Brisket is one of the most popular meats to cook on a smoker.
When cooked properly, it has a lusciously soft texture and mouth-watering rich flavors. It’s what gives pulled pork its deliciously melty texture.
However, most people are unaware that a “whole brisket,” also known as a packer, is actually made up of two separate cuts: the point and the flat.
Similar to how a ribeye and New York Strip are part of the same cut.
While they are from the same area, they have distinct flavors, cooking temperatures, and sometimes even cooking methods.
This article explains the distinctions between a flat and a point, as well as how to cook them together.
What’s The Difference Between a Flat & Point?
A brisket is made up of two different muscles, the flat and the point, that are held together by a thick layer of fat, much like a New York strip and a ribeye.
Despite the fact that they are two portions of the same cut, they cook somewhat differently and have distinct tastes and textures.
The point is the opposite side of the flat. It’s smaller in size but substantially thicker in form. A point is less meaty than a flat, but it has far more fat and connective fibers, which contribute to its juicy and rich tastes.
This higher fat concentration renders and breaks down when smoking, resulting in a juicy and tender product that is ideal for shredding for pulled pork.
The flat is the leanest section of the brisket. It has the most flesh but far less marbling. As a result, if you are not adequately prepared, it may be more difficult. It is bigger than the point and has a larger cooking surface area.
Because of its uniform shape and lean meat, a brisket flat is ideal for presenting in slices.
Pulling Temperatures for Flats & Points?
Brisket is technically safe to consume once it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees(F), although this is the basic foundation.
When the brisket flat reaches 203 degrees(F), remove it from the smoker. However, because the flat is a much slimmer cut, pulling it at a lower temperature, such as 195 to 200 degrees(F), may be beneficial.
Internal temperature standards for brisket points are comparable. The temperature of 200 degrees(F) is ideal for the point. The fats and fibers have been completely rendered down and redistributed into the meat at this heat, making it shredable for pulled pork.
Which Cooks Faster?
Remember that flat meat is much leaner than point meat, so its connective fibers take longer to render and break down. Furthermore, due to the decreased fat content, it must be cooked at lower temperatures to avoid drying out.
Cooking on low and slow heat.
Brisket point, on the other hand, has a much larger fat cap as well as more connective tissues. This implies you may cook a point at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time without risking drying out or overcooking the meat.
Should A Flat & Point Be Separated Before Cooking?
In most circumstances, it should. Although they can be smoked together, they are still two unique cuts that cook at different speeds and, in certain cases, at different temperatures.
Smokers should strive to smoke different meats that have similar fat content and cook at similar speeds at the same time.
If you take the entire brisket from the smoker after it has achieved the right temperature, the flat may not be properly smoked and become chewy, tough, or undercooked.
Where Do You Probe a Full Brisket?
If you’re smoking a full packer, temp it in the thickest part of the flat.
You would assume that because it is thicker, the point is the greatest location to temp. However, because the point contains far more fat, the temperature readings may be less reliable.
Which Cut Is Better?
The “superior” cut should be selected depending on personal preference and the end goal of the project.
The flat is the way to go if you like a finished product that tastes and feels more like a roast with more rustic flair. A flat is often served in slices and has a significantly different texture.
A brisket point is the way to go if you want to smoke brisket that is succulent, luscious, and full of mouth-watering rich flavors. As mentioned earlier, this is the cut to smoke if you’re making pulled pork.
While these two delectable cuts differ in many ways, they are both incredibly savory in their own right.
While it is possible to smoke both cuts at the same time, it requires skill and careful supervision to do it efficiently.
If you decide to smoke a full packer, keep in mind that the two halves may cook at different rates, and probe the thickest section of the flat rather than the point.