When cooked right, a brisket is hard to beat. But with just one incorrect cut, the entire artistic grilling job is ruined. Knowing how to slice brisket correctly is essential.
The lower chest of the animal is used to remove the two main components that make up a full packer brisket:
The argument is that a fattier cut of meat might be more difficult to locate in supermarkets. Since slicing through such tender meat can be challenging, this portion is frequently chopped.
In most cases, the flat will be present if you purchase a pre-cut brisket. A leaner meat cut, the flat is best served sliced. Cut properly, that is. Read further to learn how to do it right.
posted May 23, 2023
A large part of enjoying the ideal smoked brisket experience is properly slicing a brisket. Brisket that is properly sliced will be tender, melt-in-your-mouth smoked meat. I’ll show you all the techniques to make you appear to be a brisket expert!
Let’s start with brisket anatomy. I mentioned in Brisket 101 that the point and the flat, two distinct, overlapping muscles that make up a full-packer brisket. Because of these muscles, slicing a brisket can be challenging due to the fact that the grain runs in two different directions. I’m here to guide you through each step, which is good news!
Just a quick reminder: rest your brisket completely before slicing. You can and should give your brisket ample time to rest after smoking it for hours and hours, even though I know it can be challenging to wait to slice. Let that piece of meat cool down before beginning the cutting process because it just came off the grill at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Materials for Slicing Brisket
Make sure you have everything you need to slice the brisket before you start. Gather all of your supplies before you begin slicing so that the brisket has plenty of time to rest. Here are my recommended materials:
- Large cutting board. To hold your brisket and provide enough room for you to slice the meat, you need a very sizable cutting board.
- Serrated knife. You want a knife that is serrated but doesn’t have any of those incredibly tiny ridge-like teeth because your brisket-slicing knife matters. You can slide through the meat with the smooth serrated edge without squishing or tearing it to pieces.
- Work gloves. I prefer to use my clean BBQ gloves when handling and slicing brisket because it can be messy work.
How to Slice Brisket
One last note before you begin the actual slicing: once you have your tools and your perfectly rested brisket, all that’s left to do is slice her open and feast like a king. Take your time to determine the direction of the grain before you begin cutting because you want to cut this brisket AGAINST THE GRAIN. You just spent a whole day smoking this brisket. Be sure you slice it correctly for the best texture.
Scroll down to the informational card below for even more information on how to slice brisket!
- Get your brisket ready to slice. You’re ready to slice when your brisket has fully rested; place it on a large cutting board with the point facing your non-dominant hand.
- Separate the point from the flat. Put your non-dominant hand on the brisket and make a tiny, circular movement to feel where a thin layer of fat divided the flat from the point. Find that fat layer, then make your first cut through it. This helps to separate the flat from the point. It’s crucial to keep these two pieces separate and cut your brisket differently because you should always cut against the grain.
- Slice the flat. Begin with the flat side of the brisket. Slice against the grain in 1/4-inch slices. To ensure that everyone receives brisket of the ideal size, try to make these slices as uniform as you can.
- Slice the point. Next, grab your point and cut it in half the other way from the first cut. Next, grab the point’s half and rotate it 90 degrees. Like you did with the flat, cut the point against the grain in 1/4-inch slices. Be sure to cut against the grain as you complete the process by slicing the other half of the point in the same manner as the first.
- Now that your brisket has been perfectly cut, it is time to serve. Arrange it neatly on your serving platter with all of the brisket fixings. Dig in and enjoy!.
I find it useful to describe to my visitors what they will receive from the various slices. I call the flat “lean” and the point “fatty. You’ll notice that this is consistent with how brisket is requested at any respectable, up to par barbecue restaurant. Although I prefer the fatty brisket, I know many people who will always choose the lean slices and adore them. Step away from the cutting board and get yourself a plate because if you followed the directions on How To Smoke a Brisket, you should have delicious, tender meat in any slice you choose. It’s finally time to eat the fruits of your labor after spending so many hours trimming, smoking, spraying, wrapping, tending the fire, and slicing!
Please read Brisket 101, How to Trim a Brisket, and How to Smoke a Brisket if you haven’t already, whether you’re a beginner, a first-time brisket smoker, or an expert pitmaster looking for a refresher course. If you’ve read every post and have made the ideal brisket, tag me on Instagram @heygrillhey or post it to my Facebook Page so I can see it!
This post was originally published in May 2015. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips.
How to Slice Brisket
- Large cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Prep the brisket for slicing. The point of your brisket should be facing your non-dominant hand (which is left for me), and place it on a large cutting board. Your nondominant hand will be used for feeling things out and moving meat while your dominant hand will be used for cutting. Obviously, if you are a lefty, this will be the opposite. I make an effort not to mix the two up because doing so could result in a knife that is slippery.
- Locate where the point and flat meet. Start by gently pressing the point of the brisket with your left hand. Your brisket should feel like meaty butter when you touch it to determine how tender it is. A thin layer of fat that separates the flat from the point can be felt if you move your left hand in a small, circular motion.
- Make the first cut. You want to make your first cut where the point descends to meet the flat. This is the point where the meat’s grain, so to speak, changes. It’s crucial to keep these two pieces separate and cut your brisket differently because you should always cut against the grain.
- Slice the flat. Draw your attention to the flat, then slice it into 1/4-inch slices (about the width of a no. 4) using long, fluid strokes. 2 pencil. It is quite easy to obtain beautifully uniform slices that all run in the same direction because the muscle of the flat runs in the same direction. Always cut against the grain, and when slicing, just make sure that each piece gets a good bit of the flavorful seasoned bark.
- Slice the point in half. Now head over to the point. I begin by cutting it in half the other way from your first cut. This cut will enable you to see the brisket’s grain as well as the “money shot” that all of your hard work and preparation have led up to. I swear, you can feel the pride and joy when you pick up this gorgeous piece of perfectly smoked meat that is dripping with juices. Savor the slicing process; it can be quite enjoyable. Don’t rush through and just slice all of that brisket up in a hurry.
- Slice the point. Turn one half of the point 90 degrees by grabbing it. Slice in 1/4-inch slices starting from the center and working your way outward. Once more, be sure to top each slice with some of the magic bark. When cutting brisket, some people will first remove the entire point from the flat before cutting the entire flat into even pieces. The bark, which is arguably the best part of the brisket and where all of the savory, smoky flavor lives, is not present on the portion of the flat that was beneath the point, which is the problem with this method. Everybody deserves a piece of bark. Dont hack off the point. Ok?.
- Serve and enjoy. Put your meat hand on the second half of the point and slice it similarly to how you did the first. Your entire brisket should now be beautifully sliced and prepared for serving. Find your best friend, give them the leftovers (or keep them for yourself), and let everyone else decide which portion of the brisket they prefer.
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How to Slice Brisket
Do you cut beef brisket with or against the grain?
You want to cut against the grain. As was already mentioned, the brisket is divided into two parts, which can make things a little challenging, but not impossible. The arrangement of muscle fibers determines the grain of any meat. When intact, the muscle fibers are strong and chewy.