The Perfect Cut: How to Slice Brisket

Jason Webster
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What you need before you slice

A sharp knife is the first step to a perfect cut. Make sure it is professionally sharpened because some honing steels will just make the blade look sharp but not actually cut any better.

Keep your knife clean. I would recommend using some type of gun oil on the blade. This will help the blade stay clean, and it will also help to make sure the slice is extremely thin.

Don’t use a serrated knife. You should use a regular, non-serrated blade for slicing barbecue brisket. The serrated edges could cause the meat to tear rather than slice cleanly.

A well-rested brisket

Will give you a perfect cut of meat every time.

A good way to make sure that your brisket is at its best is to take it out of the refrigerator an hour before slicing it.

This allows the brisket to be at room temperature so that you can slice it between the right muscle layers.

This is referred to as, “The Perfect Cut.”

Using a sharp knife, slice across the muscle layers to give you the perfect cut of meat for your smoker.

The most flavorful and tender part of the brisket is the point. Slicing across the grain relative to the point will allow the flavor from the brisket to taste even better.

Cutting against the grain will also make your brisket much more tender. That’s why most people choose to eat the point section of the brisket.

If you cook your brisket on low heat for a long time, the connective tissues and fat will break down to make the brisket nice and tender.

Once you’ve sliced your brisket into meal size servings, then you can put it in a large pan that’s big enough to hold the cut brisket. It also needs to have sides that are high enough to keep the juices from spilling out while it warms up.

A brisket slicing knife

A brisket is a large piece of beef. There are two muscles in the brisket. The point of brisket is the first muscle. It is commonly referred to as a flat. The second muscle is called the point. It is also known as the deckle.

In order to get perfectly sliced briskets, you need to have the right equipment. A brisket slicing knife is the most important tool.

Only a specific knife will slice a brisket perfectly. Ideally, the blade should be about 2-4 inches long and curved towards the tip. The blade should be slightly flexible. The flexibility helps you move the blade as you slice, making it easier and faster to perform the job.

The knife has to be razor sharp since it is the main tool you use to slice the meat. Many people also use extra equipment like a meat slicer. That can make your task a bit easier, but it’s still the knife that does the actual slicing.

Large butcher’s block

Brisket is a cut of beef from the breast or lower chest of a cow. Often confused with diaphragm, the brisket is the primary muscle covered by a large layer of fat.

The exact anatomical location of the brisket varies, though it typically lies between the fifth and twelfth ribs. This means that the brisket might contain one, two, or three bones. The bones or cartilage in the limps make the beef tougher. And thus, it requires slow cooking to become tender.

The bone-in cut of the brisket is often mistaken to be only one kind of meat, but in reality, there are two different cuts of meat associated with it. The first is called the flat cut, which is thinner, and full of fat and muscle. The second is the point cut, which has less of the muscle and more of the fat.

The flat cut is the more popular kind of brisket that you get in the grocery store, but the point cut, because it’s known as a flavorful cut, is more widely used in making BBQ.

How to slice a brisket: a step-by-step guide

A big juicy beef brisket is a PBB or People’s Best Brisket kind of dish. Here’s how you can cut one with confidence.

Whether you’re slicing brisket to serve your family or as part of a catering venture, you’ll need to know how to cut the big piece nicely.

The first thing you need to know is that brisket is actually divided into three different sections.

These are:

{1}. The Point, which lies towards the front of the cow and which has very little fat.
{2}. The Flat, which is towards the back of the cow and is the most common cut of brisket.
{3}. The Thick Cut, found at the edge of the cow.

Step 1: Slicing the tip off the brisket

To begin with, you will need a good, sharp utility knife. Go ahead and cut the tip off the fatty end of the brisket, but cut it at an angle to leave a minimal fat layer.

Step 2: Slicing across layers

Go right down the middle of the fatty end of the brisket.

Step 3: Separate the whole brisket into the point and the flat

This is where you separate the point and the flat.

Separate the flat from the point

A whole brisket is composed of two sections: point and flat. The flat is the larger, flatter cut that sits atop the point, which is more rounded.

In order to better understand how to slice brisket, you should first get to know your cuts. The flat is the larger and flatter cut, which is often sliced across the grain and used for sandwiches.

The point is the smaller, more rounded cut that sits atop the flat. Because of its shape, it’s usually sliced with the grain and used for serving sliced brisket at the table.

Trim excess fat (unless your brisket was perfectly trimmed before cooking)

The fat of brisket is not typically the primary flavorful substance in the cut. Its purpose is to protect muscles from the heat and to keep the meat juicy while it cooks. However, it’s tasteless when cooked and it doesn’t make an appearance in the taste.

So if you want to separate meat from fat, slice it horizontally and then cut off each slice. Brisket usually comes with a substantial amount of fat, most of which will melt away during the cooking process.

So don’t be too concerned about fat when trimming the brisket before cooking. But if you’re seeking the best tasting brisket, you should trim the fat after it’s cooked.

The reason behind this is because cooking brisket at low temperatures will make their fat liquefy. Once that occurs, the fat will stick to the meat and harden during the cooking process, thus interfering with the taste even more. So it’s better to trim your brisket first and then cook it.

Remove the tip

In butchers terms, the tip is basically the thick end of the brisket and is the area right around where the point squishes down into the flat. The flat is just that flat thick you have been dreading to cut, but don’t worry, it will start getting easier from here.

First identify the tip and the flat. Use a boning knife to slice through the fat and connective tissue on one side until you hit the point. Once you hit the point, you have found the flat. On the opposite side of both the tip and flat, you will notice that there is no connective tissue because the meat has been removed in the slaughterhouse.

Slice the flat

The flat is the lean side of a brisket that includes a fair amount of fat. Use a sharp, long knife to slice the brisket, trimming off all excess fat.

Slice the point

I have made a lot of brisket (the fatty cut of beef) barbecues and it was always hard to serve the slices nicely because the slices were not as flat as I would have liked.

It was a real treat to have the chef buddy over and taught me this beautiful trick.

Take the point end of the brisket and slice across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices. And voila!

The brisket slices look perfect each time.

And then he taught me another trick.

Bring the point end to the side, so that it is perpendicular to the grill with the fat side facing you. Then slice and serve every slice this way.

My guests were thrilled to receive the delicious slices of brisket.

Wrapping it all up

When the weekly shopping gets a bit too much for one person, you have a few options at your disposal. You can hire help, or you can work smarter, not harder.

Even if you have help and you still can’t keep up, try one of these five kitchen secret weapons. They’re simple items that can make healthy, delicious dinner preparation up to four times faster.

The next time you’re desperate for help, you’ll know where to find it.

7 Practical Cold Weather Smoking Tips

Freshly smoked meat is delicious! And it is also healthy. It doesn’t matter if you are a competitive backyard pitmaster or just a hobbyist. Smoking meat can be a bit tricky, especially when the weather is cold.

There are many reasons why cold smoking is a big challenge for an average smoker. The biggest one is the temperature. Low temperatures prohibited the production of smoke ring, deterred the formation of smoke ring and made it hard for the smoke to penetrate the meat.

But you can still smoke meat in cold weather. Here are some cold weather smoking tips from pros:

Temperature: If you live in a cold region, you may want to consider getting a cold smoker.

If not, you will need to regulate the temperature of the smoker and the environment. Start with a hot fire when you first turn on the smoker and then reduce the temperature. You want to keep it at temperatures that produce only a small amount of smoke that can’t be seen.

Humidity: Just like temperature, humidity is a crucial factor when smoking meat. Cold rainy days are a bad time to smoke meat. Brisket needs high humidity levels to properly absorb the smoke and produce a beautiful smoke ring.