Briskets are one of the most beautiful cuts of beef on the planet. They are rich and juicy and perfect for smoking.
Nevertheless, I know what you’re thinking; why on earth is there a debate about brisket flat vs. point. Aren’t they the same thing?
In short, the fat and the point are not the same cuts of brisket. There are actually some significant differences between both cuts of brisket.
However, before we get to the comparison guide, let’s discover what this magnificent cut of beef is.
What Is Brisket?
In a nutshell, brisket is a cut of beef that’s made up of muscles. The muscles are the chest of the animal.
I like to say that the brisket was designed to support the weight of the steer as it moves around.
Since steers don’t have a collar bone, the brisket serves as a makeshift collar bone.
Brisket is a tough cut of beef. So, it’s best to cook the brisket low and slow.
This allows the brisket’s fat to melt and keeps the brisket moist during the entire cooking process.
Once the brisket’s collagen and muscle fibers break down, making the meat nice and tender. There are multiple ways to cook brisket.
For example, you can smoke it in your electric smoker or roast it in the oven.
The biggest benefit of cooking brisket is that it will last for a while. You can store your cooked brisket in an airtight container for 1 week.
You can also keep your brisket in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Once you are carving brisket, you can pull it out of the fridge and reheat it until it’s hot and steamy.
What Is the Brisket Flat?
Brisket flat is well the flatter portion of the brisket. The flat is also the leaner and meatier cut of brisket.
The flat has very little marbling. However, you can still see some white streaks of intramuscular fat running through the meat.
The flat weight ranges between 5-10 pounds, and they are 1-2 inches in thickness. Brisket flats can be served sliced or shredded.
When considering how much brisket per person, it’s best to estimate 1/2 pound of brisket per person.
On average, one brisket flat should be enough to feed 6-7 people.
The brisket flat has several aliases. You may see the flat labeled as brisket center-cut, brisket nose cut, or brisket first cut.
As you can see, these names are connected to where the flat’s location on the brisket.
Nevertheless, as long as you tell the butcher or meat department worker you are looking for the flat, they will know exactly what you mean.
The flat is perfect for slicing because it’s uniformly shaped.
How To Cook Brisket Flat
The flat cut has very little fat. Therefore, you don’t have to trim the brisket.
The little fat left on the brisket’s exterior and the fat within the meat will help keep the flat cut moist as it smokes.
If you remove the remaining fat, you will end up with a dry brisket.
If the butcher has not removed the brisket’s silver skin, it needs to be removed from the flat.
The silver skin is a thin transparent muscle that has a silver sheen to it, hence the name silver skin.
Once you slice the sliver skin with a knife, you should easily be able to pull it off the flat.
Brisket is a huge cut of beef, so it needs to be cooked low and slow.
If you try to grill the flat for 10-15 minutes on your natural gas grill, you will end up with a tough, chewy cut of brisket.
The flat is usually brined to make pastrami. However, since this is a BBQ website, we will be smoking the flat.
You can even use a marinade like a wet or dry BBQ rub to season the brisket.
You can also coat the flat with a layer of mustard or Worcestershire sauce before adding your BBQ rub. Either way, the seasoning will also add a lot of flavor to the bark.
Next, preheat your smoker to a temperature between 200°F-225°F.
It may be best to use a stronger wood like hickory or mesquite to give the brisket flat a more robust flavor. However, you can still use soft woods such as oak or pecan.
Once your smoker comes to the correct temperature, add the brisket to your smoker fat side down. Cook the brisket flat for 3 hours.
Remove the brisket flat from the smoker, place it onto a sheet of foil fat side up and wrap it halfway.
Add 1/2 cup of beef broth to the brisket before sealing it in the foil completely. Wrap the flat in another piece of foil and return it to the smoker.
Increase your smoker’s temperature to 275°F and cook the flat for another 2-4 hours until it has a temperature of 185°F.
Let the brisket flat rest in a warm place for 20-30 minutes before carving it.
What Is the Brisket Point?
The brisket point is t the thick yet smaller sister of the flat. The brisket has a richer fat profile.
Therefore, the thicker sister comes with way more fat and connective tissues.
Fat is usually looked at as a bad thing. However, in the case of brisket, fat is a good thing because it makes the point much more flavorful than its counterpart.
In regard to how much brisket point per person, the rule is the same. You should estimate a half a pound of brisket point for every person.
Nevertheless, it may be best to reduce the serving size to account for the higher fat levels.
This cut of brisket is called the point because of its shape. It resembles a meat joint, but it has a honed edge that resembles a point.
The point is usually shredded instead of sliced. Shredding the point makes it less chewy.
Some people do not like the point because they believe it has a slightly undesirable consistency.
However, there are those who prefer fattier cuts of beef and love to eat the point.
How To Cook Brisket Point
Since the point is shredded, you do not need to trim the fat cap off of the brisket.
Most experts simply use salt and pepper to season the point cut, but you can also use your favorite BBQ seasoning.
Preheat your offset smoker to 225°F. Add a handful of oak, pecan, mesquite, or cherry wood to the smoker box.
Place your seasoned point onto your smoker and smoke it for 6-8 hours until it has a temperature of 165°F.
You can spritz your brisket with 1 cup of beef broth or apple cider vinegar every hour until it comes up to the required temperature.
Remove the brisket point from the smoker and wrap it with pink butcher paper.
Smoke the brisket for another 3 hours until it has a temperature of 195°F.
Remove the brisket from the peach paper, place it into an aluminum pan, and tent it with foil.
Let the brisket point rest in a warm area for 20-30 minutes before shredding it.
Brisket Flat vs. Point
The flat and the point are completely different cuts. Their differences lie in their location, size, fat content, and flavor.
A full-packer brisket is made up of two pieces of beef that are separated by a layer of dense fat.
The brisket point sits above the line of demarcation, while the flat cut sits underneath the wall of fat.
The brisket flat is much larger than the point. In addition, the flat also was in the size category because it is much more uniform in size.
This uniformity makes the flat easier to cook. The point is harder to cook because it has a thicker side and a thinner end.
The brisket point wins in the fat category. The rich marbling of the point yields a juicier end product.
In contrast, the flat is much leaner and easier to overcook.
When it comes to flavor, the point definitely wins. The rich marbling of the fat gives it a big, bold, beefy flavor.
Since the flat does not have as much fat is less flavorful. However, you can add spices to enhance its flavor.
Which Is Better: The Flat or the Point
Which brisket cut is better depends on your preference.
If you want a leaner cut of beef but still want to get your fill of brisket, it’s best to go with the flat.
However, if you want to make corned beef, the point is the better cut since the additional fat will keep the meat moist additionally, if you want a robust beefy flavor, it’s best to go with the point.
If you are a newbie to the BBQ world, it’s best to go with the point since the flat is harder to smoke.
The debate between brisket flat and brisket point is finally over.
I’ve given you all the necessary information you need to make your decision.
It’s best to sample both the point and the flat before deciding which brisket cut is better.
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I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.