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Jun 27, 2014 07:48 AM

Smoking my first brisket

Wife bought a 5 lb brisket, and I am going to attempt to smoke it on my weber kettle. This will be my first brisket, I have done numerous pork shoulders and have been successful. The brisket does not have a fat cap, can I use bacon on the brisket in place of a fat cap?

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  1. Nope.

    First, you're going to want to read this and take copious notes: If there's a better or more comprehensive resource for smoking brisket, I don't know what it is.

    Second, to turn back to your question, may I be so bold to suggest that you want neither a big thick fat cap nor bacon on your brisket. Why? First off, the fat will not "baste" or "keep moist" the brisket. At the very, most optimistic most, it'll render a little and coat the remainder of the brisket which will result in some "frying" of the outside. While marginally awesome, a thick fat cap may still remain not completely rendered at the end of the smoke, and bacon will just be pieces of dried pig on beef.

    Better to cut most of the fat off and/or leave it the hell alone so that you don't interfere with creating the majesty of the brisket that is its bark. In the same way that I would never put bacon on turkey on account that the best part is the crispy, golden, blissfully rendered skin, I would never do anything that gets in the way of the crunchy, crispy, caramelized bark, and most especially, the sine qua non of Kansas City barbecue, the blackened, candied, etherial gift to man known as burnt ends.

    So my advice: leave your brisket the hell alone! Don't overthink it! Low and slow! You'll do great!

    4 Replies
    1. re: biggreenmatt

      Thank you for that link. I've added it to my favorites. I wish I had the liberty of using all his shopping tips, but here my choices for meat buying are Sam's Club or Kroger, and Kroger doesn't carry diddly-squat as far as quality meat, much less cuts like brisket. I'm going to keep this site as a guide though.

      1. re: NonnieMuss

        Eh, take it with a grain of salt.

        Yes, I wish I had easy, cheap access to wagyu briskets that competition champs regularly use to make top-tier brisket. No, that's not how it's done in the South.

        I mean, think about it. It's a "cuisine" (ha ha) that grew out of the necessity of not having a kitchen and not having access to anything resembling decent cuts of meat. The point (god I love point) is to take something gnarly, tough, and mean, and turn it into something blissfully tender, sweet, and kind. Once you get the technique down (and I've ruined the better part of a half-dozen briskets in the learning process), I can't imagine that you can't make something beautiful out of Costco meat in a pinch!

        1. re: NonnieMuss

          Critchfield has whole brisket. I've bought several from them. All good.

          1. re: chileheadmike

            And I love Critchfield's SO much, but they are often a bit out of my budget. I always get chicken there though. It's a great business run by a lovely family.

      2. Even a trimmed brisket has a top layer of fat and internal fat. I personally would not add bacon.

        Since you have room I would fill it up with chicken or something.

        1. Wow sound delicious, but let me ask what type wood did you used in your smoker?