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#4537340 - 10/08/17 05:07 PM Up or down?
ATex7239 Offline


Registered: 01/19/17
Posts: 331
Loc: Texas,USA
Not the toilet seat.... smoking or grilling meat...

Always been fat up guy, but smoked a pork butt fat down this weekend. Not bad, but didn't stay as moist as I prefer. Might play around with it some more. Maybe try fat down on a brisket next.

Fat up or down; what say you?
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#4537350 - 10/08/17 05:18 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: ATex7239]
JohnnyJohnson Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2731
Loc: Wet side WA
Fat up bastes the meat as it cooks.
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#4537354 - 10/08/17 05:22 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: ATex7239]
aquariuscsm Offline


Registered: 12/30/06
Posts: 18150
Loc: Dallas,Tx USA
Originally Posted By: ATex7239
Maybe try fat down on a brisket next.


That's a BIG no-no! Always buy a brisket with the thickest fat layer and smoke it fat layer up.
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#4537389 - 10/08/17 06:14 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: ATex7239]
MrHorspwer Offline


Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1420
Loc: Michigan
There are a many different types of fat. For BBQ, three kinds really matter:

Subcutaneous fat - Fat layer directly under the skin, commonly know as a fat cap or edge fat (on steaks)
Intramuscular fat - Fat that woven within the muscle fibers, commonly known as marbling.
Intermuscular fat - Fat between two muscle groups.

The process of slowly melting and breaking down intramuscular fat is what makes BBQ so fantastic. This is why pork shoulder and brisket are so fantastic when properly prepared. This is also why a well marbled steak is so delicious.

It's not the fat around the meat that makes for good eats, it's the fat in the meat that makes it wonderful. Intramuscular fat is one of the two primary factors for USDA beef grading. Prime beef always has more intramuscular fat (marbling) than choice or select.

If you're shopping based on the size of the fat cap, all you're shopping is how well the packer trimmed the cut, not the actual quality of the cut.

More importantly, melting fat from the fat cap doesn't penetrate the meat. It physically can't. Muscle fiber is 75 percent water. When cooking, the fibers contract, pushing that water out. How can fat, which is already larger molecule than water, penetrate muscle fiber that is contracted an actively pushing out water? It can't.

The reality is, it really doesn't matter how to orient the fat cap. Leaving it up doesn't make the meat more moist. It physically cannot do that. Cooking fat side up is more of an example of, "This is how we've always done it."

Personally, I trim all the fat hangers from a pork shoulder but leave the fat cap intact since it will be shredded up along with the meat before serving. For brisket, I cut off any hangers and trim the fat cap to 1/8-1/4 inch thick.

I cook on a Big Green Egg, which has the heat source under the meat. Even though there is a big ceramic heat deflector, I typically cook fat cap down to act as an insulator from the heat source.

Myth: Melting fat doesn't penetrate meat

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#4537393 - 10/08/17 06:18 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: aquariuscsm]
ATex7239 Offline


Registered: 01/19/17
Posts: 331
Loc: Texas,USA
Originally Posted By: aquariuscsm
Originally Posted By: ATex7239
Maybe try fat down on a brisket next.


That's a BIG no-no! Always buy a brisket with the thickest fat layer and smoke it fat layer up.


Several competition smokers go fat down. Though, I don't typically do it, I wouldn't say it's a no-no.
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#4537442 - 10/08/17 07:20 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: ATex7239]
KJSmith Offline


Registered: 08/31/15
Posts: 247
Loc: TX
Down

Mr HP is mostly right.

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#4537444 - 10/08/17 07:26 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: ATex7239]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8642
Loc: North Carolina
I'm not sure it matters that much. I think it matters more how you orient the heat source. I smoke indirect, no heat directly under the meat. I think it keeps one side of the meat from getting too hot. Cook out too much fat( or get the fat too hot) and its dry and tough.


Edited by spasm3 (10/08/17 07:26 PM)
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#4537496 - 10/08/17 08:34 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: MrHorspwer]
Finz Offline


Registered: 06/06/13
Posts: 692
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: MrHorspwer
There are a many different types of fat. For BBQ, three kinds really matter:

Subcutaneous fat - Fat layer directly under the skin, commonly know as a fat cap or edge fat (on steaks)
Intramuscular fat - Fat that woven within the muscle fibers, commonly known as marbling.
Intermuscular fat - Fat between two muscle groups.

Myth: Melting fat doesn't penetrate meat




+1... I was always a fat-up guy until I read this on amazing ribs.

Still go fat-up but I don't believe it makes a difference in the cook... cleanliness of water pan and lower rack? Yes
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#4537516 - 10/08/17 08:47 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: ATex7239]
aquariuscsm Offline


Registered: 12/30/06
Posts: 18150
Loc: Dallas,Tx USA
Speaking of good brisket,I see you're from Tx,do you have any faves or recommendations? Finding a good BBQ restaurant is nearly impossible!! The best I've ever had hands down is Bodacious in Arlington. The brisket and ribs are AMAZING!!!! Absolutely NO gristle or waste. It literally melts in your mouth!!
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#4537520 - 10/08/17 08:58 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: Finz]
MrHorspwer Offline


Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1420
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Finz

Still go fat-up but I don't believe it makes a difference in the cook... cleanliness of water pan and lower rack? Yes


Right. There's nothing wrong with fat up (or fat down), but it's not as if doing it the other way will result in an inedible lump.

That's the great thing about BBQ: Unless you royally screw it up, you still get BBQ! That's better than most consolation prizes.

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#4537527 - 10/08/17 09:08 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: aquariuscsm]
ATex7239 Offline


Registered: 01/19/17
Posts: 331
Loc: Texas,USA
Originally Posted By: aquariuscsm
Speaking of good brisket,I see you're from Tx,do you have any faves or recommendations? Finding a good BBQ restaurant is nearly impossible!! The best I've ever had hands down is Bodacious in Arlington. The brisket and ribs are AMAZING!!!! Absolutely NO gristle or waste. It literally melts in your mouth!!


Best I've had chain, Hard Eight. One off restaurant, Cousin's Fort Worth. Hole in the wall, small corner store south of Arlington, can't remember the name. Best backyard, my own. I know I'm bias, but I've been told by many I make a [censored] fine brisket.


Edited by ATex7239 (10/08/17 09:15 PM)
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#4537562 - 10/08/17 10:11 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: MrHorspwer]
bbhero Offline


Registered: 03/20/15
Posts: 4613
Loc: Virginia
Exactly right. I go fat down and I've never had any problems. Hydrating the meat is a far bigger factor.
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#4537612 - 10/08/17 11:48 PM Re: Up or down? [Re: ATex7239]
DdDd Offline


Registered: 06/08/17
Posts: 189
Loc: NY
Stopped eating 'cue altogether. More energy, lost weight and the numbers are perfect.

Ate some amazing pork last week. Took two days for the system to clear it out and feel normal again. As awesome as it is mind you... Never again.

Bbq, sodas, fries and corn. Like a loaded revolver, only slower.

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#4537621 - 10/09/17 12:40 AM Re: Up or down? [Re: ATex7239]
bdcardinal Offline


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 10979
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
I just do sous vide now. When I do a tri-tip I will put it on the BBQ for 5 minutes a side, fat down first. When my friend does it he uses an asphalt torch.
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#4537704 - 10/09/17 07:08 AM Re: Up or down? [Re: bbhero]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: bbhero
Exactly right. I go fat down and I've never had any problems. Hydrating the meat is a far bigger factor.


I have always done fat up, to help from losing moisture out the top. (At least in my mind?)

I place my brisket on foil and curl the edges of the foil up around the fat on top.
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