How to Slice a Brisket in a Proper Way

Brisket is a fantastic piece of meat. It tastes delicious, whether you roast it in the oven with onions and a beef base, or you like to smoke it outside overnight with pecan wood. This cheaper cut of meat has found its glory with its admirers, who don’t mind waiting for it to slow cook to its crescendo. Properly cooking this delicate piece of meat is one part of the story. In order to fully enjoy this delicious meat, you need to know how to slice a brisket in the right way.

If you are always asking yourself if your way of slicing a brisket is the right way to do it, then I am going to finally give you an detailed answer for your question. I will tell you the proper way of doing it, based on the brisket anatomy and its cooking type.

Tools You Need

To properly slice a smoked brisket, your need a few tools. We suggest you to get these basic tools, assuming you have already cooked or smoked the meat the way you like it.

Required Tools:

  • A sharp knife and a fork.
  • A cutting board.
  • Two towels.
  • A serving platter.

You will need a proper knife for slicing. We suggest you a carving knife. The length of this utensil will cover the cross cut of your brisket. A chef knife will also work but a carving knife is preferred.

If you are looking for a cheap, high quality set of knifes, I recommend The Forever Sharp Set.

The most important part of the knife when slicing your meat is making sure that the blade is sharp. You can purchase a knife sharpener at a cooking store, online, or a DIY hardware store.

Quick Kitchen Tip: When you are slicing meat and need a sharp knife immediately but don't have a sharpener, you can put a sharp edge on your knife by running the edge along the bottom of a ceramic coffee mug. This will put a temporary edge on your knife.

Slicing the Brisket

After you get your sharp knife ready, it is time to start the slicing process.

Preparing the Cutting Board

First, prepare your cutting area by getting you cutting board and putting it on top of a wet towel. Laying the cutting board on top of the towel while slicing your brisket will keep the cutting board from moving around. You should choose a cutting board with a gully in it that will allow any juices to run off.

Then, take your cooked meat, place it on the cutting board and remove any excess fat of it.

Usually, a brisket has two functioning types of fat in it. The marbling fat that lies within the point of the brisket and the excess fat that lays across the whole brisket when it’s cooking. This fat will just slide right off with a little help from you.

Trimming the Fat Cap of Brisket

Since "the fat cap" is a large layer of fat laying on the point side of the brisket, some people prefer to trim it off completely while others prefer to leave a thin layer of 1/8-1 inch on the meat.

Trimming it off completely will allow more seasoning to get to the meat while leaving a thin layer of it may provide some extra flavor.

If you want to trim it off completely, work in sections, by slipping a sharp knife under the fat and slide it back and fourth until it comes off.

If you are going to smoke the brisket, then leaving a thin layer is the best way to go. You just have to trim the top part of the fat from the most thick sections.

Slicing a Brisket Based on Its Anatomy

Brisket-Muscles-Anatomy

As you may already know, a brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal

It is made up of two different overlapping muscles, which are called the point and the flat. These muscles are separated by a thick, white seam of fat.

The point is the fatty and juicy part of the brisket, having a more marbled look, with more fat lines on it while the flat is the lean cut of it. Usually, on most of the briskets, the point is connected over two-thirds of the flat.

These muscles make the brisket slicing process a bit tricky, so here is the manner in which part of the muscles you should slice your brisket.

Image Credit: Aaron Franklin

1) Start by putting your support hand, for most of the people, their left hand, on top of the meat. Apply a bit of pressure, so you can feel how tender your brisket is. Also, by moving your support hand in a circular motion, you can find where the point part ends and where the flat begins. But, be careful to not apply a lot of pressure because the juices will start coming off.

You want to put your blade perpendicular to the grain of the meat, slicing at an angle, also referred to as, cutting on the bias. Basically, you need to slice against the meat's grain.

2) Begin slicing, starting with the isolated flat end, working your way back to the piece of the brisket that includes the point where both the point and flat part meet together (Usually around the middle of the piece of meat).

When you get to this part, you should have finished slicing the flat part of your meat (the lean part, as shown in the image below). 

Support Hand Cut

Image Credit: Aaron Franklin

Now, you have to begin slicing the point part of the meat (the fatty and juicy part).

3) Take the point part and rotate it 90 degrees from your position and then, cut it in the middle using your knife (slice it in half in the opposite direction of your initial cut). Then, start slicing two halves of the point part again in the opposite direction of the flat part. (See the images to understand it better)

Slicing The Point Part

Image Credit: Aaron Franklin

Note: It is recommended that when you are slicing on the flat part, your slices should be about a quarter inch in thickness and when slicing the point part, make your slices about a half an inch thick. You slice thickness determine the tenderest of your slices.

Aaron's Franklin Brisket Slicing Method (Video)

The Second Method for Slicing a Brisket 

You can decide to leave your delicious meat in the cut slices or try another method of serving them.

I told you the first and the recommended method for slicing a cooked brisket but there is a second method for you to learn and then serve it. Usually, this method is used by those people who don't like their brisket in slices or don't know how to properly slice their meat.

Second Slicing Method

For this method, separate the brisket with your knife, give it a chunky chop with your knife and then, put the pieces in a bowl with some barbecue sauce. Coat the pieces and give them a quick sear on the grill for about 7-10 minutes.

Your family and friends will enjoy the charbroiled sweetness of the burnt ends, considered a delicacy in the barbecue world.

The All-Together Method - (The Easiest Brisket Slicing Method)

This is probably the easiest way to slice your cooked brisket.

  • Separate the flat from the point (See the anatomy in the upper section)
  • Trim any excess fat, if needed.
  • Place the point on top of the round, positioning it so the grain of both sides are in the same direction.
  • Start slicing through the point and the flat altogether. 

Brisket Slicing Tips

Here are some useful tips for you to have in mind when slicing your smoked brisket:

  • Once you start slicing the meat, it will start to oxidize since will be exposed to air. For this reason, you only have a limited amount of time, so it is better to leave the slicing for the last minute, before serving.
  • The slicing method will have different effects on the meat. One simple trick you may try is when the side of the meat closer to you is a little bit drier and more prone to falling apart. What you can do when you are about to finish the slice, give it a push stroke that will help to keep the entire slice intact.

Final Thoughts

Being such a delicious meat and at the same time such delicate, can make you screw up a good brisket in so many ways from the time you buy it until the slicing and serving time.

Final Thoughts

Cooking or smoking the brisket should be the trickiest part but if you don't know how to slice a brisket in the proper way, the last step can ruin your whole work and dedication.

I know that there are different methods on how to do it, but I have included only the most used and the most recommended method.

One tip to have in mind is that no matter what method are you using, you always should slice and cut against the meat grains.

Slicing your cooked meat should be easy, fun and overall a treat for you and everyone around you, so better enjoy it!

About Kendrick

Kendrick is an outdoor cooking enthusiast, currently living in Kansas, who loves to share his knowledge about cooking and grilling with everyone (Read More)

2 thoughts on “How to Slice a Brisket in a Proper Way”

  1. If you trim the fat AFTER you smoke a brisket, you remove the seasonings and the smoke. Trim the fat reasonably, then season, then smoke and slice like he said.

    Reply

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