How to Trim a Brisket

Brisket, if prepared correctly, is easily one of the best cuts of meat to eat. It’s so flavorful and juicy we wish we could eat it for every meal. If you obsess over brisket as we do, then you should definitely learn how to trim a brisket so you can smoke it at home. While the sound of trimming brisket may seem hard, we promise anyone can learn. Just follow the directions below, and you'll be a brisket trimming pro!



Any large knife will do, but it’s important to make sure it’s sharp and durable. We suggest a boning knife. Whatever knife you choose, make sure the knife you use is in good condition to prevent the chance for any knife-related injuries. That goes for anything you cook, not just brisket.


Trimming the Brisket:

  1. Lay your brisket fat side up on a cutting board. Notice the different types of fat on your brisket. Fat that is leathery, waxy, and dense will never render down while cooking. That’s what you’ll want to trim off.
  2. Using very shallow cuts with your knife blade almost parallel with the brisket, start by making a cut long enough that allows you to hold the fat you just cut with your left hand while continuing to trim with the knife you right hand.
  3. As a general rule, you can leave about a ¼ inch of fat on the brisket if you don’t want to cut so close to the meat.
  4. Continue to trim off the dense, waxy fat from your brisket. Once you’re done, the majority of the surface fat should be removed.
  5. Now it's time to trim the point-end fat. There is a big chunk of fat that resides toward the point-end of the brisket.
  6. Try to trim that out as much as possible. This is where the longer blade of the boning knife comes in handy because you have to make some very vertical cuts to remove this fat from the brisket.
  7. Flip the brisket over. Notice this side has much less waxy fat than the previous side.
  8. You need to remove another hunk of fat much like what was just removed on the opposite side. You will use the same deeper cuts and dissect this chunk of fat out. Go slow, and be careful not to accidentally cut through the fat and discontent the flat and point.
  9. You’ve done it! It's time to season and enjoy!


Now that you know how to perfecting trim a brisket, you’ve got to try out one of Char-Griller's brisket recipes. Check out Char-Griller's website for delicious brisket recipes and much more!