Brisket is a king among barbecue cuts. Once you’ve smoked a brisket, and turned that tough cut of meat into a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside, juicy sensory experience, you’ll never be the same.
Brisket Point vs Flat
The brisket is located on the upper forelegs under the steer’s shoulder, called the chuck region. Brisket is one of the minor primal cuts, found on a thickly muscled region of the steer’s body.
This powerful muscle is accustomed to supporting a lot of weight, so the meat carries a lot of connective tissue. Because of this, it was looked down on as tough and unpleasant to eat until someone discovered how to cook brisket properly.
Brisket should always be cooked low and slow, allowing time for the fat to render and the connective tissue to tenderize from difficult to chew into a richly flavored, melty barbecue treasure.
If you’re planning to cook a brisket and you can’t decide between the point or the flat, or you’ve gotten your hands on a whole packer cut brisket and you’re wondering what to do with the different bits, this guide should ease your mind and help you get the most of out of this delicious cut of beef.
About the Brisket Point
The point, also known as the deckle, is the roughly triangular, evenly marbled segment of the brisket. It is very flavorful due to the high amount of fat and connective tissue, which render and break down during cooking to give the brisket point its incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich, beefy flavor.
How big is a brisket point?
The brisket point normally ranges from 4 to 6 pounds.
How do you serve brisket point?
Due to the high fat content, brisket point does not hold together well for slicing, so it is best served as chopped beef for barbecue sandwiches. Another favorite recipe for brisket point is burnt ends. You can use this guide for how to smoke a chuck roast to get an idea on how to handle a brisket point.
About the Brisket Flat
The flat, or first cut, is a large, rectangular slab of meat, also called Brisket Nose Cut, Beef Brisket Middle Cut, or Brisket Center-Cut. It is an inch or two thick, muscular, and lightly marbled, containing only about 17% fat.
The flat compensates for this leanness with a thick fat cap that contributes a lot of flavor to the cut. However, the low fat content can make the flat difficult to cook properly, giving it a tendency to dry out and making it absolutely vital to cook low and slow. Here is an article showing you how to smoke a brisket flat on a Weber kettle.
Brisket flat is often brined and prepared as pastrami, marinated, or cooked in broth to ensure it remains moist.
How big is a brisket flat?
A whole brisket flat weighs in around 7 to 10 pounds, feeding at least seven people.
A lot of times you will find brisket flats that have been cut in half or thirds and are being sold in 3 pound sections.
How do you serve brisket flat?
Its uniform shape and lean texture make this particular brisket cut ideal if you want to cut slices of brisket for serving, but it is also excellent shredded.
A perfectly cooked slice of brisket flat should be able to drape over your fork without tearing. The ease of slicing is why the flat is the cut used for making the classic corned beef sandwich.
Which Part of The Brisket is Better? Point or Flat?
The point has a more intense, beefy flavor, and most people tend to think it tastes better than the flat, especially those who prefer a fattier cut of meat. Keep in mind that due to the higher fat content of the point, the amount of meat left after smoking will be significantly less than when you started.
The flat tends to be a bigger cut than the point, and it turns out much easier to slice, so if you are feeding a crowd or want to cut slices rather than serving chopped beef, go with the flat. If you like a leaner cut of meat, the flat is the way to go.
So brisket point vs flat; who wins? It comes down to your preferences and what you plan to do with the meat. They’re both winners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether this is your first brisket rodeo or you’re just getting ready to try separating your own packer cut brisket, these FAQs should help you on your way to tender, delectable brisket.
Should you separate the point from the flat on a brisket?
Brisket is perfectly fine to be left intact for smoking, but as it is a gargantuan piece of meat, often topping the scales at over 15 pounds, either of the individual muscles may work better for your wallet, your menu, or your schedule. In addition, the point needs more smoking time to render, while the flat may be left unfortunately dry by the extra time so careful checking is required to get the best of both cuts.
It is much easier to bring out the best in each part of the brisket when the parts are cooked separately.
How to separate the flat from the point
On a clean work surface, lay the whole packer brisket flat so that the flat is facing up. There will be a layer of fat called the nose between the two parts.
If you like, you can use a sharp knife to make score marks to make the cutting process easier.
Using a butcher’s knife, cut down into the nose.
Carefully follow the curve of the fat layer between the flat and point, lifting the flat out of the way as you continue to cut until the two sections of meat are fully separated.
Does the flat cook faster than the point?
Brisket is not a quick cut of meat to prepare. Smoking either section separately will be a little faster than smoking a whole packer cut brisket. That said, the flat can cook a little more quickly than the point since it is thinner and it doesn’t have as much fat to render and connective tissue that needs to be broken down.
It takes an average of one hour per pound of meat to cook brisket and it should be removed from the grill at 200℉ to 205℉. Ultimately, it depends on the size of your particular cut of brisket and the consistency of the heat and you have to leave it to your meat thermometer and your sense of feel. When the meat thermometer slides into the brisket like butter, it is ready to take off the heat.