You might be surprised to learn that briskets actually come in two different types of cuts. This is because brisket consists of separate muscles.
These two cuts of brisket are known as a brisket point and a brisket flat.
They’re both somewhat different from one another. From their optimal cooking methods to their texture and taste. Read further to find out more about their differences.
What is Brisket?
The brisket piece of meat consists of two muscles located at the animal’s chest — be it the cow, pig, or lamb.
This chest muscle is quite muscular because it is formed and developed by the animal supporting its weight as it walks. In a way, it functions as a collar bone or clavicles, which these animals do not have. As mentioned before, the two parts of this muscle are known as the brisket flat and the brisket point.
Brisket cuts generally provide for quite tough meat. Therefore, it’s always best to use a slow method of cooking to get the fats fully rendered — and to keep the brisket moist for the best brisket experience.
The broken-down collagen and muscle fibers of the brisket make the meat moist and tender. There are many ways to prepare a piece of brisket. For example, beef brisket is suitable for corned beef, braised beef, smoked cuts, and much more.
Briskets can keep for quite some time. A raw and fresh brisket can be saved in the fridge for around a week. And if it’s stored in the freezer, it can last for around half to a full year.
Brisket Point vs Flat – What’s the Difference
A whole brisket equates to a 14lbs packer, which can be a little intense for some. The briskets are can also be sold in two separate cuts. Once separated from the brisket point, the brisket flat forms a rectangular shape.
On the other hand, the brisket point looks like a triangle. It is a lot thicker than its brisket flat counterpart.
Let’s go through the differences between these two cuts of meat.
About the Point
If you want to know which cut of brisket is tastier, then the answer is easy. The brisket point — also known as the ‘deckle’ — is more tasty than the flat cut.
That is because the point has a higher fat content, and high fat equates to extra flavor. In this sense, the differences between the point and the flat can be comparable to those between pork cushion and pork butt.
The brisket point is excellent for smoking. However, due to its low meat content, it is often used for making delicious meat patties. This cut is overall smaller in size compared to the flat.
Some might favor this cut over a brisket flat if they’re looking for smaller portion sizes when cooking brisket. For example, it is usually suggested that the serving size for briskets is ½ pound per person.
Considering that a whole brisket flat usually weighs anywhere from six to 10 pounds, it makes sense that those who have lesser mouths to feed would choose the brisket point if they do not wish to deal with leftovers.
About the Flat
The brisket flat, which looks like a rectangular hunk of meat, forms approximately ¾ of the entire brisket. While there is some fat or marbling throughout this cut, it mainly consists of lean meat that’s thin and low in fat.
The slim layer of fat that runs through its surface area is what keeps untrimmed briskets moist — as this fat seeps into the meat while it’s being cooked.
However, some butches trim the fat layer off of the brisket flat before selling it. If you’re working with one that doesn’t have that layer of fat, the cooked brisket may end up having a tough and dry texture after it’s cooked. However, those are still great for beef brisket slices and shredded beef.
Brisket Point vs. Flat: Which is Better for Smoking?
There are several ways to cook brisket. When cooking brisket, you can place it in the oven, fry it on the stove, plop it on a grill, smoke it or let it braise in a slow-cooker.
The overall rule for briskets is to leave them to cook slowly with low or indirect heat. Hence, smoking is the most common and popular cooking method, especially for those who enjoy the smoky flavor.
Both these cuts of beef can be cooked using this method. However, there are some slight differences in how they are smoked.
For example, their cooking times vary. Depending on the size of the brisket point, it takes about 6-8 hours to cook it. On the other hand, a brisket flat varies within the 9-10 hours range.
Another difference is that many will recommend that you cut the silver skin or extra fat off the flat cut before smoking it, whereas the whole purpose of smoking the point is to leave the fat on — for that melt in your mouth texture.
Our conclusion? Both of them take quite some time to smoke, and both cuts taste delicious. Sure, some may prefer the one with less fat or more fat, but we wouldn’t say that one cut is better for smoking than the other.
How To Separate the Flat and the Point
If your butcher hasn’t already separated the flat from the point for you, then here’s how you can do it yourself, at home.
You’ll want to find the thick seam of fat that separates the two sections from one another.
Then, using a sharp knife, cut through it to separate the brisket into two cuts.
You might want to leave a little bit of the point on the brisket flat to ensure that the meat remains tender while you’re cooking it.
The Bottom Line on Brisket Point vs Flat
Both the brisket point and the brisket flat serve as great beef options for any barbeque.
If you’re cooking for a large crowd who prefers leaner meat, then the flat is the one to go with.
If you’re having a small family dinner and you all want that melt-in-your-mouth experience that’s similar to wagyu, then go for the point cut.
And if you’re lucky enough to host a large gathering where your quests appreciate fatty meat that’s full of flavor, then why not serve up a whole brisket — with both the flat and the point?
And if you’ve got leftovers, you can always save the meat to make tasty brisket sandwiches for later.
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 nature with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork)
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!
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