seasoning for the exterior surface of the beef.
  • Place on the grill grate. After an hour and a half of smoking, baste with the pan juices. Repeat this throughout the smoking process
  • Run the smoker at around 250°F.
  • After the first half of smoking time, remove and wrap the brisket in foil or butcher paper. Return to the grill, and smoke until the internal temp reaches 205°F. 
  • After the first half of smoking time, remove and wrap the brisket in foil or butcher paper. Return to the grill, and smoke until the internal temp reaches 205°F. 
  • The brisket is ready for removal when the internal temperature reaches 205°F.  
  • Leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes up to an hour.
  • Wrap the finished brisket in a towel and place it in an empty ice chest.
  • Unwrap the brisket and place it on a chopping board. Slice against the grain, with a sharp knife, in ¼ – ½ inch thick slices.
  • Serve the slices of brisket with some tasty sides, and your meal is ready to enjoy!

Next time you get a little too enthusiastic when trimming the brisket, don’t worry.

With a couple of tricks and some vigilance, you will have a brisket worth raving about!

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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