Culinary Arts

Prep: Brisket Trim

Aaron Franklin

Lesson time 34:20 min

In the first of our five-chapter series on the Texas barbecue staple, Aaron shares his signature method for shaving and shaping briskets for an even and consistent cook.

Aaron Franklin
Teaches Texas-Style BBQ
Aaron Franklin teaches you how to fire up flavor-packed Central Texas barbecue, including his famous brisket and more mouth-watering smoked meat.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] - A lot of people really seem to think that cooking brisket is really hard. And it's kind of only as hard as you make it. You can be super duper detailed, or you could just kind of slap it together. I happen to be a super details kind of guy. So I like to make a plan, I like to know exactly what I'm working with. But you know, really, the fact of the matter is cooking a brisket is a little sensitive. It's a strange piece of meat. It's got two muscles. One cooks a little bit faster than the other one. You've got to get the spark. You've got to not dry out the edges. You've got to render seam fat that's between the two muscles. You've got to render subcutaneous fat that lays on top. You may or may not wrap it. I prefer to wrap biscuits. So there's kind of a lot to it. So I think any good barbecue cook-- ribs, pork butts, especially brisket-- it's good to make a plan. [MUSIC PLAYING] Sharpie. And I'm going to think about what time I want this brisket to come off. So we're going to say 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. If I want to come off at 2:00, it's going to rest for a little bit. That's kind of optimal time for kind of an early dinner time. If you're going to try to eat about 5:00 or 6:00, 2 o'clock is a good time to come off. It'll give you a little bit of time to rest. Also, if you kind of get into a little bit of trouble on the cooker, maybe it's not coming off fast enough, that buys you a little bit a kind of wiggle room. In a perfect world, this brisket would take me 12 hours. The more you cook on a bigger cooker, it takes longer. It's kind of like a bunch potatoes in a microwave. The more you cook, it always takes longer. You've got more evaporative cooling going on. Takes more temperatures to overcompensate for that. So we're going to go down let's say, 2 o'clock. AM is when it goes on. It'll be dark, so I want to trim this early. I just want to be sure I'm sitting in a really good place. I want to start off a little bit lower, because I want to put a cold piece of meat on a really hot cooker. You can, believe it or not, do a lot of damage right up front if you just crank the smoker, get it really, really hot. You can dry out some stuff on the edges of this brisket before, you know-- well, I guess if you dry out the edges, you've already kind of damaged it enough where that won't make the 12 hour cook. So really, kind of my bullet points here is an on time. And then eight to nine hours is what I want to wrap this thing. So we're going to call that 10 o'clock AM, somewhere here in the middle. Could be 11:00, could be 10:30. Could be anywhere in there. Then that gives me up to another four hours to finish this thing. So that kind of safeguards you if it rains, if it's night, if maybe, God forbid, you fall asleep. And even worse situation is people seem to like to drink beers for cooking barbecue. Maybe you had a few too many beers and you play yourself a safety card. So anyway, that's kind of...

The art of smoke and fire

Once a backyard hobbyist, Aaron Franklin is now the James Beard Award-winning owner of Franklin Barbecue, where the line for his famous smoked brisket is hours long. Now the Central Texas barbecue specialist teaches you his meticulous low and slow process for mouth-watering ribs, pork butt, and brisket. With perfectly seasoned cuts and optimal temperatures, you'll learn to handle an offset smoker like a true pitmaster.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I really love Aaron's down to earth mentality...and the little tidbits of information that just pop out when he's really in the moment, like how stuff looks, feels and smells

Aaron is fantastic! Humble guy who obviously is a master at his craft. I am a professional chef who dreams of one day opening up his own bbq buisness. With his help, i'm sure ill succeed!

Great insight from Aaron Franklin. Tons of tips. I really enjoyed this class!

Loved Aaron's down-to-earth approach and was like a friend showing you how he does it.


A fellow student

I never heard him mention internal temperature to pull off. Am I missing it somewhere?

Cédric G.

I never thought I'd get to hear about aerodynamics in a BBQ class hahaha. But nice one Aaron. Very interesting. Looking forward to the next !

A fellow student

I’m an empty nester and getting into BBQ. Anyone have any ideas of how to think about preparing smaller cuts of meat for a smaller group?

Mark J.

I have a question about temps. He says to constantly maintain temps and that if it goes up and down it will mess up the cook. But, when I open the cooker to check temps or spritz, it drops the temp drastically and takes awhile to come back up. How do you adjust for this or am I over thinking?

Hunter W.

He says at one point that he likes to trim it "way" in advance. What do you suppose he means by that? A day, an hour, 4 hours? Assume he would trim it, then take it out of fridge later to season before putting on smoker.

Uri S.

If you're noticing that the temp is ramping up on the fire, what's the best way to get it to come back down without smothering the flame too much?

Le Vif B.

Skipping a few to get right to the good stuff. Thanks Aaron & Masterclass for making this real.

Francisco A.

Just a quick question. I got 15pound brisket. Smoking the same temps as Franklin is it still 1hr per pound.


I like the way how he explains the way to trim the brisket and how important the timing and degrees for the cooking. Thanks for this amazing lesson


As a employee of Traeger customer service I found the lesson most enlightening. I don't know how many customers that I have talked to who have gone into a complex cook as this utterly blind and then called in anger.