Just shout “Brisket!” at a cookout, and everyone will come running to you with a plate in hand, ready to bite in and tear it all up.
But did you know that there are two types of brisket: the so-called flat cut and the point cut? And, when the butcher asks you which one you want, do you know what to tell them (and why)?
If you don’t, don’t fret.
As usual, we at Barbehow are here to help you find out. Oh, and if you do, then don’t give up on this article just yet. Because, boy, do we have tips and tricks for you when it comes to smoking brisket!
So let’s waste no more time on formalities and get to the meat of it: Which cut of brisket is better?
The answer depends on how you like your brisket. And how much money and time you have.
The flat cut is leaner and cheaper. Because it has less fat, it cooks fast but dries out as quickly. The point cut is fattier, with better marbling. It’s pricier and harder to find but yields a juicier smoked brisket.
We will cover the hows and whys of which cut works best for the smoker, the covered grill, and the oven. The preference is always the cook’s choice, but we like to spruce it up and explain why we like each cut for different purposes.
Our touch on the matter will then give you ideas about what works best for you. So read on!
The Two Cuts of Brisket
There are two different cuts of brisket, and each one comes with its ups and downs.
The flat cut:
The first cut is the flat cut, which gets its name from its shape. As flat as a valley, this cut of brisket is bulky and lean. It’s topped with a big fat cap and has less inner marbling on the inside.
The flat cut, as long as you trim off the fat cap on the top, is leaner. It’s generally cheaper than the point cut and more uniform in shape, which is why many a smoker opt for it. (Besides, you can find it in most every butcher shop.)
This cut, because it’s leaner, tolerates haste in smoking and can take higher cooking temperatures.
The point cut:
The second cut is the point cut, which gets its name from being pointy, almost triangular in shape. The point-cut has less fat on the top and more marbling on the meat. So it’s more succulent.
The point cut has superior marbling compared to the flat cut. Because of that, it takes a little longer to cook. However, it also dries out less and turns out nice and juicy. It’s pricier—and not every butcher shop will have it
This is the cut you want to choose if you have time to spare and want the juiciest brisket possible.
Which Cut Works Best for the Smoker?
Before we go into what works best in the smoker, let’s learn a little more valuable information about each brisket cut.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between flat-cut and point-cut brisket:
A little more about the flat cut:
It’s also known as the “first cut” or “packer’s cut” brisket. Typically, it’s wider and thinner than the point-cut brisket. It contains less fat marbling throughout the meat and, for the same reasons, it cooks faster (and dries out just as quickly).
A little more about the point cut:
It’s also known as the “second cut” or “deckle” brisket. Typically, it’s narrower and thicker than the flat-cut brisket. It’s better marbled, takes longer to cook, and comes out nice and tender when smoked.
So, which type of brisket should you cook in the smoker?
If you’re looking for a quicker cooking time and leaner, crispier meat, flat-cut brisket is the way to go. If you don’t mind a longer cooking time and prefer a beefier, juicier flavor, then point-cut brisket is your best bet.
Of course, you could always go for a full brisket, with the flat cut and the point cut intact. But these take skill to cook, so they’re not best for the first-timer or novice smoker.
There are a few things to keep in mind, regardless of which cut you choose when it comes to smoking brisket:
- Trim any excess fat from the meat before cooking. This will help prevent the fat from rendering and making the meat greasy.
- Use a good quality rub or barbecue sauce to add flavor to the meat.
- Cook the brisket low and slow for the best results.
Now that you know a little more about flat cut and point cut brisket and some tips for smoking either type of meat put your knowledge to the test by firing up the smoker and enjoying some delicious smoked brisket!
Which Cut Works Best for Roasting in the Oven?
The flat cut is taken from the lower part of the brisket, near the belly. This cut is relatively lean, with a small amount of fat marbling throughout.
The flat cut is ideal for slow-cooking methods, like smoking or roasting in the oven, as it will maintain its shape and won’t shrink too much during cooking.
The point-cut is taken from the upper part of the brisket, near the shoulder area. This cut is much fattier than the flat cut, with large streaks of fat running through it.
Both cuts should be roasted low and slow, for hours on end, to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71.1°C) for the collagen to melt and turn into gelatin. As a matter of fact, most cookbook authors tell you to pull out the meat when it reaches an internal temp of 190-200°F, or 87.7-93.3°C.
Summing It Up
In the end, there is no right or wrong way to cut a brisket. It all comes down to personal preference.
Some people prefer the flat cut because it is leaner and easier to slice. Others like the point-cut because it is more tender and has more flavor.
Whichever way you choose, just make sure you cook it low and slow for the best results. And as we like to say, if you still are unsure, eat it with your family and friends.
You will never go wrong that way because you shared the best part of yourself, your cooking!