Briskets are delicious and juicy meat chunks that no steakhouse forgets to put on their menus.
They have a deep ebony color, tender insides, and crunchy crusts when cooked properly. A smoked, roasted or braised brisket goes perfectly with apple slaw raisins, and admirers don’t mind waiting for it to get ready. But cooking and enjoying this piece of meat is only one side of the coin. You need to know the right way to cut briskets to enjoy it.
We would be examining the golden rules to follow, the things you need as well as the dos and don’ts when cutting a brisket based on its anatomy and cooking type. Let’s dive right into it.
What You Need to Cut Brisket
You will need some kitchen tools to get the right width and depth when cutting. The required tools are;
- A sharp fork or knife
- Two or three towels
- A serving platter
- A meat cutting board
A sharp knife is a must-have for this process. There is no other way to cut through thick meat than to use the sharpest knife you can lay your hands on. However, you are not restricted to short conventional knives only. A serrated butcher knife will work just fine and make the cutting process effortless. Don’t use knives that have ridge-like teeth. They will stress your forearms’ muscles when slicing.
For a completely effortless process, you can also use an electric knife. They are usually pointed and would glide through the brisket easily. The only drawback is that the noise they produce could be unbearable. Many BBQ lovers use their hands to support the brisket while they cut it, but you could use a fork. Ensure that the fork you choose is sharp.
Cutting boards are very easy to forget when picking a list of the equipment you need to cut a brisket. Don’t go for a smooth board. They would make it difficult to grip the slippery brisket.
How to Cut Brisket: Step-by-step Guide
Step 1: Prepare your tools and cutting area
Ensure that your knives are sharp and the cutting board is clean. You can only get a good cut when all you need is available. Put the cutting board on a dampened paper towel.
This would prevent it from moving around while you are slicing or cutting. Boards with gully are the most preferable for fat, grease or juices to fall off from.
In preparing the cutting area, remove all other kitchen utensils close to the cutting board. If the brisket has a lot of fat in it, consider putting a drip tray at the sides to collect it.
Step 2: Rest the smoked or cooked brisket for a while
The juices from a brisket make it a tasty and delicious meat cut. After cooking for several hours, you would expect that the brisket would become tender and full of juices. But that’s the problem.
If you cut a brisket right from the oven, most of the juices would come out. So, to keep them in the meat, allow the brisket to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. If it was smoked, you could leave it in the wrapper during this period.
Cutting medium-sized pieces of meat become easier this way. However, if you intend to get thin slices, leave the brisket till the next day before you cut it.
Step 3: Place the brisket on the cutting board
Gently place the brisket on the cutting board. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be larger than your board. You can feel how tender it is if you place your hand gently on the brisket. Move them in a circular motion over its surface to get a feel of its surface.
Step 4: Examine the brisket
To get a perfect brisket cut, you need to examine it properly and understand its anatomy. There are two muscles in a brisket: the point and the flat. A thick seam of fat separates these layers, and a cap lies on the top of the brisket. The point is marbled and contains more fat than the flat.
The muscles on the brisket make slicing very tricky, so you have to be precise when cutting. If you intend to shred your piece of meat, then go for a predominantly point brisket. Otherwise, a flat cut brisket would be ideal for slicing. You can easily tell where the point and flat parts end when you feel the brisket with your support hand. But, don’t apply a lot of pressure, so the juices don’t come out.
The next thing to look at is the redness, thickness, and moisture of the brisket. It is easy to cut through a thick red brisket as extremely sharp knives are not required then.
Examining the brisket will guide you on the next action to take like getting a sharper knife or cutting only one part of the brisket.
Step 5: Remove the fat if you don’t want it
Many BBQ lovers like to cook the brisket with the fat because it makes the brisket flavorful and delicious. But not everyone likes it. If you are one of such people, then you can easily get rid of it.
There are usually two layers of fat at the side and one at the bottom. Using your long serrated knife, cut the layers off. You have got to be careful to not take a lot of the brisket along with the fat. Leave the underside’s fat until you are done cutting the entire brisket.
Step 6: Cut the brisket into two
Divide the brisket into two before you get down to business and get several cuts from it. You should always cut along the grain so, your knife should be placed perpendicular to the meat’s grain. The grain is the pattern that the muscle’s strands run along the meat. And it moves in different directions on the point and flat cut. The line dividing the two parts is where you should cut the brisket into two halves.
Step 7: Cut the flat part into pieces
Divide the brisket into two before you get down to business and get several cuts from it. You should always cut along the grain so, your knife should be placed perpendicular to the meat’s grain. The grain is the pattern that the muscle’s strands run along the meat. And it moStart with the flat part, now that you have two halves of the brisket. Use short and smooth strokes to cut it with one hand, and the other as support. The muscles on the flat part move in the same direction, so it is easy to get uniform cuts. Aim for pieces that are about the width of a pencil. However, you can reduce the width of each piece if the brisket is tough. Make sure that each piece has the crunchy seasoned bark.ves in different directions on the point and flat cut. The line dividing the two parts is where you should cut the brisket into two halves.
Step 8: Cut the point part into pieces
Switch over to the point half when you are done cutting the flat one. The grains on this half should run at almost 90 degrees to that of the flat part. As in the flat part, use short, smooth strokes. Since it has more fat in it, you would need to make a deep cut for each piece. Try not to hold the point part tightly, so the juices don’t runoff. Make sure that each piece has a bark.
Step 9: Use the serving platter to transfer the pieces
Switch over to the point half when you are done cutting the flat one. The grains on this half should run at almost 90 degrees to that of the flat part. AsIf you have a small cutting board, you would need to transfer the cut pieces before you finish cutting. Use your splatter to put them in a plate. in the flat part, use short, smooth strokes. Since it has more fat in it, you would need to make a deep cut for each piece. Try not to hold the point part tightly, so the juices don’t runoff. Make sure that each piece has a bark.
There are so many ways to ruin a good brisket from the time you buy to when you serve it. Smoking, braising or cooking a brisket should be the most difficult part, but you could make a mess if you don’t know how to cut it. There are many other ways to slice and cut a brisket, but the steps we have outlined above are the most reliable to get the job done properly.
One thing you should never forget is to cut against the grains. Do not cut parallel to them even when the running of the grains changes. When you cut against the grain, you shorten the fibers which make the brisket easier to chew. Another thing to keep in mind is always to use a sharp knife when cutting. It makes things easier and reduces the effort needed to cut a brisket.
If you follow all the steps mentioned above, cutting cooked or smoked briskets should be fun, easy, and quick for you. Enjoy your brisket!