BRISKET - FAT UP or DOWN

BigOlDOg

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I’ve seen in the comments here as well as other forums across the www people cooking brisket fat down in a pellet cooker so I have a question which will probably turn into more depending on replies.

Why?
 

primeone

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With my last few cooks I started going with fat side down to "protect" the meat from the heat figuring it was hotter on the bottom than the top. I feel like I've gotten better results, but it's hard to say.
 
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BigOlDOg

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With my last few cooks I started going with fat side down to "protect" the meat from the heat figuring it was hotter on the bottom than the top. I feel like I've gotten better results, but it's hard to say.

By protection what do you mean? Are you not wrapping? I kinda understand the fat layer protecting it so you don’t over cook. Was it to tender and shredded when cooked fat up?

The idea has me willing to try. I’m just trying to understand the concept as for years on stick with an offset the heat was pulled into the chamber vs being under it so I do get some of the logic.
 

splinervision

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I don't wrap meats, so for me fat side up always helps keep things from drying out. I"ve had good luck with it anyway. If it's high heat and I'm worried about something burning on the bottom I'll either put foil underneath, use a shallow foil pan, or a glass pyrex dish. Only thing you have to watch with a dish of any sort is fat collection can boil the meat if it's very fatty. Usually though I do fat side up, directly on the grate, especially if we're talking about pork butts. I love seeing that fat cap break open at the end of a cook revealing a really tender pork butt.
IMG_0540.jpg

This pic was about 7-8 hours into a 11 hour cook. Beans cooked along side the whole time. They were yummy.
 

Rodney007

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Fat side down = slightly less smokeyness

Moisture is the same, few vids on youtube testing the theory. I always go fatside down
 

davwhite

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Fat side down = slightly less smokeyness

Moisture is the same, few vids on youtube testing the theory. I always go fatside down
Hi Rodney, always good to see someone from 'over the ditch' here. Put any of your wonderful trout on the smoker?
 

primeone

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By protection what do you mean? Are you not wrapping? I kinda understand the fat layer protecting it so you don’t over cook. Was it to tender and shredded when cooked fat up?

The idea has me willing to try. I’m just trying to understand the concept as for years on stick with an offset the heat was pulled into the chamber vs being under it so I do get some of the logic.

My thought process is the temperature should be hotter (slightly) on the bottom. So the fat acts like a barrier between the heat and the meat to prevent it from drying out. I also spray it every hour so I figure that helps keep the top moist. I always wrap at 165, but I'm going to try a no-wrap cook one of these days. I'm still learning and tend to change up my method every few cooks as well. That's half of the fun of smoking!
 

ScotchnSmoke

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I don't wrap meats, so for me fat side up always helps keep things from drying out. I"ve had good luck with it anyway. If it's high heat and I'm worried about something burning on the bottom I'll either put foil underneath, use a shallow foil pan, or a glass pyrex dish. Only thing you have to watch with a dish of any sort is fat collection can boil the meat if it's very fatty. Usually though I do fat side up, directly on the grate, especially if we're talking about pork butts. I love seeing that fat cap break open at the end of a cook revealing a really tender pork butt. View attachment 1644
This pic was about 7-8 hours into a 11 hour cook. Beans cooked along side the whole time. They were yummy.
I'm getting ready to give a pork butt a try. What temp do you cook it at? And you've had good luck at about 11 hours?...Thanks.
 

Francwa73

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We do ours "Texas Style", fat side up, low and slow. I've done 5 since the first week of May, the first two were fat side down. The last 3 were up, and i think it tasted better. I've settled on a 21 hour cook, spritzing with 50/50 apple juice / apple vinegar at the 3 hour, 6 hour, and wrap time. (I wrap in "pink" butcher paper at 195). after the wrap, it cooks for another 6 hours until probe reads 204, and i rest it in a cooler for 2 hrs. I follow Matt from Meat Church, and that's his method.. or mostly his method.. like others, I've come up with my own "style".. Also, the last cook i did not inject anything, and it was still juicy..
 

ScotchnSmoke

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We do ours "Texas Style", fat side up, low and slow. I've done 5 since the first week of May, the first two were fat side down. The last 3 were up, and i think it tasted better. I've settled on a 21 hour cook, spritzing with 50/50 apple juice / apple vinegar at the 3 hour, 6 hour, and wrap time. (I wrap in "pink" butcher paper at 195). after the wrap, it cooks for another 6 hours until probe reads 204, and i rest it in a cooler for 2 hrs. I follow Matt from Meat Church, and that's his method.. or mostly his method.. like others, I've come up with my own "style".. Also, the last cook i did not inject anything, and it was still juicy..
21 hours?!! What temp are you using? Thanks.
 

n_maher

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We do ours "Texas Style", fat side up, low and slow. I've done 5 since the first week of May, the first two were fat side down. The last 3 were up, and i think it tasted better. I've settled on a 21 hour cook, spritzing with 50/50 apple juice / apple vinegar at the 3 hour, 6 hour, and wrap time. (I wrap in "pink" butcher paper at 195). after the wrap, it cooks for another 6 hours until probe reads 204, and i rest it in a cooler for 2 hrs. I follow Matt from Meat Church, and that's his method.. or mostly his method.. like others, I've come up with my own "style".. Also, the last cook i did not inject anything, and it was still juicy..

I don't think you meant wrap at 195, did you? And curious to hear what you're cooking at for that long. I cooked a 6lb flat over the weekend at 200 and it was at ready to wrap (165F) after 6hrs, bumped to 225F and finished to ~203 internal after another 3hrs. Can't imaging the slab of meat that would take 21hrs to cook.
 

Francwa73

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@ScotchnSmoke & @n_maher
I'm not nearly an expert, but I've found that taking the time to do the slow cook works best for us. It's called the Weekday Brisket from Matt @MeatChurch here is the video;

and no sorry, I meant 165.. i fat fingered that one.. Also, his video does not match his corresponding recipe. the temps and times are off, and it's not sync'd for some reason. I've made notes from the video and formulated my own method. taking the points from both Matt and Aaron.

I typically do 14-18 lb Briskets. We keep about 8 pounds and i give the rest away to friends/neighbors. I've watched all of Matt's videos (Meat Church) and all of Aaron's (Franklin BBQ), both are Texas guys... It's really more of a hobby for me now, I've been trying the hot and fast and foil vs. paper and all variations. I've heard that the best BBQ is the BBQ you like best.. ;)
 

n_maher

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@Francwa73 - it's funny, I just watched the "weekday brisket" video the other night. :)

And amen to the "best BBQ" comment. I'm hardly an expert of any kind and no criticism was intended.
 
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BigOlDOg

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My thought process is the temperature should be hotter (slightly) on the bottom. So the fat acts like a barrier between the heat and the meat to prevent it from drying out. I also spray it every hour so I figure that helps keep the top moist. I always wrap at 165, but I'm going to try a no-wrap cook one of these days. I'm still learning and tend to change up my method every few cooks as well. That's half of the fun of smoking!

Prime, I’m with you 100 as I’ve enjoyed learning different ways with this thing as watching a fire all night isn’t quite the rave these days lol. My no wrap left an incredible bark and remained juicy with the fat up so give it a try as I think you’ll enjoy it.

How does everyone place their brisket in the traeger? I for example have tried a few different position (obviously not fat up LoL) but I mean on the grate; main or second, point at back and flat at the front by door, point over burn pit with flat toward grease trap, etc??
 

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I did my first brisket last weekend using Traeger's "Chef's Brisket" recipe.

I followed it carefully, 13lbs fat side down, 225F super smoke, until probe temp 165F should be 4-5 hrs (did I mention WiFire sucks serious wind with NO audible alarms on the phone?). Then foil wrap and more 225F until temp probe hits 203F, 3-4 hours. Then they say remove from foil and rest for 1 hour before slicing.

I figured 9 hour cook worst case so gave myself 13 hours to be safe for our dinner. Started at 6am for a 7pm dinner. Guess what? it took 13 hours and it still wasn't really done in my opinion, it looked good, tasted great but didn't melt in my mouth. Dinner was not my best that night.

Next time I'm going Texas, with Meat Church, 20+ hours with the long cooler rest. I have to say I forgot just how GOOD brisket is!

I will never let myself be in-between hungry friends and dinner time, I was so embarrassed.

What's the best plan for a 7pm sit down time for dinner? I need to get this mapped out. I have chicken and ribs down cold but really want to master the brisket!
 

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primeone

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@RemE - Maybe it was just the cut of meat? Another idea to try is to use a small water bowl while you are smoking it (at least before the wrap). That might help to keep the meat from drying out and get you that melt in the mouth finish you're looking for.

I feel like that made a difference with my briskets. Another thing to try is butcher paper instead of foil. It should certainly take a lot longer by using that method but it sure does produce a much better bark.

Be sure to report back and let us know what works for ya though! I haven't mastered brisket the way I want to, but it's gotten a lot better over the past year :)
 

primeone

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Prime, I’m with you 100 as I’ve enjoyed learning different ways with this thing as watching a fire all night isn’t quite the rave these days lol. My no wrap left an incredible bark and remained juicy with the fat up so give it a try as I think you’ll enjoy it.

How does everyone place their brisket in the traeger? I for example have tried a few different position (obviously not fat up LoL) but I mean on the grate; main or second, point at back and flat at the front by door, point over burn pit with flat toward grease trap, etc??


Since I have the Ironwood, I move the grate up to the middle position and throw the meat directly on the grate.

Now that's a good question about what side to place the thicker cut of the meat on. Hmm. I believe I normally have the flat pointing away from the grease trap side. I'll have to pay more attention to this but I'm interested to see what others are doing.
 

Francwa73

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I did my first brisket last weekend using Traeger's "Chef's Brisket" recipe.

I followed it carefully, 13lbs fat side down, 225F super smoke, until probe temp 165F should be 4-5 hrs (did I mention WiFire sucks serious wind with NO audible alarms on the phone?). Then foil wrap and more 225F until temp probe hits 203F, 3-4 hours. Then they say remove from foil and rest for 1 hour before slicing.

I figured 9 hour cook worst case so gave myself 13 hours to be safe for our dinner. Started at 6am for a 7pm dinner. Guess what? it took 13 hours and it still wasn't really done in my opinion, it looked good, tasted great but didn't melt in my mouth. Dinner was not my best that night.

Next time I'm going Texas, with Meat Church, 20+ hours with the long cooler rest. I have to say I forgot just how GOOD brisket is!

I will never let myself be in-between hungry friends and dinner time, I was so embarrassed.

What's the best plan for a 7pm sit down time for dinner? I need to get this mapped out. I have chicken and ribs down cold but really want to master the brisket!
The meat church texas style is 21 hour cook plus rest time. With a full hopper, there no need to get up in the middle of the night. Unless you want to spritz it with apple juice. I need to type up my notes and post them...
 

RemE

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Thanks for the thoughts primeone! It was a "choice cut" about $100 but I'm not a judge of good meat, yet!

It was like it just hadn't completed rendering the fat in the meat. There was about 2 cups of drippings in the foil when I removed the meat.

I placed my rack in the middle position like I had seen in all of the brisket videos. I placed the tail to the right as I believe that mine is hotter on the left of center. Next long cook maybe I'll rotate the meat once.
 

RemE

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The meat church texas style is 21 hour cook plus rest time. With a full hopper, there no need to get up in the middle of the night. Unless you want to spritz it with apple juice. I need to type up my notes and post them...

That would be awesome! Thanks!
 

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