How Many Briskets per Cow (You Might Be Surpised!)

Nothing beats a perfectly smoked, moist, and irresistible brisket.

And if you’re a meat-lover, you may want to know more about this incredible cut.

So, how many briskets are there per cow? There are two briskets in each steer.

And each brisket can be divided into the flat and the point resulting in two cuts of points and two cuts of flats per steer.

Let’s find out how to prepare each cut like a true pit masters

How Many Briskets per Cow?

Each beef carcass comprises of two briskets, one on either side.

The brisket comes from the area between the foreleg (on the top) and the chuck (on the bottom).

Fresh beef brisket is usually huge. So, it’s often divided into smaller sections called subprimal.

Where Is Brisket Located in a Cow?

Beef brisket is located on the steer’s pectoral muscle.

Beneath the chuck and above the foreshank.

The muscle fibers in this region get a great deal of exercise from time to time. This workout makes the meat tough but also full of flavor.

Smoking brisket for long causes its connective tissues to change to gelatin.

This usually takes about two hours per pound of cooking time or more.

During the cooking process, the fat renders, and the meat fibers relax.

The result is a tender, juicy, and flavorful brisket.

Which Side of the Cow Yield More Tender Brisket?

There have been a lot of controversies that the left brisket is more tender than the right.

That’s so because the steer sits on its left side and uses the right leg to stand up. This makes the brisket on the right side work harder.

But, that debate doesn’t hold water.

According to research on cattle lying behavior, some steers lie more on the left, but not all.

Cows switch sides between consecutive lying episodes.

And the switching is more likely to happen if the previous lying bout was long or recent.

So, there’s no more tender side to the brisket.

Both the right and the left sides of the steer are equal.

What Are the Brisket Varieties?

Brisket is a large cut of beef that can weigh 20 lbs at most.

Butchers usually divide the packer brisket into two varieties of cuts called subprimal.

They do so to make the cuts of meat more manageable and reduce cooking time.

The Brisket Flat

The flat is a long rectangular piece of meat with a fat layer on one side.

It is more popular and easy to find in grocery stores and supermarkets.

This layer of fat makes the meat moist during the smoking process and enhances the smoke flavor.

But, if the brisket fat is too thick, trim it to ¼ inch before seasoning to get the best results.

The flat has a visible, thick grain and usually weighs 5 to 10 lbs.

See how to smoke a brisket flat like a pit master here.

The Brisket Point

The second subprimal cut is called the point.

The point appears more irregular, with the grain running in various directions. It also has a high layer of fat.

This cut of meat weighs anywhere between 4 to 9 lbs, depending on the size of the steer.

The point’s high-fat content makes it ideal for smoking. And the result is a perfectly smoked brisket that’s tender and flavorful.

The point is ideal for shredding or chopping, and the flat is best for carving beautiful slices.

Note that it’s pretty hard to buy the point without the flat.

But you can request your retail meat counter if they can cut the point from a packer brisket for you.

Or opt to buy a whole 20-pound brisket and divide it yourself.

How Much Meat Should You Expect From a Brisket?

The amount of meat you should expect from a brisket depends on the initial animal weight.

Raw brisket contains a high percentage of water (71% ). This water evaporates during the cooking process causing it to shrink.

As a step guide, your meat yield is around 50% of the raw brisket weight once cooked.

Thus, a packer brisket weighing 20 pounds of meat should give you 10 lbs of usable flesh.

Keep in mind that the brisket point is a useable meat fat and may result in a lower yield.

In contrast, the brisket flat is leaner and may result in a little more usable beef than expected.

How Many Briskets Are There on a Single Cow?

A steer has two forelegs.

And since we get brisket from the part above the forelegs, there are two briskets on each carcass.

Some people find this idea of a steer having two briskets and four subprimal confusing.

A cow has two briskets, with each brisket having two subprimals.

So, a single steer yields four subprimal cuts.

Other barbecue lovers may not know exactly where the brisket comes from. And maybe confuse the rear shank for the foreleg.

The cut obtained from above the rear shank is the round, while that from above the foreleg is the brisket.

And although the two cuts may be used in the same cooking applications, they’re not entirely the same.

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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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