Many people are unaware that a whole basket (also known as “packer-brisket”) is made up of two cuts: the point and the flat.
They are two different muscles joined by a thick layer of fat. It’s comparable to how filet mignon and New York strip are connected.
While flats and points are both brisket sections, they have distinct flavor profiles, textures, and even cooking methods.
This page discusses the distinctions between brisket flat and brisket point, as well as how to prepare both together.
Differences Between Flat & Point
Of the brisket, the flat is the leanest section. While there is far less marbling, it contains the most meat. It might thus be more challenging to smoke if you are not well prepared.
It has a large, flat surface area, and is larger than the point.
A flat brisket is perfect for serving in slices because of its consistent shape and lean meat. It tends to be a little tougher than brisket, but still savory and delicious.
The point is substantially thicker in form but smaller in overall size.
In spite of having less meat than a flat, a point has far more fatty and connective fibers, which are what give it its juicy and rich flavorful qualities.
As the meat smokes, the fat renders and breaks down, producing a moist, soft product perfect for shredding and making pulled pork.
Should They Be Separated Before Smoking?
It ought to in most cases. They are still two distinct cuts that cook at various rates and, in certain circumstances, at various temperatures. But with that said, they can still be smoked together.
Smokers should attempt to smoke various meats that have comparable fat contents and cook at comparable rates at the same time.
The connective tissues of flat meat take longer to render and breakdown because it is much leaner than point meat. Additionally, it has to be cooked at lower temperatures to prevent drying out because the lack of these fatty tissues.
Contrarily, the brisket point contains far more connective and fatty fibres. So basically, this means you can smoke a point more quickly and at a higher temperature without as much concern about the meat being dry or overcooked.
How Do You Probe Packer Brisket?
Place the probe into the thickest part of the flat while smoking packer brisket.
Because the point is the thickest area of the brisket, it appears to be the best place to probe. However, the point has a lot of fatty tissues, which can reduce the accuracy of temperature readings.
The flat, on the other hand, contains predominantly lean meat, which will give you far more dependable readings.
When temping brisket, always insert the probe at an angle, never straight in, and always go along the grain, not against it.
Always probe through the sides of the brisket rather than going directly through the top.
When Should Brisket Flat Be Pulled?
While this is merely the bedrock temperature, brisket is considered safe to eat once it achieves an internal temperature of 145 degrees(F).
Remove brisket flat from the smoker when it reaches 203 degrees(F). However, flat is a much leaner cut, so pulling it at a lower temperature, like 195 to 200 degrees(F), may be preferred.
For brisket points, internal temperature criteria are fairly similar. The optimal temperature for the point is 200 degrees(F). At this temperature, the fats and fibers have entirely cooked down and been re-incorporated into the meat.
This makes it irresistibly rich and melty, perfect for shredding and making pulled pork.
How To Tell If Brisket Flat Is Overcooked
A flat loses flavor and turns rough and chewy if the internal temperature is allowed to climb to 210 degrees(F) or higher.
You should always keep “carry-over cooking” when pulling brisket.
This refers to moisture that is held in the meat’s thickest areas, which flows toward the centre, and raises the meat’s internal temperature as it rests.
After being taken out of the smoker, a brisket may rise by an extra 10 degrees(F) as a result of this. The flat could potentially overcook while resting if you pull it at precisely 203 degrees(F).
Some people will pull their brisket while it is still 5–10 degrees below their target temperature to prevent this.
If you like a finished product that tastes and feels more like a roast, with more rustic flare than a traditional brisket, the flat is the way to go. A flat has a very distinct texture and is frequently served in slices.
If you want to smoke brisket that is juicy, lush, and packed with mouth-wateringly delicious flavors, you should use a brisket point.
If you intend to smoke them together, keep their distinctions in mind and alter your smoking method accordingly, and using any information you learned here.