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Brisket Flat Temp Higher Than Point? (Here’s Why)

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What’s The Difference between a brisket flat and point? 

A brisket is made up of two separate muscles, the flat and the point, that are joined together by a thick deposit of fat, similar to how a New York strip and a ribeye are connected. 

Despite being two parts of the same cut, they cook slightly differently and have different flavors and textures.

The flat is the brisket’s leanest part. It has the most meat but far less marbling. As a result, if not well prepared, it can turn out tougher. It is larger than the point and offers a greater surface area for cooking. 

A brisket flat is perfect for serving in slices due to its even shape and lean meat.

The point is the other side of the flat. It’s smaller in size but significantly thicker in shape.

A point is less meaty than a flat, but it contains substantially more fat and connective fibers, which are responsible for its succulent and rich flavors. 

This greater fat concentration renders and breaks down while smoking, resulting in a juicy and tender result that is optimal for shredding for pulled pork.

Does the Flat Cook Faster Than the Point

A brisket flat will generally take longer to cook than a brisket point.

Remember that the flat meat is significantly leaner than the point, therefore its connective fibers take longer to render and break down. Additionally, because it has far less fat, it must be cooked at lower temperatures to avoid drying out.

Low and slow cooking

Brisket point, on the other hand, has a significantly bigger fat cap and more connective tissues. This means that you can cook a point at a higher temperature for a shorter length of time without risking drying out the meat or overcooking it.

Should the Point & Flat Be Separated Before Cooking?

Yes, it should in most cases. Although they can technically be smoked together, they are still two distinct cuts that cook at different rates, sometimes even at different temperatures. 

Smokers should try to smoke multiple meats at once that have similar fat content and cook at similar rates.

If you remove the entire brisket from the smoker after the point has reached the proper temperature, the flat may not be thoroughly smoked and become chewy, tough, or not cooked all the way through. 

What Should the Internal Temperature of a Brisket Flat Be? 

Brisket is technically safe to eat after it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees(F), however that is the baseline temperature.

The brisket flat should be removed from the smoker when it reaches between 203 degrees (F). However, because the flat is a much leaner cut, it may be helpful to pull it at a lower temperature, such as 195 to 200 degrees(F).

Brisket points share similar internal temperature guidelines. 200 degrees(F) is perfect for the point. At this temperature, the fats and fibers have been entirely cooked down and redistributed into the meat, making it excellent for shredding and preparing pulled pork.

What Temperature Do Brisket Flats Smoke At?

The flat is typically smoked at temperatures ranging from 225 to 250 degrees(F). To avoid overcooking, the ambient smoking temperature should be kept lower because the flat takes longer to cook and break down its tissues.

At 225(F), the flat will take about 90 minutes to 2 hours per pound of meat to fully smoke, not counting resting time. 

Can Brisket Be Finished at Higher Temperatures?

The short answer is yes, but smoking brisket at higher temperatures is normally not recommended.

The whole goal of smoking is to allow the meat enough time to properly break down; rushing that process can impair the taste and texture of the brisket.

However, if you’re cautious, you can effectively smoke a brisket at temperatures from 275 to 300 degrees(F). This greatly reduces cooking time, resulting in a rate of 35 to 40 minutes per pound of meat.

Some smokers will boost the smoke temperature as the brisket enters “the stall” in the hopes of either minimizing or avoiding its effects. However, for the best outcomes, it is better to simply wait it out.

When Is Brisket Flat Overcooked?

If a flat is allowed to rise internally to 210 degrees(F), the flesh loses quality and becomes tough and chewy.

As a result, you should always keep “carry-over cooking” in mind. 

This refers to retained within the thickest regions of the meat, which moves towards the centre and continues to raise the internal temperature while it rests.

This can cause a brisket to rise additional 10 degrees(F) after being removed from the smoker. As a result, even if you pull the flat at precisely 203 degrees(F), it may still overcook while resting.

To avoid this, smokers will pull the brisket when it is still 5-10 degrees below their goal temperature.

Final Thoughts

Although it is possible to smoke a fully intact brisket, it is preferable to separate the point from the flat.

Despite being from the same cut, they taste and feel like completely distinct pieces of meat. So, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Because points and flats have dramatically different levels of fats and connective tissues, they require slightly different temperatures and cooking times. 
  • Because points and flats have dramatically different levels of fats and connective tissues, they require slightly different temperatures and cooking times. 
  • Always keep “carry-over cooking” in mind since it might overcook the brisket even if it has reached the ideal internal temperature after being pulled.