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How To Cut and Slice a Brisket

How To Cut and Slice a Brisket

Slicing a brisket is an integral part of the smoking experience. As we all know, brisket is one of the best meats to smoke. When cooked to perfection, a brisket is undeniably delicious.

But one wrong move and your beautifully smoked brisked will be ruined. 

On the other hand, knowing how to slice a brisket the right way will yield tender, succulent meat.

The Anatomy of Brisket

A full packer brisket is carved from the lower chest region of the animal. 

This cut of beef consists of two different muscles that overlap, known as the point and flat.

The point has a higher fat contact and is more difficult to find at your local grocery store. In contrast, the flat is what you will receive if you purchase a pre-cut brisket.

The point and the flat can make cutting a brisket difficult because the grain of both muscles runs in different directions.

For this reason, the point is usually chopped because the meat is o tender it is difficult to slice through. Since the flat is leaner than the point, it is generally served sliced.

Gather Your Materials

Whether you are slicing a brisket or cooking a tomahawk steak gathering your materials is an essential part of the process.

Luckily you only need a few materials to successfully slice a brisket.

To slice your brisket, you will need a cutting board, towel, knife, and a serving dish.

Brisket Knife

When it comes to slicing brisket, knives matter. Brisket slicing knives should be long and sharp. A serrated knife is a go-to brisket slicing knife.

However, do not purchase a serrated edge knife with tiny ridged teeth. Aim for a smooth serrated knife.

A serrated knife glides through the meat without smashing or ripping it into shreds. In addition to this, it is long enough to cover the length of the brisket.

Ultimately you should purchase a smooth serrated knife that is at least 14-inches in length. It should also be sharp and give you a comfortable grip.

The only drawback of using a serrated knife to slice a brisket is that it will be hard to sharpen the blade since it has a serrated edge rather than a flat edge.

How To Cut and Slice Brisket

Cooking a brisket is only the war. Knowing how to slice a brisket is the real battle.

Let the Brisket Rest

It doesn’t matter if you are cooking ribs or a steak; let the meat rest. 

Once your brisket is within the 195-205 degree range, remove it from the grill and let it rest for at least one hour.

You can even allow your brisket to rest for up to 3 hours.

If you slice your brisket as soon as it comes out of the smoker, all of its delicious juices will be lost.

On the other hand, if you allow the brisket to rest, the juices will be redistributed into the meat and will not end up on your cutting board.

Locate the Grain

One of the most important factors when it comes to slicing meat is the grain. The direction of your cut should always be against the grain.

Even though it can be quite the task because the grain of a packer brisket runs in two different directions, slicing brisket is relatively easy.

The grain is simply the order of the meat’s muscle fibers. If you fail to cut a brisket against the grain, the muscle fibers will have a certain degree of toughness and chewiness.

Cutting against the grain divides the muscle fibers evenly, giving you a tender slice of meat.

To find the grain of a full packer brisket, slice a corner portion of the brisket while it is raw.

Hot Tip
It is easier to see the grain of the brisket while it is raw. You can use this edge to help you locate the grain of the meat once it is cooked.

Be Firm but Gentle

If you did not remove excess fat from your brisket before smoking it, now is the time to trim the fat.

Beginning with the flat portion of the brisket, slice it against the grain at a 90-degree angle.

As you get closer to the brisket’s, you will notice two different layers of muscle. You have reached the point portion of the meat, and it is time to stop cutting.

The course of the grain has shifted, so you will need to rotate the brisket 90 degrees to cut it against the grain.

Cut your brisket into slices just under 1 1/2 inches.

Hot Tip
You do not want to slice the brisket like you were slicing a block of cheese. Gently cut your brisket as though you were cutting a delicate loaf of bread with soft but firm movements.

Remove the Burnt Ends

Referred to as meat candy, burnt ends are too small to slice. However, why should you let these delicious nuggets go to waste?

Burnt ends are usually the first and last cuts.

Even though these pieces are harder to slice against the grain, they are still tender and delicious.

Simply cut them into chunks and serve them alongside the brisket slices.

Brisket Backup Plan

Slicing a brisket is not rocket science. Sometimes it is as easy as cutting a cake or a loaf of bread. But other times, slicing brisket does not go as planned.

Therefore, it is always an excellent idea to have a backup plan.

You can roughly chop the point if you prefer to carve the flat and reserve the point for other uses.

Although it sounds strange, chopped brisket is a common occurrence in the BBQ world. Chopped brisket is perfect for tacos, pot pies, chili, and sandwiches.

Even though you are chopping the brisket, you should still cut it against the grain to prevent the meat from becoming chewy.

Yes, the meat may fall apart a lot. However, you want your brisket to have a consistent texture. Cut the brisket at a 90-degree angle against the grain.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are reheating brisket or slicing a freshly smoked brisket, it is essential to know how to slice brisket. Slicing a brisket is just as important as knowing how to cut it.