The cut from the lower chest or breast of veal or beef is called “brisket.” Briskets have two types of cuts—the flat and the point—and for this reason, you will sometimes read or hear the phrase Brisket flat vs point. But what is really the difference between the brisket flat and point?
Brisket Flat and Point Differentiated
Brisket, according to USDA, refers to the cut from the beef’s side that includes the deep pectoral, the sternum bones, and the supraspinatus muscle. The brisket flat generally refers to the deep pectoral muscle. On the other hand, the pectoralis superficialis is called the brisket point.
The point and the flat are generally separated by a thick strip of fat that runs between them. This strip of fat also runs over the whole surface of the brisket flat. Moreover, you’ll find thick fat that encircles the brisket flat’s edge, especially close to the point. The brisket point is perched on top of the brisket flat. The meat’s deepest portion, however, belongs to the brisket flat.
To differentiate further the flat and point, you will notice that one side of the brisket contains a large area with almost no fat. The point faces the brisket’s high end while the fat-free side faces downward. Another important point to consider about the point and the flat is that their grains almost run perpendicular to each other’s grain. Thus, you need to separate these two sections after cooking.
Prepping a Brisket
Every brisket carries a unique characteristic. You will not find two briskets that are totally identical. You’ll see a lot of variations of briskets in terms of shape, size, amount of fat, and how the point relates to the flat section. So, you don’t need to be surprised if you find your brisket longer than the previous brisket you’ve cooked.
When preparing a brisket, you can’t use a dull knife for it is surely incapable of cutting through it. You would need a really sharp knife to trim the brisket. You can’t also use a utility knife or a paring knife. Instead, you should either use a butcher’s knife or a boning knife.
Some people folks prep the brisket by simply removing it from the Cryovac and patting it dry using paper towels. Afterward, they apply their favorite rub, and then, throw the brisket onto a cooker.
It is not good to leave the brisket with all the fat on it. The truth is—rub and smoke would surely be incapable of penetrating the fat. If all fats are intact, you would need more fuel and time to cook it.
Experts will suggest that you cut away some thick fat or some of the thickest strips of fat. Just leave enough fat to provide flavor to the brisket and keep it moist during the cooking process.
How to Separate the Flat from the Point?
The first thing you should do to separate the flat from the point is to identify where the flat and point on the brisket are. You can do this by placing the brisket on a table with the fattier side facing downward. Obviously, the point will be below the flat. You will notice a fat seam at the point where the flat and the point meet.
This fat seam is referred to as the “nose.” You can begin separating the two at that point. Cut downward into the fat seam. Then, follow the seam while it curves back and runs under the flat. Lift the flat using your free hand while you slice through its fat seam up to where the point tapers off. There, you can slice through the meat to completely separate the two.
Afterward, you can begin trimming off the external fat. The point will be usually on the right while the flat is usually on the left side. You can either smoke the point alone and save the flat for later smoking or you can smoke them both at once.
The point and the flat are two cuts on the brisket and as such, they come from the same section of the beef. The brisket flat vs point argument is often no longer necessary to deal with for both are of the same section. Of course, you can still go on pitting the flat with the point, but for a lot of people, the two don’t have much difference.