A lot of people are unaware that an entire brisket is actually made up of two separate muscles: the flat and the point. Despite being part of the same cut of meat, they have slightly different textures, flavors, and cooking methods.
When they are not split, they are referred to as “whole packer brisket” or just “packer brisket.” They can be smoked together, but they are normally smoked separately.
We’ll go through the primary distinctions between these muscles, how to smoke them together, and where to temp a packer brisket in this post.
How Are the Point and The Flat Different?
A whole brisket is made up of two different muscles: the flat and the point. They are joined together by a thick woven layer of fat, much like a ribeye and a New York strip.
The flat is the brisket’s leanest portion. Although it has far less marbling, it has the most meat. As a result, if you are not well prepared, it can be tougher to smoke the flat. It is larger and has a greater cooking surface area than the point.
A brisket flat is perfect for serving in slices due to its consistent shape and lean meat. Flat is commonly used to roll up into a brisket joint, which is commonly braised in the oven and served more like a roast.
The point is on the other side of the flat. It is considerably thicker in shape but smaller in size. A point contains less meat than a flat, but it has much more fat and connective fibers, which contribute to its juicy and rich flavors.
When smoked, the increased fat content renders and breaks down, producing a juicy, soft product that is perfect for shredding and pulling. If you’re making pulled pork (with a pork brisket), utilizing the point is the way to go.
Should They Be Separated Before Smoking?
While you can perfectly smoke a whole packer brisket, it can be much easier if they are separated. Although they can be smoked together, they are two distinct cuts that cook at different rates and, in certain situations, temperatures.
Smokers should try to smoke foods with similar fat content and cook at similar rates at the same time.
If you remove the entire brisket from the smoker after it has reached the appropriate temperature, the flat may become chewy, tough, or undercooked.
Smoking A Whole Packer Brisket
Does The Flat Cook Quicker Than the Point?
The point usually cooks faster than the flat.
Remember that the flat has far more lean meat and far less fatty and connective fibers. This indicates that the flat will require extra time during the smoking process to properly breakdown these tissues.
Flats may also demand a lower cooking temperature due to the leaner meat. It lacks the extra layers of fat that the point has to help keep the meat from drying out and becoming tough.
This is why it can be easier to separate them. The flat may become overcooked by the time the point has had a chance to render all of its fat.
Do You Probe the Flat, or the Flat When Temping Packer Brisket?
When smoking a packer brisket, always take temperature readings from the thickest section of the flat.
That may appear odd, given that the point is the thicker portion. However, because of the increased proportion of lean meat, the flat will provide a far more accurate temperature reading.
The fatty tissues in the point can give unreliable and inconsistent findings.
When temping brisket, always enter the probe at an angle rather than straight on, and always go with the grain of the meat rather than against it. Furthermore, never probe from the top of the meat; always probe from the sides.
Do Flats and Points Cook to The Same Internal Temperature?
When the brisket flat reaches between 200 and 205 degrees(F), pull it from the smoker. Furthermore, because the flat is a much leaner cut, pulling this at a lower temperature, such as 195 to 200 degrees can be a tremendous help.
Brisket points have comparable internal temperature norms. 200 degrees(F) is the optimal temperature for the point. At this heat, the fatty tissues have completely broken down and been emulsified throughout the meat, allowing for easy shredding.
It is entirely possible to smoke a whole packer brisket together; it may just take some practice and a few rounds of trial and error. But that’s fine since you’ll have a lot to learn on your route to becoming a pitmaster.
Remember that the flat is much slimmer than the point, therefore it will take longer to break down the little fat it has.
Always probe the flat rather than the point when smoking a full brisket. Flats lean meat will produce considerably more consistent temperature readings.
Both reduce smoke to about the same interior temperature, with very minor changes.