how do you cut beef brisket

The most important step in slicing cooked brisket is to cut thinly across the grain. Meat is made up of long muscle fibers, and the grain of the meat is how these fibers align. For tender brisket you’ll need to slice across the fibers; if you slice with the grain you’ll have stringy, chewy meat.

When cooked right, a brisket is hard to beat. But one wrong cut and all the masterful work on the grill is ruined. Knowing how to slice brisket correctly is essential.

A complete full packer brisket is taken from the lower chest of the animal and made of two main parts:

The point is a fattier cut of meat that might be harder to find in supermarkets. This portion is often chopped since it can be difficult to slice through meat so tender.

The flat is usually what you’ll find if you’re getting a pre-cut brisket. The flat is a leaner cut of meat and best served sliced. Cut properly, that is. Read further to learn how to do it right.

Fat Content of Brisket

A good brisket cut has visible marbling. That’s where most of the juice and flavor will come from. But it also helps to leave roughly one-quarter inch of fat on the outside before you cook your brisket to ensure a good level of juiciness and flavor. Trim excess fat with a sharp slicing knife or boning knife. Ideally, trim while the brisket is still cold, and the fat is more solid and easier to cut through.

The key task we want to go over is cutting the meat after your brisket is cooked. Thankfully it’s not rocket science. With these tips in mind, you’ll learn how to cut a brisket like the best of ‘em.

  • A cutting board large enough for your brisket
  • A good brisket knife (long and serrated is best)
  • To let your cooked brisket rest before you do anything else

How to Slice Brisket

You’ve got your tools, you’ve got your perfectly rested brisket, and now all that’s left is slicing her open and feasting like a king! Now, one last note before you get to the actual slicing. You want to slice this brisket AGAINST THE GRAIN, so take your time to find the direction of the grain before you start cutting. You just spent a whole day smoking this brisket. Be sure you slice it correctly for the best texture.

For even more detail on how to slice brisket, scroll to the informational card below!

  • Get your brisket ready to slice. Once your brisket has been fully rested, you’re ready to slice! Set your brisket on a large cutting board with the point toward your non-dominant hand.
  • Separate the point from the flat. Place your non-dominant hand on the brisket and move your hand in a small, circular motion to feel where a small layer of fat separated the flat from the point. Locate that layer of fat and then make your first cut. This helps to separate the flat from the point. Since you always want to be slicing against the grain of your brisket, is important to have these two pieces separate and sliced differently.
  • Slice the flat. Begin with the flat side of the brisket. Slice against the grain in 1/4-inch slices. Try to make these slices as uniform as possible so everyone gets the perfect size of brisket.
  • Slice the point. Next, grab your point and slice it in half in the opposite direction of your initial cut. Next, grab half of the point and turn it 90 degrees. Slice the point against the grain in 1/4 inch slices just like you did with the flat. Finish by slicing the other half of the point the same way as the first half (be sure to slice against the grain!).
  • Serve! Now that you’ve perfectly sliced your brisket, arrange it neatly on your serving platter with all your brisket fixings. Dig in and enjoy!

I find it helpful to explain to my guests what they are getting with the different slices. I call the flat “lean” and the point “fatty.” You will find this is consistent with how you are asked to order brisket at any reputable BBQ joint that is up to snuff. I like to eat the fatty brisket, myself, but I know plenty of people who will choose the lean slices every time and love them. If you followed the instructions on How To Smoke a Brisket, you should have delicious, tender meat no matter what slice you choose! Now step away from the cutting board and get yourself a plate. After all of the hours of trimming, smoking, spraying, wrapping, fire tending, and slicing, it is finally time to enjoy the meats of your labor!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my posts all about the beautiful brisket! Whether you are a beginner, a first-time brisket smoker, or an experienced pitmaster that wants a refresher course, make sure you read Brisket 101, How to Trim a Brisket, and How to Smoke a Brisket. If you’ve read all of the posts and have cooked up the perfect brisket, I would LOVE to see it! Tag me on Instagram @heygrillhey, or post it on my Facebook Page!

This post was originally published in May 2015. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips.

how do you cut beef brisket

Step 3: Find the Grain

Above all else, the important thing is the direction of your cut. You want to cut against the grain. As mentioned above, the brisket has two parts which can make this a little tricky, but nothing you cant tackle.

The grain of any meat is the alignment of muscle fibers. When intact, the muscle fibers are strong and chewy. If you don’t cut against the grain, the muscle fibers will remain somewhat intact and very difficult to chew. When you cut against the grain, you break up the muscle fibers evenly so that the meat becomes much more tender in every slice.

Before cooking, we recommend cutting a corner of the flat as it is easier to see the grain when the meat is uncooked. Use that corner to help you find the direction when the brisket is done and ready to be sliced.

The most important step in slicing cooked brisket is to cut thinly across the grain. Meat is made up of long muscle fibers, and the grain of the meat is how these fibers align. For tender brisket you’ll need to slice across the fibers; if you slice with the grain you’ll have stringy, chewy meat.


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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