How To Slice A Brisket
Brisket is a tough cut of meat that requires patience and skill to get it right. Briskets are typically cooked by braising, broiling, or smoking; but if you want your brisket to be tender and delicious, there’s no better way than slicing the meat thinly across the grain. This article will teach you how to slice a brisket like a pro!
What Is A Brisket?
Brisket is a type of meat that comes from the chest or breast of a cow. It is a tough cut of meat that is usually cooked low and slow to break down the connective tissue and tenderize the meat. Brisket can be smoked, barbecued, or roasted. It is often served as part of a barbecue or Texas-style smoked feast.
There are two main types of brisket: flat cut and point cut. The flat cut is a leaner cut of meat that is wider and has less marbling than the point cut. The pointcut is fattier and has more marbling than the flat cut. Both cuts are flavorful, but the pointcut tends to be more tender.
Brisket is a popular cut of meat in the United States, but it is also common in other countries such as Australia and England. It can be expensive to purchase, so it is often reserved for special occasions.
How To Smoke A Brisket: Step-By-Step
The first thing you need to realize is that brisket is a very large cut of meat. It typically weighs around 15 pounds and takes up the space of an entire pan. I have gotten some really nice results with this recipe using a half-packer – a smaller full packer will work just fine. I’ve used this recipe to smoke a full packer and had some success, but not as much as when it is halved.
Take your brisket and remove the fat on top, leaving about 1/4″ or so of fat remaining. Some people will leave more fat on the top than that, up to an inch thick in places, but I like removing it all and rendering my own lard (see article here ). The reason for removing the fat is twofold: one – we want to sear the meat; we don’t want any insulation between the pan and the meat; second – when you remove the fat when it cools down in about an hour, you will be able to separate the fat from the red juice (called “pot liquor” by some) and use the fat for cooking.
Use a rub! This is not optional – without a rub, your meat will taste like…well… A rub provides seasoning and layers of flavor that your brisket just can not achieve without one! I recommend purchasing Aaron Franklin’s book, or having his recipe on this blog at hand while reading through this article because his book has all of my recommended spices listed out for easy reference.
Cook your brisket at 225-250 degrees until it hits about 165-170 internal temperature. This should take about 3 hours per pound, but be sure to check often with a probe thermometer. I recommend adding wood during the cook around every hour and a half or so. I always use low smoke woods – either pecan or oak, never mesquite on a full packer brisket because the flavor will become overpowering. In fact, you can simply do away with any of the “hard” woods entirely if you want to achieve a mellower smoke flavor.
Once your brisket reaches 165-170 internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and wrap it in butcher paper or foil. Place it back in the smoker and continue cooking until the internal temperature hits 203 degrees – this will take about an hour.
Remove from smoker and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
How To Slice A Brisket: Step-By-Step
When you’re cooking a brisket, it’s just as important to have a plan for what you’re going to do with it once it comes off the smoker.
I most frequently serve my briskets sliced on a platter. It makes for a really nice presentation and gives everyone an opportunity to pick their favorite pieces of meat.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for slicing a brisket:
- Let the brisket rest for about 30 minutes before slicing. This will give the meat time to reabsorb its juices, which will result in a more tender slice.
- Cut the brisket in half horizontally, so that you have two equal pieces.
- Trim off any excess fat or connective tissue from the meat.
- Slice the meat against the grain into thin strips.
- Serve on a platter or cut into individual portions with a sharp knife.
Slicing the Point of Brisket: Step-by-step guide
When it comes to slicing brisket, there are two main muscles that you need to be aware of: the point and the flat. The point is the thicker, more marbled muscle, while the flat is a thinner, less marbled muscle.
The first step in slicing brisket is to identify which of these muscles is the point. The point is located on the upper part of the brisket and is easily identified by its thicker, marbled texture.
Once you’ve identified the point, you need to cut it away from the flat. To do this, use a sharp knife to slice between the point and the flat, cutting parallel to the bone. Be careful not to cut into the bone itself.
Once the point has been cut away, you can then start to slice the brisket. To do this, hold the brisket so that the point is facing up and the flat is facing down. Then, use a sharp knife to slice the brisket perpendicular to the grain.
Make sure to slice slowly and carefully, so that you don’t lose any of the delicious juices. And that’s it! You’ve successfully sliced brisket. Enjoy!
Slicing The Flat Of Brisket: Step-By-Step Guide
A whole packer brisket is a BIG piece of meat. It can be intimidating to figure out how best to prepare it for serving, but fortunately, the process is relatively simple.
The first step in preparing a whole packer brisket is removing the entire packer from the cryovac packaging and setting it on a cutting board with the fat cap side up. As you can see, there are two distinct muscles comprising this flat – the point (or thick end) and the flat itself.
These muscles are separated by an incredibly tough seam of connective tissue weaving between them, which must be removed so they can be individually sliced into their respective cuts of meat. This separation happens naturally as you cut away at either end of the hunk of meat, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty at first.
The next step is to remove the fat cap. This can be a little tricky, as the butcher has usually trimmed it down to a very thin layer. Start by slicing parallel to the muscle fibers, being careful not to cut into the meat itself. Once you’ve got a good hold on the fat cap, you can start cutting vertically in order to remove it in one piece.
It’s best to discard the fat cap – it’s too fatty and tough for most people to enjoy. However, if you’re feeling adventurous you can try rendering it down into some delicious bacon or lard.
Now that the hard part is done, it’s time to slice the flat into individual portions. This can be done most easily by cutting straight down between each muscle, just above where they meet in the center of the flat.
Cut all the way through both muscles until you’re almost touching the cutting board – then simply shift your knife to continue slicing off thin strips of meat. You’ll want to cut against the grain as much as possible, but remember that this is a big chunk of meat so it will take some time.
I usually start at either end and work my way toward the middle, carefully cutting away chunks of meat once I’m finished with my initial slicing pass. If you go too fast or try to shift your knife too quickly, you risk mangling up your slices instead of cutting neatly against the grain.
Once you’ve got your flat sliced into individual portions, you’re ready to cook it! Simply season with your favorite barbecue rub and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 200-205 degrees Fahrenheit. Then just slice or chop each portion however you like – if your butcher did a good job separating the muscles, this should be easily accomplished. I recommend checking out our posts on slicing brisket for tips on how to make perfectly even slices, chopping brisket, and serving up burnt ends.
Different Slicing Down Between Two Different Muscles (Flat & Point):
It is a common belief that the serratus anterior and trapezius muscles do not overlap, as they are separated by the scapula. However, there is only a small amount of space available between them as an area where their fibers interdigitate. In this area, the muscle fibers from one muscle blend with those from the other muscle to contribute together to contiguous regions of the tendon. The way this occurs allows for many variations in muscular insertions due to different shapes and depth at which each muscle inserts into its adjacent contributary insertion point/s (see figure).
There exists a weak zone or transition region that exists just behind and below the scapular spine where the flat and pointed parts of the trapezius blend together. The flat part of the trapezius inserts on the medial border of the scapula, while the pointed part inserts on the lateral border. The serratus anterior muscle fibers blend with those of the trapezius muscle in the area immediately below and behind the scapular spine. This is why a knife can be inserted vertically between the two muscles and produce a slicing action as it moves down towards the vertebral column.
In addition to this vertical slicing action, a sharp knife can also be used to make horizontal cuts across these muscles. The direction of the cut will determine which muscle is targeted. Cuts made in a superior (upward) direction will target the upper portion of the serratus anterior, while cuts made in an inferior (downward) direction will target the lower portion of the serratus anterior. Cuts made in an anterior (forward) or posterior (backward) direction will cut through both muscled at once, as the trapezius is located further forward than the serratus anterior muscle.
A stabbing motion with a knife that enters the point first and then angles downward towards the vertebral column can result in a slicing action that cuts through both muscles simultaneously and vertically depending on how far down it is plunged into the body. Due to this phenomenon, victims of stab wounds may have several vertical cuts up and down their back because this stab motion can move from one large area to another before being removed from the body. In addition, due to the blending of the muscles in the weak zone or transition region, a horizontal cut across the lower back may also bisect the serratus anterior muscle. These cuts can often be seen in victims of stabbings who have been stabbed multiple times.
So why is it that when we look at someone’s back, we see one large muscle and not two individual muscles? The answer lies in the fact that these muscles are usually in a state of contraction and therefore blend together to form one large muscle. When someone is relaxed or asleep, the muscles will usually become more visible as they will not be contracting and will appear more distinct from each other. This is why you may be able to see the individual muscles better on someone who is flexing their muscles or on a cadaver.
Tips For Slicing The Perfect Brisket:
A properly prepared brisket will give you plenty of meat for slicing. The best-sliced brisket is cut against the grain. That means that when you look at the muscle fibers, they run in different directions and are not parallel to each other. The goal is to separate these fibers into small sections so that it takes longer for your teeth to tear through them. When your teeth start tearing through the meat, it can cause it to be tough if they are pulling on large sections of connective tissue. Cutting against the grain allows the knife to slice between individual muscle groups which makes them easier to chew through while giving you more tender slices overall. Let’s avoid some common pitfalls with slicing a great piece of beef by following this simple plan.
First, you want to start by gently pulling the large end of the slice away from the rest of the meat using your fingers. Then using a sharp knife, cut between 1/4″ -1/2″ slices not going straight down but at an angle toward you working away from the large end of each slice. When you get about halfway through, rotate either 90 or 180 degrees and make another slice with your knife blade facing away from you again cutting at an angle towards you without jamming your knife into what you’ve already cut. Continue slicing until all of the meat is cut.
Some people like to trim all the fat off of their brisket before slicing it, but I find that a little bit of fat on the meat helps keep it moist and flavorful. I usually trim off any really thick pieces of fat and then leave a thin layer across the top. If you’re going to slice your brisket yourself, I recommend investing in a high-quality slicing knife. You’ll be glad you did.
When it comes to slicing brisket, practice makes perfect! With a little bit of time and patience, you’ll be able to produce tender, juicy slices that will have your family and friends raving about your cooking skills. Happy slicing!
Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cooking Brisket:
- Not allowing the brisket to come to room temperature before cooking. This is important because if you cook a cold brisket, it will take much longer to cook and could potentially be overcooked.
- Not using a meat thermometer. It’s important to ensure that your brisket is cooked to a safe temperature in order to avoid foodborne illness.
- Not trimming the fat off of the brisket before cooking. This will help the brisket cook more evenly and prevent it from becoming too greasy.
- Not searing the brisket before cooking it. Searing the meat will help lock in the juices and produce a crispy crust.
- Not allowing the brisket to rest after cooking. This is important because it allows the meat to redistribute its juices, which will result in a more tender and juicy brisket.
- Using the wrong type of smoker. There are many different types of smokers, and each one cooks brisket differently. It’s important to use the correct smoker for the best results.
- Not using enough wood chips. Smoking brisket requires a lot of wood chips, so be sure to use enough of them to produce a good smoky flavor.
- Not keeping the temperature consistent. Smoking brisket requires a constant temperature, so be sure to check your smoker’s thermometer frequently and make adjustments as necessary.
- Opening the smoker too much. Every time you open the smoker, it releases heat, which slows down the cooking process.
- Letting guests eat too early! Brisket requires several hours to cook properly, so be sure to set your timer and stick to it!
What Makes A Good Brisket?
A brisket is a cut of meat from the chest or breast of a cow. It is a tough, fatty cut of meat that can be slow-cooked to tenderness. There are several things that make a good brisket.
The first is the quality of the meat itself. The best briskets come from well-fed cows with plenty of marbling. Marbling is the fat that runs through the muscle tissue. The more marbling, the better the brisket will taste.
The second thing that makes a good brisket is how it is cooked. Brisket should be cooked slowly and low and slow. This will break down the fat and connective tissue, resulting in a tender, juicy piece of meat.
The final thing that makes a good brisket is the rub and sauce combination. The rub should be savory and spicy with lots of black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, paprika, and chipotle chili powder. The sauce should be tangy with tomato paste as the primary ingredient. There can also be vinegar and mustard for extra flavor and to bind all the ingredients together.
What Makes A Bad Brisket?
A bad brisket is dry and tough. This comes from overcooking it on high heat or cooking it at temperatures lower than 250 degrees F (121 C). There also needs to be enough marbling in the meat itself to help maintain moisture even after hours of cooking. Another thing that can make a brisket bad is if the rub and sauce do not adhere well to the meat. It should be completely seasoned, but it shouldn’t come off in one bite or look like mud on the surface.
Different Cut Types Of A Brisket
When you ask people around Texas what they like to make for their barbecue, the majority will say “a brisket”. Brisket is certainly one of the best choices to make barbecued meat. It’s known as a relatively cheap piece of meat and it has exceptional results when being cooked low and slow. However, most people don’t know how to properly cut a brisket. This can lead to some disastrous barbecue results. In this article, we’ll teach you the different types of cuts that can be made from brisket.
The Flat Cut: The flat cut is the most common type of cut that is made from brisket. This is the thinner, leaner end of the brisket. It’s best cooked with low and slow heat in order to break down the connective tissues and render out the fat.
The Point Cut: The point cut is the thicker, fattier end of the brisket. It’s best cooked with high heat in order to form a crispy crust on the outside. Because it contains fatter, it will also have a higher chance of retaining moisture when being cooked over a long period.
Clod Cut: The clod cut is not typically found in retail supermarkets. It’s most often prepared at barbecue joints and it’s actually made from the shoulder of the animal. While this cut also needs low and slow cooking, it has a bit less fat than a brisket so it will require more basting in order to maintain optimal flavor and moisture content.
Smoker Set-Up: In order to get the best possible results from each type of cut, you’ll need to know what kind of smoker that you’re using and how to set it up properly per your particular equipment specifications. For example, if you using an offset smoker then you’ll need to set it up so that the fire is on one side and the meat is on another. If you’re using a Green Egg or Kamado smoker, then you’ll want to create an indirect cooking environment with no coals directly below your meat. You can also use smaller electric grills if that’s what you have available.
Cooking Time: The temperature of each cut of brisket will vary based on the thickness of the flat or point cut, respectively. However, they both require roughly 12 hours at 225 degrees F for them to be properly cooked through. When cutting open your finished cuts of brisket, make sure to use a sharp knife in order to avoid tearing the fibers apart as much as possible which will help keep the juices in the meat.
Flavorings: Because of their thicker, fattier cuts, point or clod cuts can take much more flavor than flat cuts. It would be advised to baste them every hour or so with your favorite dry rubs and/or sauces in order to keep them moist throughout the entire process.
Tools Of The Trade: If you’re just starting out on your barbecue journey, then I would recommend using a pair of offset wood-fired smokers. They’ll allow you to get accustomed to smoking your meats before jumping into more expensive cooking equipment like expensive pellet grills which are used for low and slow cooking.
What Is The Knife Used When Slicing Brisket?
A slicing knife is the best option for slicing brisket. The blade is long and thin, making it easy to cut through the meat without shredding it. Look for a knife that has a sharp point and a fine edge. A serrated blade can also be used, but it will not produce as clean of a slice. When slicing brisket, hold the knife with your fingertips pointed down towards the cutting board. Use a gentle sawing motion to make your way through the meat. Don’t apply too much pressure – let the sharpness of the blade do the work. If you are having difficulty cutting through the meat, try using a carving fork to help guide the knife.
Slicing brisket can be a bit tricky, but with a little practice, you will be able to produce perfectly sliced meat every time. The key is to use the right knife and to take your time. Slice brisket thin and against the grain for the best results.
How To Choose A Slicing Knife That Is Perfect For Brisket?
This is how you select the best slicing knife for brisket. Keep reading to know more.
Some people like their meat in thick slices, while others opt for thin ones. The thickness of the slice makes a difference when it comes to the cooking time and the quantity of fat left in or on your meat after eating it. Slicing knives are required by both types if they are enthusiastic about barbecue cooking because just using a regular kitchen knife might not produce the neat cut that you desire.
A common mistake made by novice cooks is to choose whatever sliced meat looks attractive just because it doesn’t have too much fat visible around the edges. Many times, these have already turned brown due to oxidation, which means harmful have started doing their work inside the meat, even before you have stopped cooking. So investing in a good slicing knife is important for perfectly cooked meat.
It is best to choose a slicing knife that has sufficient weight, good sharpness, and a fixed blade with enough width to the handle to give you perfect balance for carving your barbecue food. Following are some points to remember while choosing this kitchen slicer:
Always select precut brisket slices instead of an uncut piece of brisket because it gives uniform thickness throughout the entire muscle that prevents overcooking or under-cooking at different parts of the slice. Also, cutting through an already cut surface will ensure less smoke flavor absorption into the meat.
The size of the blade depends on the size of the brisket cut. If your brisket has fairly large slices, then a long blade knife will be required to carve that into beautiful pieces. However, if you are serving smaller slices then opt for a shorter slicer.
The edges of your meat should not have pieces of fat on them, but small bits of fat on it can prove beneficial when cooking because they add extra flavor and juiciness to your meat during the long hours of slow cooking.
A proper blade angle is extremely important for slicing meat. Since barbecue meat is already tenderized by marinating or smoking process, you do not want to press your knife against it too hard or drag it over the surface. This will end up tearing the meat and make it difficult to chew. So hold the slicing knife at a slight angle and cut downwards slowly for neat, even slices.
Now that you know how to choose the perfect slicing knife for your brisket, go ahead and purchase one so you can start enjoying perfectly cooked juicy, and flavorful barbecue brisket slices.
Slicing a Brisket FAQs
What is a “packer cut” brisket?
A packer-cut brisket is one that has been fully separated from the point and flat muscles, which allows for a more aesthetic presentation. This may be done by the butcher at the grocery store or meat processing plant, or by you after cooking. The flat side of a packer-cut brisket will have what looks like an end piece of fat attached to it; this is actually excess fat that needs to be trimmed before serving. There may also be some flaps of point muscle on the other side that should be removed and discarded before carving.
What’s the difference between a “beef” and a “brisket” cut?
Beef cuts come from the muscle that the animal uses for movement, while brisket cuts come from the breast or lower chest area. Because this part of the cow is used less, it’s considered a tougher cut of meat and takes longer to cook.
How do I know when my brisket is done?
A properly cooked brisket will be tender and juicy with a pinkish-white center. The USDA recommends cooking beef brisket to an internal temperature of 145-160 degrees F. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature, or cut into the meat to see if it’s done to your liking.
Now that you know how to slice a brisket, it’s time to put your skills to the test! Slice the brisket across the grain into thin strips. If you find some particularly tough sections, cut them into smaller pieces. Serve the sliced brisket with your favorite BBQ sauce and enjoy!
Brisket is a delicious and versatile cut of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways. By following these simple steps, you can learn how to slice a brisket like a pro! Whether you’re serving up a big family dinner or hosting a BBQ for your friends, this dish is sure to impress. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!