What Part Of The Beef Is Brisket? Meaning, Cuts, Prep & More

Are you a meat lover? Then you must have wondered what part of the beef is brisket cut from.

The brisket is cut from a cow’s chest area, including the superficial and deep pectoral muscles. It has plenty of fat and connective tissue, contributing to its rich beefy flavor.

Brisket may be sold whole, but most butchers often divide it into the point and the flat. It can be a large cut of meat, with a full brisket weighing between 10 and 14 pounds.

It is a popular choice for good barbecue. However, even the most seasoned chef might not stop thinking about this delicacy’s origins. What part of the beef is brisket, and what makes it taste so good?

In this article, I will discuss brisket, the part of beef that is called the brisket, its various sections, how to prepare your brisket, and how to store them.

What is a brisket?

It is a cut of meat from the lower chest or pectoral muscles of a cow. Because this area is so well exercised, it makes for quite a tough piece of meat full of connective tissue.

Cows do not have collarbones, the brisket muscles are responsible for supporting the animal’s body weight. Because of this, the meat of the brisket contains a great deal of connective tissue.

The word brisket is derived from the Middle English brisket, a variation of an Old Norse word meaning cartilage.

SEE: The Cuts of Beef Gotten From a Cow

What are the cuts from a brisket?

When you go to a butcher shop, they may ask you how you want your brisket cut. There are three main ways of getting your brisket. They include;

1. The full packer

The full packer is the whole brisket cut, made up of two different muscles combined, the flat and the point separated by a layer of fat. It weighs between 11 and 14 pounds.

2. The Flat

The flat is the central part of the brisket. Also known as the first cut or the deep pectoral, it lies against the ribs of a cow. Being worked the most, it is lean or low on fat content. It is used for corned beef and pastrami.

The flat cut has a long, thin rectangular appearance and is distinguished by a layer of fat known as the cap. As the fat renders, it will help to keep the meat moist and flavorful.

3. The point

The point is the lower portion that sits above the leg, it is the superficial pectoral. Also called the fat end, second, point, or triangular cut. It is typically used to make beef burnt ends.

This section is thicker and has more connective tissue and marbling in the meat. Although the point contains less flesh than the flat, the extra fat gives it an irresistible beefy flavor.

This portion of the brisket is commonly ground into meat for hamburgers. The point is the way to go if you make shredded barbecue beef sandwiches.

How to trim the fat of your brisket?

1. Get a knife

You will want a long and sharp knife for this precise trimming. If the blade is dull, you will have difficulty slicing the fat off, which will ruin its appearance. This also makes it difficult to have an even layer of fat.

SEE: Things To Never Do With Your Kitchen Knife

2. Carve the fat

Run the knife along the fat and make a decent slice. At the point meets where flat meets the fat, cut at the pointed end and carve out the fat to the area.

You will want to continue shaving down the fat cap until there is a one-quarter inch of fat left. This is to maintain a thin layer of fat between the surface and the meat.

3. Remove meat at the end of the point

A thin part of the meat rests at the opposite end of the point. Removing this thin part is a good idea because it usually turns color and isn’t ideal for cooking.

4. Remove fat on the long side

Turn the brisket over and locate a long, thick layer of fat that is basically covered by the fat cap. Take your knife and run it down the length of this layer.

Remove this layer of fat entirely because it’s tough and difficult to chew. While removing this layer, ensure that you keep the rest of the meat square. Any parts that stick out may burn when you smoke the brisket.

SEE: Where is Filet Mignon Gotten From on a Cow?

5. Flip it over

Flip the meat so the fat cap is on the bottom. Near the pointed edge, you’ll find a thick wedge of fat. Cut that wedge off and discard it.

You will find that the fat runs pretty deep in the brisket. Having a clear valley that separates the point from the flat is normal.

SEE: Is There Bone in Ribeye Steak?

How can you prepare your brisket?

Because of the large amount of tissue, you should cook brisket for a long time at low temperatures. Otherwise, the meat might come out tough and stringy.

When you cook brisket for long enough, the connective tissue in the meat converts to gelatin. The muscle fibers relax, and the fat renders, leaving you with a finished product that is juicy and tender.

Several preparation methods will bring out the best qualities. The most popular method in the United States involves rubbing the brisket with a robust blend of spices. After which slowly smoke the meat over a charcoal or wood fire.

Smoked brisket is known in many regions of the country, but it is a hallmark of the South in particular. Brisket is well-known as the national dish of Texas.

Once cooked, you can return smaller pieces to the smoker to crisp up even further. These well-smoked pieces are known as burnt ends. The burnt ends are served on bread to make an open-faced sandwich.

Other countries have their traditional methods for preparing brisket. In Britain, the meat is slowly braised and served in gravy, similar to an American pot roast.

In Germany, a similar technique is used, but beer is often used as the braising liquid. Meanwhile, it is common in many Asian cultures to slow-cook the brisket and serve it in soup or noodle dishes.

SEE: Is Eating Chicken Everyday Bad?

How long does it take to cook a brisket?

It would be best if you allowed at least an hour of cooking time per pound for smoked brisket. Allow for extra time if you prefer to marinate the meat beforehand.

Remember that the meat will lose most of its weight during the cooking process, so be cautious when cooking brisket for a large group.

SEE: Ways to Know When Your Meat Is Done


Is corned beef the same as brisket?

No, they are not. Corned beef is made from the brisket portion that has been cured, but they are not the same.

What does beef brisket taste like?

Brisket has a smoky and beefy taste to it.

How can you store brisket?

You can refrigerate it for up to 5 days and freeze it for up to a year.

Conclusion: What part of the beef is brisket?

The brisket is cut from the front of the cow below its chest. Although they used to be an uncommon cut of meat, slow cooking the meat has completely transformed it.

There are three cuts of brisket, the whole brisket, also known as the full packer, the flat cut, and the point cut. Each has a unique quality it gives to your dish.

If you enjoyed this article, you should also see how long raw beef can sit out before it goes bad.

Thank you for reading this article.