When I recently visited Brooks’ Place in Cypress, I was introduced to a new cut of smoked meat I had never even considered. I’ve eaten a lot of barbecue at a lot of places all over Texas. But I have never heard or someone smoking this cut of meat. When smoking brisket, pretty much everyone follows the time-honored tradition of trimming the brisket. Part of that is to remove most of the fat, retaining just the right amount over the flat and point to give the brisket flavor. Another reason for trimming is for improved airflow of the smoke over and under the brisket. And EVERYONE removes and discards the deckle, that hard hunk of fat that sits near the point and connects the flat to the ribcage.
But not Trent Brooks. Instead, Brooks cuts out that deckle,and judges whether it is has enough quality meat to smoke independently. He shared that in his experience (which is considerable) about 4 out of 10 deckles are worth smoking. Because every deckle is differently-sized, has different densities of meat and fat, etc. it is extra tricky to smoke a deckle and have it turn out well. While I was enjoying my brisket and sausage he brought out an example deckle and sliced it right there in front of me and my barbecue buddy, Craig. I’ll tell you – it was amazing, with a very different flavor than your typical low-n-slow brisket. It has a much more “beefy” flavor. So moist. So flavorful. So worth eating. It was amazing. Given how small a percentage of deckles are worth smoking, and then the challenges in smoking it well, I can imagine that it would be difficult to offer it as a consistent part of a menu. But if you get a chance, try it! You can certainly try it at Brooks’ Place — it may be the only place on the planet smoking the deckle.