How to cut brisket
If you are wondering how to be cutting brisket, then you have come to the right place! For starters, it’s usually recommended to slice brisket against the grain. This helps ensure that each of the slices that come out of your brisket are not stringy and are edible.
Before continuing this article, I wanted to let you know that I have a YouTube channel where I showcase all sorts of video content related to BBQ. Subscribing would mean a lot to me, and I very much appreicate all the support!
When you don’t cut against the grain and slice with the grain, even though you may have cooked brisket to perfection, you basically just ruined the entire barbecue because the slices are very hard to eat in such a way that the fiber cannot be pulled away from itself that easily.
One of the great things about brisket, is that as you slice brisket against the grain which is perpendicular to the long lines you will typically say on a brisket, you’re able to achieve a very tender piece of meat that you can cut with just a fork.
Cutting against the grain is perhaps one of the most important things after learning how to smoke and properly rest brisket. That’s just because as you get a brisket that is properly cooked and seasoned and rested, you’ll want to actually eat the thing. That’s why brisket cutting is so critical in terms of how you do it and making sure that it comes out just the way you want.
How to cut brisket against the grain
Since you want to understand how to cut brisket against the grain, take your brisket and line it from left to right. You’ll notice that there are some long streaks of lines running from each end of the brisket.
You want to place your knife perpendicular to the lines and begin slicing.
You don’t want your brisket to be sliced with the grain, or basically when the knife slides along those long lines. That would be known as slicing with the grain, which is definitely not recommended.
Let’s take a quick look at why you should know how to cut a brisket properly.
Why you should know how to cut brisket
Generally speaking, you should know how to cut a brisket because if you don’t slice it the right way, then it will come out stringy and you will not be able to eat any of the slices.
That’s why it’s so critical to understand the concept of the grain on the brisket. Do you want to slice directly perpendicular to the grain in order to get the amazing slices that can very easily pull apart with your fingers.
Who should know how to cut a brisket
In terms of who should know how to cut a brisket, generally the pitmaster who has done most of the smoking will be the one to promptly slice it thereafter.
For the most part, barbecue can be a solo activity, requiring the pitmaster to not only know how to smoke a wide array of meats and how to operate different types of smokers, but they will also be the ones preparing the physical meat by seasoning and slicing it.
It doesn’t really matter who does the slicing of the brisket, just make sure they know the proper way to do it (slicing against the grain!).
What parts of the brisket should you know how to cut
The parts of the brisket you should know how to cut are the point and the flat. Those are the two main muscles that will need to be dealt with for any packer style brisket.
What’s interesting about both of these sections is that Both the flat and the point have different grains that run across them.
Basically what that means is that the flat has the grain running from the right to left where the point has the grain running up and down. That’s also why you see a lot of people flip the point around whenever they are ready to slice it. That’s because the grain needs to be positioned properly.
Where should you be cutting brisket at
If you want to know where you should be cutting the brisket specifically, it usually is recommended to slice the brisket directly in half and then start slicing against the grain in accordance with either the flat or the point.
To get started, take the flat end of the brisket which is basically just the leaner part, and find the lines running horizontally.
That is known as the grain.
You want to slice against it, so begin slicing that specific way, and enjoy your intact pieces of brisket!
For the point, go ahead and rotate it 90° to ensure the grain is running horizontally, and follow the same process. Begin slicing and ensure that the slices are about a quarter inch thick.
When should you cut brisket
Regarding when you should be cutting your brisket or slicing into it, you always want to consider resting it for at least three hours or so. You want the internal temperature to be around 165°F or less, to ensure that the moisture does not evaporate the second you dig into it.
Never slice into a brisket the second he pulled out the smoker. That is a tried and true way of completely ruining everything about your piece of BBQ.
Now that we have basically covered how you slice and cut up a brisket in a general sense, let’s take a quick note as to how to exactly cut a brisket before you anticipate freezing it.
How to cut a brisket for freezing
If you happen to be freezing your brisket or plan on it, you should know that there is really no specific way to slice it up before you happen to freeze it.
In other words, when you freeze a brisket there is really no benefit of slicing it any particular way and a reason for that is because Briskets will either render down completely whether they are completely intact or broken up into smaller pieces.
If you have already pulled your brisket off the smoker and are actually done cooking it, then you can consider the brisket to be placed in the freezer immediately or you can choose to begin slicing it up how you normally would and then put it in vacuum seal bags and then put it in the freezer.
There’s no specific way to cut it up before placing it inside of the freezer, outside of the normal recommendation to slice against the grain.
How to cut a brisket to fit in smoker
If you have a relatively small smoker or not that much space within your smoker, then you can certainly consider slicing up your brisket to fit it properly.
This is particularly common in a lot of vertical type smokers where the actual cooking greats are not that large enough for a monster 10 to 20 pound brisket.
In those cases, some people choose to fold the brisket on top of itself or just slice it right down the middle and cook the point and flat separately.
How to cut a whole brisket in half
For cutting a whole brisket packer and half, make sure to get a sharp enough knife and just slice it right down the middle without thinking too much. That’s really all it takes.
Once the packer is separated, you can do with each end as you wish. Make sure to cook them thoroughly and only pull them off the smoker grates once the internal temperature is 200 degrees Fahrenheit and probes tender!
How to cut brisket flat
Cutting a brisket flat can be done by identifying where the grain is running, and slicing against it. By slicing against it, you are maintaining the integrity of the meat and allowing for it to be pulled apart with just a simple tug of each end of the slices.
By not slicing against the grain, the fibers are basically still intact, making it very stringy and hard to eat.
How to cut brisket point
Regarding cutting up the brisket point, just go ahead and rotate it 90 degrees and slice it against its own grain. That is how it’s done, and you should come out with some really good results.
How to cut brisket after cooking
After cooking your brisket, make sure to let it rest! You want to ensure the temperatures have a chance to settle down and come to around 165 degrees Fahrenheit before ever slicing into it.
Once you have rested for a minimum of about 3 or so hours, the juices will have soaked back into the meat and it should be ready for cutting.
Just slice it against the grain and you’re good to go.
How to cut brisket for burnt ends
Cutting up a brisket for burnt ends is a very important thing to know how to do! All you have to do is take the point section of the brisket, and instead of slicing it into individual slices, you can begin to cube it up into about 1 inch thick cubes. Throw them back onto the smoker for further rendering and they will melt in your mouth.
Slicing a brisket up can be a very easy process if you just slice it against the grain. That’s really all it takes, so always ensure to do that and never slice with the grain. That would make the bites very stringy and inedible.
This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of bbqdropout.com. Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.
He primarily hand writes the bulk of the content but occasionally will leverage AI assisted tools, such as chatGPT, to properly edit and format each blog post on this website. This ensures a pleasurable reading experience for visitors. Read more about our editorial policies here. If there are any improvements that can be made to this article, reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org