Do You Season The Fat Side Of A Brisket? [Which Side To Season?]

There’s nothing like smoked homemade brisket. Brisket is generally a problematic cut to prepare but is a delicious combination of lean meat and fat. Smoked, barbecued, and loved by everyone, brisket is easily one of the most popular cuts of meat. If you’ve cut some fat off your brisket, got your smoker prepared, and are ready to cook, you’re probably wondering if you should season the fat side of a brisket?

The entire brisket should be seasoned, including the fat side of the brisket. Seasoning all sides of the brisket, including the fat with a rub or marinade, ensures an even amount of seasoning is placed all over the brisket for smoking or barbecuing. This makes a tender, juicy flavor-packed brisket.

do you season the fat side of a brisket

Seasoning the fat on the brisket is a divided debate. While many smoke masters prefer seasoning on all sides, including the fat, others leave the fat as is. Among this important question is another familiar one, should brisket be cooked fat side up or fat side down? 

Where Should I Put Seasoning On Brisket?

There can never be enough seasoning on brisket. This cut is large, and the most important part of cooking brisket is the seasoning or marinade. It’s much easier to overcook brisket than it is to overseason it.

The most commonly used seasoning is a dry rub that gets rubbed into the brisket. Most barbeque masters prefer leaving their brisket to marinate overnight in the rub mixture before cooking it. 

The best method to season brisket is to apply two layers of seasoning. The flavor is retained in the brisket with two layers of seasoning throughout the barbequing or smoking process.

The brisket should be seasoned on both sides, including the fat layer. The fat can hold a lot of moisture and flavor. After the scores on that fat cap have been made, a dry rub can be poured into the scores, there is no need to rub it into the fat, and the scores will hold the rub and soak in the seasoning.

Some seasoning may be lost during smoking or barbecuing the brisket, but adding that second layer of seasoning is sure to get the most flavor out of your brisket, creating a brisket, you can’t beat.

Why Should I Season The Fat On Brisket?

The fat layer on the brisket retains moisture and protects the meat from drying out or becoming overcooked. When the brisket comes off the barbecue or out of the smoker, that dark layer of crispy fat has kept the brisket tender and flavorful.

There are many myths and methods associated with seasoning the fat on brisket. One of these is that since fat cannot melt into the meat, it runs down the side of the brisket when it melts. This takes all the spices rubbed into the fat along with it. However, it can also be argued that the brisket does retain some flavor from the fat layer, and therefore you should season it.

The seasoning of the fat on the brisket may not pack a punch of flavor. But it adds to the overall taste of the brisket. Brisket wouldn’t taste the same without that layer of fat.

Should I Season The Fat Of Brisket With Dry Rub or Marinade?

Dry rubs usually contain a combination of spices, including garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and brown sugar. A combination of spices in the dry rub leads to a longer-lasting flavor on the brisket than a marinade. You may have to baste the brisket at regular intervals with a marinade to retain the flavor.

There are other benefits to using a marinade over a dry rub. A marinade tenderizes the brisket while a dry rub does not. Whether you prefer a marinade or a dry rub, both work well in seasoning brisket. Maybe you have your own special marinade and rub combination that makes a mouthwatering brisket.

Should I Cook Brisket With The Fat Side Up Or Down?

Many smoke masters prefer their brisket one of two ways, cooked fat side up or fat side down. Both methods yield slightly different results, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear winner. Many say that cooking brisket should be cooked fat side down, for two reasons, firstly it will taste better and secondly it will look better.

Cooking the brisket fat side down will keep the seasoning on the brisket. This creates a delicious piece of brisket, both tender and well-seasoned too. Having the fat side down means your brisket looks better by forming a slightly crispy layer known as the bark, and there’s nothing better than a good-looking brisket!

For many years brisket was smoked with the fat side up before many knew about the fat side down method. The theory behind this was that melting the fat cap would baste the brisket and prevent it from drying out. However, this isn’t quite accurate. 

The melting fat cap runs down the brisket, taking a lot of seasoning when it melts.

If you like your brisket cooked with the best of both methods, then the popular flipping your brisket method is the alternative choice. Flipping the brisket allows the fat to be faced up and down and keeps your brisket tender and well marinated. 

The brisket is constantly being marinated on different sides and will be less likely to dry out while being flipped from time to time during smoking or barbecuing.

If the flipping brisket method is your method of choice, it’s also essential to baste the brisket every time you flip it. 

This is because flipping brisket puts a lot of strain on the meat, and it needs to be basted at intervals to avoid losing moisture and keep it from drying out. This method also allows for even heat distribution on all sides of the brisket. 

Final Word

For the tastiest brisket season, all sides of the brisket generously, fat side included. If you decide on using a rub or a marinade, both make a tender, flavorful brisket. If cooked fat side up or down or flipped, nothing beats a good beefy smoked brisket.

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