Inviting friends over for a cookout? There is nothing is more impressive than a smoked brisket.
That nice smoky flavor with that juicy tender meat? Delicious!
However, to truly perfect preparing a cooked brisket, you need to how much it weighs first.
That’s right, it’s more than just using the fanciest wood chips and buying expensive Japanese A5 Wagyu briskets.
Determining the weight of the beef brisket that you’re working with is very important.
This is because the exact cooking time (as well as various other factors) are purely determined by the weight of the piece of meat.
Keep on reading our article to learn about:
- the average brisket weight
- how to work out a brisket’s weight after moisture loss
- how to estimate how much brisket you’ll need for your event. (so you have some leftover brisket!)
How Much Does a Brisket Weigh?
The average brisket weighs around 10 to 16 pounds But raw briskets vary in size.
Each cow has two briskets. Then each brisket has two parts — the brisket point and brisket flat. Both of these cuts of beef are pectoral muscles that make up the whole brisket.
What differentiates the flat from the point is that the flat is rectangular.
While the point is more of a triangle. The flat also has more lean meat.
But it does also have a thin layer of fat, which keeps the meat moist as the meat cooks.
Another differing factor is that the point doesn’t have as much lean meat. Instead, it has a lot more connective tissue.
Why It’s Important?
The size and weight of a raw brisket are important.
It affects the cooking time because the bigger the cut, the longer it needs to cook.
That is why you need to know how many pounds of meat you’re working with.
You can’t simply Google and use a generic time that you have found online. Not getting the time per pound right can seriously overcook or undercook your meat.
Of course, it’s also very important to use an instant-read meat thermometer to keep an eye on the internal meat temperature.
Keeping an eye on the temperature of your meat during cooking is key.
This is because you need to take it off the heat as soon as the internal temperature reaches 203℉.
Hence, the secret to the perfect brisket is to know the weight of the meat you’re smoking and to always use a meat thermometer.
A Little Background on Brisket
It is key to cook brisket low and slow. During the long cooking process the collagen, connective tissue, and muscle fibers all break down.
This leaves brisket juicy and moist.
Another important way to keep the finished brisket moist is to let the brisket rest once it’s off the heat.
Wrapping the brisket in aluminum foil or simply making a basic tent with aluminum foil will help trap in some of that heat and moisture.
Say ‘hello’ to irresistible juicy brisket for everyone to enjoy!
(No, you don’t need to fork out lots of money on Japanese Wagyu briskets or some other high-grade brisket to enjoy the best!
You can purchase an affordable brisket cut and make it delicious, just by cooking it right on your charcoal smoker.)
There are many ways to prepare a piece of brisket.
For example, beef brisket is suitable for corned beef brisket smoker, braised beef, smoked cuts, and much more.
How Much Does a Brisket Weigh on Average?
The average brisket weighs around 10 to 16 pounds.
But like we’ve mentioned earlier, it all depends on the specific piece of meat that you’re working with. However, we’ll try to break it down for you.
Whole Packer Brisket
A brisket typically weighs between 10 to 16 pounds. A whole brisket is also known as a packer cut brisket.
Some briskets can weigh up to 20 pounds. But that’s the not typical weight of a whole brisket. Just like how a 10-12 pound whole brisket is regarded as quite a small cut.
A normal-sized brisket would usually be somewhere between a 10-pound brisket and a 16-pound brisket.
These can be referred to at local butcher shops as ‘a whole packer’ or ‘packer brisket’.
However, it’s perfectly normal to have never heard this phrase if you’re not a Central Texas-style butcher.
This simply means that the flat and point are both included in the cut that they wrap up in peach butcher paper.
This just provides you with the option to store it as a whole brisket at home or separate it yourself.
Buying it whole gives you more control and customization over what you’d like to do with the meat.
Point Cut of Brisket
The point is overall smaller in size. And its average weight is usually somewhere between 5 to 7 pounds.
If you’re wondering which cut of brisket is the best, the answer is simple.
When opposed to the flat cut, the brisket point or tip, commonly called the ‘deckle,’ is more flavorful.
This is because of the point’s larger fat content, which correlates to more flavor.
The differences between the point and the flat can be compared to the differences between pork cushion and pork butt in this regard.
Flat Part of Brisket
Since this is a larger cut compared to the point, a flat usually weighs around 6 to 10 pounds. (Totally depends on whether it still has its fat layer or not.)
The brisket flat, which resembles a rectangular slab of beef, accounts for about 75% of the total brisket.
While this cut contains some fat or marbling, it is primarily composed of lean meat that is thin and low in fat.
Untrimmed briskets are kept moist by a thin layer of fat that runs through their surface area, which seeps into the meat as it cooks.
With that being said, some butchers trim the layer of fat off the flat before selling it to customers.
If you’re working with one that has been trimmed, then it may end up with a dry and tough texture once fully cooked.
That is why you should always buy an untrimmed brisket.
Does Brisket Shrink During the Cooking Process?
One rule that always applies to any cut of meat, is that the uncooked brisket will inevitably shrink during the cooking process.
It’s important to note that raw Angus beef consists of approximately 70% water. And moisture evaporates as the brisket cooks.
That is why the meat will shrink and end up weighing less by the end of the cook.
A general rule is that you’ll be left with a brisket that will be about 67% of its original size.
For example, let’s say you’ve purchased a 12-pound brisket.
That means after you’re done smoking it, it’ll probably weigh around 8 pounds.
And if you bought a 15-pound brisket, then you’ll only be left with a final product that weighs 10 pounds.
How Much Brisket to Serve per Person
We’ve found that it’s a smart idea to allocate about half a pound of raw brisket per person.
Of course, some people eat more or less. So, you might have to tweak this rule a little. Of course, adults tend to eat more than children.
Hence, you should take that into account. Maybe allocate kids with ⅓ pound of meat when you’re shopping for raw brisket.
Other than that, you should also take into account what else you’ll be serving, or what others are bringing to the table.
Perhaps, people won’t only be eating brisket at the event. In that case, you’d be looking at lowering the meat per person ratio.
This especially applies if the side dishes are heavy on carbohydrates.
Here’s a helpful recipe guide of what you could serve alongside brisket:
Remember to always work out exactly how much meat you’ll need before you cook up a smoked brisket.
And, of course, if you’re a fan of leftover briskets, then make sure you buy more than you need!
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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