posted May 23, 2023
How To Slice a Brisket
Slicing a brisket is a huge part of having the perfect smoked brisket experience. Knowing how to slice a brisket correctly will give you tender, melt-in-your-mouth, smoked meat. I’ll teach you all the tips and tricks to make you look like a brisket pro!
Let’s start with brisket anatomy. In Brisket 101, I mentioned that a full-packer brisket is made up of two different, overlapping muscles that we call the point and the flat. These muscles make slicing a brisket a little bit tricky because the grain runs in two different directions. The good news is, I’m here to walk you through each step!
Quick reminder! Be sure to fully rest your brisket before slicing. After hours and hours of smoking that brisket, I know it can be difficult to wait to slice, but trust me! You can and should give your brisket ample time to rest. It’s coming off the grill at around 200 degrees F, so let that hunk of meat cool down before diving into the cutting process.
Materials for Slicing Brisket
Before you begin, be sure you have everything you’ll need to slice the brisket. The brisket will have plenty of time to rest, so snag all your materials before you get to the slicing. Here are my recommended materials:
- Large cutting board. You need a very large cutting board to hold your brisket and give you enough space to slice the meat.
- Serrated knife. Your brisket-slicing knife matters! You want a knife that is serrated but doesn’t have any of those super small ridge-like teeth. The smooth serrated edge allows you to slide through the meat without squishing it or tearing it to shreds.
- Work gloves. Slicing brisket can be messy work, so I like to use my clean BBQ gloves when handling and slicing brisket.
How to Slice Brisket
You’ve got your tools, you’ve got your perfectly rested brisket, and now all that’s left is slicing her open and feasting like a king! Now, one last note before you get to the actual slicing. You want to slice this brisket AGAINST THE GRAIN, so take your time to find the direction of the grain before you start cutting. You just spent a whole day smoking this brisket. Be sure you slice it correctly for the best texture.
For even more detail on how to slice brisket, scroll to the informational card below!
- Get your brisket ready to slice. Once your brisket has been fully rested, you’re ready to slice! Set your brisket on a large cutting board with the point toward your non-dominant hand.
- Separate the point from the flat. Place your non-dominant hand on the brisket and move your hand in a small, circular motion to feel where a small layer of fat separated the flat from the point. Locate that layer of fat and then make your first cut. This helps to separate the flat from the point. Since you always want to be slicing against the grain of your brisket, is important to have these two pieces separate and sliced differently.
- Slice the flat. Begin with the flat side of the brisket. Slice against the grain in 1/4-inch slices. Try to make these slices as uniform as possible so everyone gets the perfect size of brisket.
- Slice the point. Next, grab your point and slice it in half in the opposite direction of your initial cut. Next, grab half of the point and turn it 90 degrees. Slice the point against the grain in 1/4 inch slices just like you did with the flat. Finish by slicing the other half of the point the same way as the first half (be sure to slice against the grain!).
- Serve! Now that you’ve perfectly sliced your brisket, arrange it neatly on your serving platter with all your brisket fixings. Dig in and enjoy!
Sliced Beef Brisket
I find it helpful to explain to my guests what they are getting with the different slices. I call the flat “lean” and the point “fatty.” You will find this is consistent with how you are asked to order brisket at any reputable BBQ joint that is up to snuff. I like to eat the fatty brisket, myself, but I know plenty of people who will choose the lean slices every time and love them. If you followed the instructions on How To Smoke a Brisket, you should have delicious, tender meat no matter what slice you choose! Now step away from the cutting board and get yourself a plate. After all of the hours of trimming, smoking, spraying, wrapping, fire tending, and slicing, it is finally time to enjoy the meats of your labor!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of my posts all about the beautiful brisket! Whether you are a beginner, a first-time brisket smoker, or an experienced pitmaster that wants a refresher course, make sure you read Brisket 101, How to Trim a Brisket, and How to Smoke a Brisket. If you’ve read all of the posts and have cooked up the perfect brisket, I would LOVE to see it! Tag me on Instagram @heygrillhey, or post it on my Facebook Page!
This post was originally published in May 2015. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips.
How to Slice Brisket
- Large cutting board
- Sharp knife
- 1 smoked brisket
- Prep the brisket for slicing. Set your brisket on a large cutting board with the point toward your non-dominant hand (that's left for me). This hand will be responsible for moving meat around and feeling things out and your dominant hand will be on knife duty. Obviously this will be the opposite if you are a lefty. I try not to confuse the two during the process or I end up with a slippery knife.
- Locate where the point and flat meet. Start by placing your left hand on the point of the brisket and pressing gently. You can feel how tender your brisket is! It should feel like meaty butter. If you move your left hand in a small, circular motion you can start to feel where a small layer of fat separates the flat from the point.
- Make the first cut. Where the point comes down to meet the flat is where you want to make your first slice. This is the dividing line, so to speak, where the grain of the meat changes. Since you always want to be slicing against the grain of your brisket, is important to have these two pieces separate and sliced differently.
- Slice the flat. Move your attention to the flat, and using long, smooth strokes, cut it into 1/4 inch slices (about the width of a no. 2 pencil.) The muscle of the flat all runs the same direction, so it is pretty simple to get beautifully uniform slices that all run the same direction. Always cut against the grain! Just make sure that each piece gets a good piece of the delicious seasoned bark while you slice and you're good to go!
- Slice the point in half. Now head over to the point. I start by slicing it in half in the opposite direction of your initial cut. This cut will show you the grain of your brisket and also gives you that magical ah-ha moment where you get to see the "money shot" from all of your time and dedication. You can pick up this beautiful piece of perfectly smoked meat that is just dripping with juices and, I swear, the pride and joy is tangible. Don't deny yourself this moment by rushing through and just slicing all of that brisket up in a hurry! Savor the slicing process, it can be pretty fun.
- Slice the point. Grab one half of the point, and turn it 90 degrees. Working your way to the outside from the middle, slice in 1/4 inch slices. Again, make sure each slice has some of the magic bark on top of it. Some people who slice brisket will remove the entire point from the flat and then proceed to slice the whole flat in uniform pieces. The problem with this approach is that there is no bark on the part of the flat that was under the point! The bark is arguably the best part of the brisket where all of the savory, smoky, flavor lives. Everybody deserves a piece of bark. Don't hack off the point. Ok?
- Serve and enjoy. Get your meat hand on the other half of the point and proceed with the slicing as you did with the first half of the point. By now, your whole brisket should be beautifully sliced and ready to serve. Find your very best friend and give them the end pieces (or save them for yourself) and let everybody else choose for themselves what part of the brisket they want.
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