Food & Drink

The brisket-fat candle is real, and it tastes pretty good

brisket candle
Liz Childers

Brisket has evolved into one of the most versatile meats out there, finding its way into everything from burgers to bourbon. No part of it should go to waste, even the grease... which is why Florida pitmaster John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse has funneled it into a mold to create the Smokehouse Brisket Candle. But could it make good on its promise of making your house smell like Texas? And does it actually taste good, despite a label warning "Just Don't Eat It"? In the name of science, we conducted a thorough test.

brisket candle
Rachel Freeman


Before it's lit: If I was blindfolded, I'd assume someone was waving a bag of beef jerky in front of me. Not the weird gas station kind that makes you question the type of meat involved, but the stuff you’d make for yourself if you actually had the patience to smoke a bunch of steak. Which is pretty encouraging.

While it's burning: It smells like a burger on the grill, but one a few houses down in a neighbor’s backyard. It’s the kind of faint aroma that, without you realizing what’s happening, puts you in a fierce mental debate about whether it’s easier to covertly climb the fence and steal off their grill or put down your beer and go to the store for your burger. Plus, the wax sputters faintly the entire time it burns, not unlike the way fat sizzles in a pan when bacon’s frying.


The most difficult part of tasting the candle was not the fact that it's a candle. It was that it's like holding an extremely greasy brownie, yet also required some interesting head maneuvers to avoid burning my nose... having it lit was really important since I didn't want to limit my ability to smell this thing. But my efforts were well-rewarded: It tastes like... bacon. Waxy bacon, but still


Since it actually did taste a bit like bacon, the candle's a well-rounded sensory experience -- even if the smell is of fatty beef and it tastes like a pork-flavored version of candy corn.

Liz Childers is a food/drink editorial assistant at Thrillist, and prefers her smoked meats wax-free. Follow her editor-encouraged exploits at @lizchilders1