Home Articles What Is Brisket? Point & Flat Explained

What Is Brisket? Point & Flat Explained

Even if you’re not a big BBQ fan, you’ve likely seen or heard of all kinds of cuts of meat. But what is brisket, and how is it so different?

Brisket is a cut of beef (or veal) from the breast or lower chest area. And since that area supports more than half of the animal’s weight, it’s made up of lots of connective tissue, making it quite tough. Therefore, the best way to prepare brisket is low and slow, so the tissue melts.

Sliced Beef Brisket on a Wooden Cutting Board

Brisket, oh brisket. The beloved star of many BBQs and Sunday dinners across the states.

Just the smell of it cooking is enough to make your mouth water.

And when you take that first melt-in-your-mouth bite, you’ll understand why it’s so popular. 

If you’ve never had the pleasure, trust me, once you try it, you’ll never look at beef the same way again.

But the question remains: what is brisket?

What Is Beef Brisket?

Let’s talk about brisket, baby!

As mentioned, this juicy cut of beef comes from the cow’s breast section. But there’s more to it than that!

Beef brisket runs from the cow’s neck down and under the ribs. And it’s made up of two parts: the point and the flat. The point (or deckle) is the thicker, fatty end with lots of marbling and large pockets of fat. In contrast, the flat is leaner and mostly meat and connective tissue.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: brisket is a tough cut of meat. But don’t let that scare you off! 

With some low and slow cooking, it transforms into a juicy, tender masterpiece. 

That could mean smoking it for hours, cooking it in the oven, or using a slow cooker.

Either way, the key is to be patient and let the collagen break down over time.

If you do that, you’ll see why it’s got such a cult following. And not just in the BBQ world!

How To Serve Brisket

Brisket is excellent in tacos, sandwiches, chili, and so much more! 

Of course, BBQ is still one of the best ways to prep it (in my humble opinion).

You’ll find all kinds of unique rubs and sauces. And there are even regional styles of brisket, like Texas and Kansas City styles.

Sliced Beef Brisket on a Platter

Cuts of Brisket

Alright, y’all, let’s talk a little more about the cuts of brisket! 

The Point

First up, we’ve got the point – aka the fatty end.

If you look at a whole piece of brisket, you’ll see it’s kind of like a doorstop, with one end thick, tapering down to the flat end.

That thick end is the point (because the cut is pointed when removed), and it’s most traditionally used for corned beef.

This bad boy has loads of marbling, making it rich, flavorful, and perfect for smoking. 

It’s the best choice for shredded beef since the fat makes it so tender.

The Flat

Next, we’ve got the flat – aka the leaner end.

It may not have as much fat as the point, but it’s still packed with flavor. And after a long spin in the oven, the connective tissue melts like butter.

And that’s actually why it’s more expensive.

But where the point will shred beautifully, the tissue in the flat means it keeps its shape.

So, use flat brisket when you want nice thick slices of meat – like in a sandwich.

What Does Beef Brisket Taste Like?

Now for the good part!

When cooked properly, beef brisket is tender, juicy, and bursting with a rich, beefy flavor. 

It’s like a symphony of savory goodness in your mouth – the kind of flavor that’ll make you want to do a little happy dance. Seriously!

That said, the taste will change greatly depending on how you cook it. Rubs, sauces, smoking, etc., all produce slightly different dishes.

But ultimately, it’s beefy and to die for!

Smoked Barbeque Beef Brisket on a Wooden Cutting Board

As for the two different cuts: point brisket is extremely rich and meaty, whereas flat is leaner and super juicy.

It’s kind of like the difference between pulled pork and pork tenderloin.

You know it’s the same meat, but there’s slight differences you can’t quite put your finger on.

Luckily, no matter which cut you choose, the key to getting that mouth-watering flavor is all in the cooking. 

Where to Buy Beef Brisket

Finding the perfect cut of brisket is key to creating a mouth-watering masterpiece.

But where can you find it?

  • Butchers – Check your local butcher or meat market. They’ll be able to give you the best piece of meat for your needs (and maybe some cooking tips, too!)
  • Online – Believe it or not, you can buy all kinds of meat online. So do a few searches and find something close. Just be sure to check the reviews!
  • Supermarkets – This might not be an absolute if you don’t live in Texas, but it’s worth a shot! Check a few different places if you have to. You might find it more around the holidays.
  • Local farms – If you’re blessed to live near a ranch, try to get it right from the source! There’s nothing better.
Smoked Beef Brisket Served on a Wooden Plate Garnished With Roasted Carrots, Rosemary and Lettuce

How to Cook Brisket

So, how do you go about cooking brisket? Well, there are a few methods to choose from, including smoking, oven roasting, and slow cooking.

Just remember to trim the fat away before you start!

How to Smoke a Brisket

Smoking is likely your go-to method if you’re a BBQ enthusiast. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Season the meat with rubs or marinades. If using a rub, be sure to wrap it in plastic and leave it on for 12-24 hours (in the fridge).
  2. Choose the right smoke pellets. I like Hickory but feel free to use a blend for something more unique.
  3. Take the meat out of the fridge. Do this about an hour before cooking so it can warm up.
  4. Set the smoker to 225°F / 107°C. Keep the lid closed for about 15 minutes.
  5. Place the brisket fat side down in the smoker. Cook for 5-6 hours, or until the internal temperature is 160°F / 70°C.
  6. Take the brisket off the heat and wrap it in butcher paper (or foil). Then place it back on the heat.
  7. Cook for 3-4 more hours. It should be 200°F / 90-95°C internally when done.
  8. Let it rest for at least an hour. Then, slice against the grain and serve.

How to Cook Brisket in The Oven

If you don’t have a smoker, your oven will make a great alternative.

Follow the above steps for trimming and seasoning. Then:

  1. Take the meat out of the fridge. Do this about an hour before cooking so it can warm up.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300°F / 150°C. Put a cooking rack in a roasting pan.
  3. Place the brisket in the middle of the pan. Cover it loosely with foil (so it’s not touching the top of the meat).
  4. Bake for 1 1/4 hours per pound, until it reaches 160°F / 70°C. A 4-pound piece should take about 5 hours.
  5. Take the foil off and continue to cook. It should need another 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  6. Let it rest for an hour. Then, slice against the grain and serve.

How to Cook Brisket in A Slow Cooker

Lastly, slow cooking is a fantastic option for those who want to set it and forget it. 

Provided you have a pit big enough, of course!

Again, follow the steps above for trimming and seasoning. Then:

  1. Take the meat out of the fridge. Do this about an hour before cooking so it can warm up.
  2. Coat the brisket in BBQ sauce and place it in the slow cooker. The added moisture will help it cook.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. A smaller, 1.5 kg / 3-pound piece should be ready after about 8 hours.
  4. Take the brisket out of the slow cooker and place it onto a baking tray. Reserve the juices and cook them in a pan if you want a sauce.
  5. Drizzle some oil over the brisket, then roast it for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. Roast at 390°F / 200°C and baste with the leftover juices/sauce.
  6. Let it rest for an hour. Then, slice against the grain and serve.

How to Store Brisket

Pop newly bought, fresh brisket in the fridge, in its original packaging, for up to a week.

Or, wrap it well in plastic and foil, and freeze it for up to six months.

What Is Brisket?

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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