Beef has to be one of the most popular types of meat that you can find out there. There just isn’t anything that compares to a nicely cooked, beautifully sliced, plate of beef.
Whilst everyone has their favorite meat out there, whether it is chicken, pork, mutton, goat, or even more exotic meat such as reptile or emu meat, nothing will ever quite match up to the supreme meat king of a barbecue.
Certainly, nothing seems to be gone quicker from the grill than the beef, that’s for sure!
However, what many people often seem to forget is that beef comes in many forms, each one having its own best method of preparation behind them.
Whatever cooking style you prefer, there’s probably a cut or type of beef out there that is perfect for you. It’s probably what has made beef so popular in the first place.
You can cook steak in a pan, roast it in the oven, steam it (if you know what you’re doing!), and, of course, there is the fabled steak on the grill.
Probably the best steak for this last cooking method is beef brisket. But it takes a decent amount of skill to get it just right.
From regulating moisture inside to making sure that it is thoroughly cooked, there’s plenty to keep track of.
And then, of course, there’s how exactly you need to slice the beef, which is its headache to have to deal with!
Fortunately, that last point is a headache that we can help with! In this article, we are going to explain what exactly beef brisket is, and how it compares to other cuts of beef for cooking.
And, of course, we are going to explain how you can cut your beef brisket for yourself, in just 5 easy-to-follow steps.
What Is Beef Brisket?
Before we start discussing how exactly to slice brisket for yourself, we should probably explain what exactly beef brisket is in the first place.
After all, outside of grill fans and those with knowledge of butcher terms and experience, many people don’t know what distinguishes a brisket from a sirloin.
The Different Cuts Of Meat
Although all meat that comes from some type of cow is considered beef, the beef can come in varying qualities and textures.
This variety doesn’t exist between different cow’s meat quality, but even just the location that the beef originally came from.
The variation can be so noticeable that, over time, butchers that were slaughtering the cows eventually began to classify these different cuts by different terms.
How these cuts are distinguished can be somewhat difficult for non-experts, and different countries have their different terms for each area of a cow, as well as distinguishing where one cut ends and another one begins.
Generally speaking, however, the area around the bottom forequarter is what is known as brisket, in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
What Separates Brisket From Other Cuts?
So, what exactly is it that makes brisket so different from a different cut of beef, such as rib or sirloin steak?
Well, generally speaking, a cow that was well cared for when it was alive will end up exercising the muscles across its legs and lower quarters much more than those other areas higher on the cow, meaning that the muscles that become cuts such as flanks and brisket tend to be more exercised.
Because of this greater use and denser muscle in life, the meat that eventually comes from it tends t be quite tough, especially when compared to cuts of meat that come from less exercised parts of the cow, such as from the loin cuts from the hindquarters that are less exercised.
Not only that but because cows lack a collar bone in the same way that humans do, much of the structure around the chest and front quarters that you’ll find is held together by tough muscles and other connective tissues, such as collagen.
This means that it is generally much chewier than other types of meat, and contains noticeably less fat than other cuts.
This means that thanks to the toughness of the meat, this is not a type of meat that is ideal for roasting or cooking in a pan.
How Is Beef Brisket Best Cooked?
So, if brisket is not ideal for most types of cooking, what cooking method is best for it? After all, we said at the beginning of this article that brisket is perfect for cooking on a grill. So what does that mean?
Well, the key to making delicious brisket beef, is to give it time to cook properly.
To make brisket as soft as other beef cuts when cooked, the chef or whoever is cooking it needs to make sure that the connective tissues and the little fat it has that you often find in it have broken down so that the meat can start to tenderize.
This means that the ideal methods for cooking beef brisket are slow cooking techniques.
This will allow your meat to cook thoroughly and softly, whilst also giving it plenty of time to absorb any marinade you have prepared it in.
It will also give your brisket that classic charred black outside, but juicy pinkish-red inside that many brisket lovers like.
Because of how long it can often take to cut brisket, it is often cooked as a large slab of meat that has come straight from the store or the butcher and is cooked as a single large piece.
However, whilst this does allow you to cook a large amount of meat in a single sitting, it does also mean that, once the cooking process has finished, it’s going to be a challenge to slice correctly.
This brings us to our next section:
What You’ll Need To Slice Beef Brisket
Whilst you aren’t going to need many supplies to slice brisket properly, you’re going to need some quality equipment to get the job done.
These are the basic tools that you’ll need to cut your brisket:
- You’ll need your cooked brisket that is ready to be cut.
- A large slicing knife that has already been well-sharpened beforehand.
- A large butcher’s chopping board that can fit your brisket on top.
How To Slice Your Beef Brisket?
Now, we have gotten to the best part of this guide: Cutting your meat!
Make sure that your beef brisket is well rested before cutting, whilst it has also been wrapped in foil. This will make sure that you do not lose any juices from the slicing of the meat.
Brisket, and beef as a whole, is about 75% water, which means that it tends to shrink as it cooks.
If your beef cooks too quickly, you will find that your beef either loses a lot of that moist softness that people love, or you make the outside incredibly tough, whilst the inside remains virtually raw.
As the brisket is still cooking once it is off the heat, you need to give it at least an extra 40 minutes.
Finding The Gain And Separating The Flat
To get the right texture to your sliced beef, you need to find where the grain is so you can slice long it, creating the best texture when it is eaten.
This might sound easy, but your brisket will have two different points where the grain changes. So, it is best to find this point and cut it in two. You can also chop off any excess fat.
Get Rid Of The tip
This part will probably be overcooked, so get rid of it.
Slice Your Beef’s Flat
Now you can start to cut up your brisket flat. Make sure your cuts are smooth, and the slices are about a pencil’s width thick.
Slice Your Point
Finally, you can start to slice your point along its grain. If you are worried about ending up with tiny slices, cut it in half-length ways first before slicing.
If you have followed this guide, you will now have a beautifully cut pile of beef brisket to share at any occasion, whether that’s a party or for the family.