how do you cut a beef brisket

You want to cut against the grain (or across) at a 90-degree angle starting with the flat. Once you start to get to the middle of the meat, you’ll start to see two layers of muscle (see image above) – this is the point cut of the meat. Stop cutting. The direction of the grain has changed.

posted May 23, 2023

Slicing a brisket is a huge part of having the perfect smoked brisket experience. Knowing how to slice a brisket correctly will give you tender, melt-in-your-mouth, smoked meat. I’ll teach you all the tips and tricks to make you look like a brisket pro!

Let’s start with brisket anatomy. In Brisket 101, I mentioned that a full-packer brisket is made up of two different, overlapping muscles that we call the point and the flat. These muscles make slicing a brisket a little bit tricky because the grain runs in two different directions. The good news is, I’m here to walk you through each step!

Quick reminder! Be sure to fully rest your brisket before slicing. After hours and hours of smoking that brisket, I know it can be difficult to wait to slice, but trust me! You can and should give your brisket ample time to rest. It’s coming off the grill at around 200 degrees F, so let that hunk of meat cool down before diving into the cutting process.

Materials for Slicing Brisket

Before you begin, be sure you have everything you’ll need to slice the brisket. The brisket will have plenty of time to rest, so snag all your materials before you get to the slicing. Here are my recommended materials:

  • Large cutting board. You need a very large cutting board to hold your brisket and give you enough space to slice the meat.
  • Serrated knife. Your brisket-slicing knife matters! You want a knife that is serrated but doesn’t have any of those super small ridge-like teeth. The smooth serrated edge allows you to slide through the meat without squishing it or tearing it to shreds.
  • Work gloves. Slicing brisket can be messy work, so I like to use my clean BBQ gloves when handling and slicing brisket.

Community Q&ASearch

  • Question How do I carve cooked brisket? Community Answer Thinly, like half the width of your pinkie fingernail, and perpendicular to the grain, or itll be tough.
  • Question What liquids should I put in with a brisket? Community Answer All kinds of stuff. Worcestershire sauce. Guinness beer. A bottle of Bordeaux wine (think in the $10 range). No water, though — the brisket will make all the liquid it needs.
  • Question What part of the brisket is used for burnt ends? Community Answer If you want to make burnt ends, use the pointed end of the brisket (also known as the deckle). This particular part of the brisket comes from the cows pectoral muscle.

You want to cut against the grain (or across) at a 90-degree angle starting with the flat. Once you start to get to the middle of the meat, you’ll start to see two layers of muscle (see image above) – this is the point cut of the meat. Stop cutting. The direction of the grain has changed.

FAQ

How do you know the grain of a brisket?

There is no difference in the direction of the grain across various cuts of meat. To find the grain on any piece of meat, look for somewhat uniform, long muscle fibers running down and through an entire piece of meat. The muscle fibers run parallel to one another.

Should brisket be sliced or shredded?

Thinly sliced brisket is tender and delicious and you can eat it with a fork. Chopped brisket takes advantage of the less dense texture of the brisket and makes for delicious sandwiches. Rather than chop the point, you can also shred this part and make awesome shredded brisket.

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