Beef brisket runs from the bottom of the neck to down under the ribs. It delivers a taste sensation like no other from its crunchy bark to its melt in your mouth interior.
Despite its delicious, juicy flavors, a beef brisket does have a downside. This downside is that it can take all day to prepare which is something that people just do not have time for.
So is there a way around this?
Thankfully there is. If you do not have time to smoke the whole brisket, you can scale down by either choosing the point or the flat. How are you supposed to know which one to choose?
This in depth guide to both the brisket point and brisket flat and help you make a decision as to which process is the easiest and what one most importantly, tastes better.
What Is Brisket?
Before a conclusion is made on point vs flat, it is important to understand just what brisket is.
Beef brisket is one of the primal cuts of the steer and is located below the chuck region. Per animal, there are two briskets with one being on each foreleg.
As these muscles are used to carry increased weights it means the brisket has a lot of connective tissue that tends to be unpleasantly tough if the meat is not cooked properly.
Due to this, brisket never used to be very popular until someone discovered that a low and slow technique could be a solution.
A prolonged cooking time allows the fat to render and forces the connective tissue to break down which leads to tender and tasty results.
The whole packer brisket is made up of two separate muscles which is the point and the flat. As the brisket is very large, butchers will usually split the meat into both the point and the flat in order to more effectively move the product along.
Splitting the brisket into the point and the flat means that it is more affordable and also more lightweight so they will both cook quicker than a whole brisket.
Here is a brief description of the point and the flat.
The point is where most of the fat resides on the brisket. It is small and thick and olds visible connective tissue.
As it has a generous fat layer, the point has more flavor than the flat but there is a lot less meat left over once the fat has cooked.
As a result, the meat from the point is often ground into meat for hamburgers.
The flat is often referred to as the first cut. The muscle within this section is leaner and will lay flat once the deckle has been removed which brings it its name.
On top of the flat, there is a thick layer that is known as the cap which renders during cooking to give the flat more flavor.
The butcher usually trims down the cap before cooking but if they have not got round to doing this, then you will have to do this yourself.
Because the flat is a large rectangular shape, this often makes it useful for corned beef sandwiches as it is easy to slice. You will usually find flat beef brisket in the supermarket if you are looking within the meat case sections.
How To Separate The Flat And The Point
Begin by placing the brisket fat side on a clean work surface. In this position, the flat will be situated on top, with a visible fat layer between the flat and the point.
After locating this layer of fat, you will be able to divide the two halves more easily.
Now using a sharp butchers knife, cut down towards the fat layer. To give yourself a visual guide, you may want to make some scoring marks along the nose beforehand.
As you continue to cut, start following the nose to where it curves around underneath the flat. By this point you will need to lift the flat with your free hand and slice through the layer of fat.
When you reach the end of the point, slice completely through the thinnest portion until the two halves are fully separated.
As previously mentioned, there will be fat around the point which you will need to trim off. Once you have completed all these steps you are able to season and cook whichever half of the brisket you like.
Which Is Better For Smoking?
After understanding what both the flat and point is of a beef brisket, this then spawns the debate of which section is better for smoking.
The flat and the point when cooked properly are both delicious to eat. Understanding the differences between the two may help you decide which one you want to prepare.
If the dish you are preparing requires you to slice the brisket, then you should go with the flat option.
As previously mentioned, the rectangular shape and lean texture make it far easier to cut uniform slices compared to the point brisket. Additionally, this meat will be full of flavor and not too fatty.
On the contrary, if you would prefer to shed the meat for say an alternative beef sandwich then you should be able to successfully do this with the point.
The meat will fall apart far easier than the flat and will be tender and full of delicious beefy flavors. Do remember that the point contains more fat so there will be less meat for you to use once the brisket is done.
This brings this debate to a conclusion where unfortunately there is no real winner when it comes to the brisket point or flat.
They are both equally delicious and both serve different uses. So when it comes to a winner it will ultimately come down to personal preference.