Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the breast or lower chest of the cow. It is a large, tough cut of meat that requires a long, slow cooking process to break down the connective tissue and make it tender and juicy. There are two main types of brisket: the brisket flat and the brisket point. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two cuts of meat, as well as the pros and cons of each, and provide some guidance on how long to smoke each cut.
What is Brisket Flat?
The brisket flat, also known as the “first cut” or “lean brisket,” is the larger, leaner portion of the brisket. It is a relatively uniform, rectangular cut of meat that is leaner and more evenly marbled than the point. The flat is typically sliced against the grain for serving, and — besides smoking of course — it is often used for deli-style corned beef and pastrami.
Pros of Brisket Flat:
- Leaner and more evenly marbled than the point, which means it is less likely to be greasy or fatty.
- A uniform cut of meat, making it easier to cook evenly.
- Great for slicing against the grain, which makes it perfect for deli-style corned beef and pastrami.
Cons of Brisket Flat:
- Because it is leaner and less marbled, the flat can be a bit drier and less flavorful than the point.
- Can be a bit more difficult to achieve a tender, juicy texture because it doesn’t have as much internal fat.
How long to smoke a brisket flat?
Smoking a brisket flat typically takes about 1 hour per pound at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, a 12-pound brisket flat will take around 12 hours to smoke.
What is Brisket Point?
The brisket point, also known as the “second cut” or “deckle,” is the smaller, fattier portion of the brisket. It is a more irregular, triangular-shaped cut of meat that is marbled with a significant amount of fat. The point is typically shredded for use in dishes such as barbecue sandwiches and burnt ends.
Pros of Brisket Point:
- Fattier and more marbled than the flat, which means it has a more intense flavor and is less likely to dry out during cooking.
- A great cut for shredding, which makes it perfect for dishes like barbecue sandwiches and burnt ends.
Cons of Brisket Point:
- Because it is fattier and more marbled, the point can be greasier and harder to slice evenly.
- It can also be a bit more difficult to achieve a tender, juicy texture with the point because it has a lot of internal fat that needs to be rendered out during cooking.
How long to smoke a brisket point?
Smoking a brisket point typically takes about 1.5 hours per pound at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, a 12-pound brisket point will take around 18 hours to smoke.
Both the brisket flat and the brisket point have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. The brisket flat is leaner and more evenly marbled, making it perfect for slicing against the grain for deli-style corned beef and pastrami. On the other hand, the brisket point is fattier and more marbled, making it ideal for shredding for dishes like barbecue sandwiches and burnt ends. Both cuts require a long, slow cooking process, with the flat taking around 1 hour per pound to smoke and the point taking around 1.5 hours per pound.
Ultimately, the choice between the brisket flat and the brisket point comes down to personal preference and what you plan to make with the meat. If you prefer leaner, more evenly marbled meat with a uniform texture, the flat is the better choice. If you prefer fattier, more flavorful meat with a more irregular texture, the point is what you’re looking for. Whichever cut of brisket you choose, be sure to allow plenty of time for smoking and be patient – the results will be worth it!