Can You Cut A Brisket In Half? (3 Simple Steps)

You just bought a huge brisket and it won’t fit in your grill. 

Can you cut it in half?

You can however it can affect the outcome!

So make sure you read right to the end if you want pitmaster-worthy brisket!

Can You Cut A Brisket In Half?

The simple answer: it depends.

First, we need to figure out what cut of brisket it is.

A packer brisket is a full brisket with nothing removed. You can cut this in half.

A brisket flat has already been trimmed down. You should not cut this in half.

What Is A Packer Brisket?

Brisket is one of the primal cuts of beef. A packer cut is an untrimmed brisket.

It has the flat, the point, and the deckle. The point and flat are referred to as subprimal cuts.

The flat is the lean portion of the brisket.

The point is the fatty portion or “nose.”

The deckle is the fatty tissue that connects the meat to the cow’s bones.

diagram to show where the point and flat is on brisket

What Is A Brisket Flat?

A brisket flat is sometimes known as a “nose-off brisket” or a “deckle-off brisket.” 

This means that the point and/or the fatty connective tissue have been trimmed away.

If you bought the brisket pre-cut, you should not cut it again.

Should I Cut A Brisket Flat?

You should not cut a flat. Since it has already been trimmed, it has the minimal fat necessary for proper cooking.

The lean brisket would dry out if you removed any more fat.

Your cooked brisket would be more similar to burnt ends than tender brisket.

Another consideration is the different cooking times.

You will usually cook the flat a lot more quickly than the point.

A lot of pitmasters will cut the brisket after it is cooked through and then continue cooking the point.

Many backyard chefs may want to cut it ahead of time. This makes it easier to properly cook both portions.

See the full resource for: Smoking a brisket flat only

Should I Cut A Packer Brisket?

People disagree about this answer.

However, most would say do not cut it.

The packer has a lot of extra fat. This adds rich flavors to the beef.

The extra fat also helps to keep the brisket moist.

Unfortunately, some people don’t have grills big enough to adhere to this big piece of meat.

If this is the case, you may want to cut it.

Another reason to cut it in half is not having enough time to cook an entire brisket.

You can always cook half while freezing the other half.

Some competitive grill masters will cut the brisket and cook the fat on top of the flat.

This is an option you can consider if you’re not afraid of trying new cooking methods!

How Do I Cut A Packer Brisket?

Firstly, make sure you have a sharp knife.

Otherwise, this process will be a struggle.

Place the brisket with the fatty side down. Identify the fat seam. This is called the “nose.”

With a boning knife, carefully cut along the fat seam.

When you reach the end of the flat seam, cut the rest of the way through the brisket.

Now you have fully separated the two subprimal cuts.

You may trim more fat off the brisket if you’d like.

Leave about a quarter of an inch of fat to ensure the brisket is flavorful and moist.

prime cut brisket that is left side beef

What If I Can’t Cut A Brisket?

If you don’t have the proper equipment to cut a brisket, there are other options.

Since the meat shrinks as it cooks, you might be able to “make do.”

Some people will drape the meat over a metal coffee can or fold it in half.

Once the meat starts to shrink, you can resituate it so that it lies flat.

How Do I Cook Half A Brisket?

If you cut a brisket before smoking, you will need to try an alternative method of cooking.

You will want to generously season the brisket, especially around the cut marks.

If you decide to wrap the brisket, you could use barbecue sauce or beef broth to give it some extra moisture.

You may want to reduce the cooking time to ensure you don’t overcook it.

Only cook until the internal temperature reaches 204°F. 

If you choose to cook the point, you may want to consider making burnt ends.

When the point reaches an internal temperature of 204°F, take it off the grill.

Cube the point and toss the cubes in additional barbecue sauce.

Put it back on the smoker until the juices are caramelized.

A lot of meat gurus call this “meat candy.”

Can I Freeze Half A Brisket?

You can freeze half a brisket! 

Cooked brisket freezes well.

Make sure you don’t let it sit out at room temperature for too long before freezing it.

Raw brisket also freezes well. The freezer extends the shelf life so you can cook it later.

If you choose to freeze it, you may want to consider using a vacuum bag.

Make sure it is in airtight packaging so the cold air can’t ruin the meat.

Now that you know the ins and outs of cutting a brisket in half, go experiment with your brisket!

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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