From Aaron Franklin's MasterClass

Prep: Brisket Trim

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.

Topics include: Game Plan: It's All in the Details · Preparing for Your Cook · Trim


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.

Topics include: Game Plan: It's All in the Details · Preparing for Your Cook · Trim

Aaron Franklin

Teaches Texas-Style BBQ

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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 have been looking to set up my own BBQ restaurant for about 10 years. We have been in the hospitality business for over 30 and finally have the right venue to add a BBQ food outlet on the back of the restaurant/pub we now have. This Masterclass from Aaron was quite simply the best information and education I needed to give me the confidence to open it to the public. many thanks, Peter

I gotta go back to the beginning , and experience this again , thank you

Excellent and detailed content, Aaron Franklin now his stuff and know how to explain it.

Good way to explain the BBQ Process and fantastic tips for general outside cooking.


Tim C.

So I could need some advice. My butcher got me what he thought would be the brisket that I asked for. Unfortunately it is basically just a large square 12lb piece of flat muscle, probably cut out of the flat. I has no fat on it whatsoever. How would I go about to try and smoke this thing. Do you think putting it in a pan to collect the juices beneath the meat would help. My main concern is it drying out to much. Anybody got any tips, that'd be super appreciated.

Nick H.

Anyone know what knife he's using in this lesson? I know in his first book, it's a Shun - this looks different.

Jason B.

I just trimmed a brisket that had mostly hard fat down to the meat, thin layer of the hard fat, only a few places with the pillow fat. I left the hard fat on to protect the meat.

A fellow student

I love this guys personality! I have had the pleasure of talking with him a few times and he really is a great guy!

Dave K.

the class is fine but when I went to download the PDF I get an error message that says its expired. Really? I thought the point of spending a great amount money for an on line class was so that you can go through it on your own schedule. I hope this is just a glitch somewhere and not the way it really is. Right now Im a pretty disappointed.

Clay T.

"If this is your first brisket.... Run like Hell!" - A. Franklin. Classic.

Anthony Nguyen

I use it to make pho broth. Oh, and then slice it thin to serve in the pho.

Patrick K.

man! That is a lot of meat cut off. Seems almost criminal. Any suggestions for how to salvage? Stew-Beef comes to mind.


Hey guys, make sure you join Aaron's Community! There you can discuss BBQ techniques and other class material, network with other BBQ-loving students, trade recipes and stay up to date on class contests & activities. Here's the link: