How to Slice Brisket? Easy Step-By-Step Guide

No matter how you slice it, making a brisket is an undertaking. Whether you braise it or smoke and eat with friends and family around the fire pit at home on Thanksgiving Day-it’s always good when that final product arrives in everyone’s stomachs after all this hard work has been put into its production!

How to Slice Brisket? Easy Step-By-Step Guide

How to slice brisket? Easy Step-By-Step Guide

A few hours of cooking will give way to one amazing meal: tender juicy meat just waiting for some onion rings alongside fluffy white rice or mashed potatoes drizzled liberally classically styled if desired but not necessary-brisket lovers can have their pick from any number

How to slice brisket? All of that hard work can go to waste if you don’t slice the brisket right. The key is in cutting it with care and precision, because taking just one wrong swipe at this will result in an unappealing chewiness for your dinner guests! To get started slicing like a pro-level cookery practitioner that’s sure not only please them but impresses all around -consulted several experts: Butchers and Chefs across America; Pitmasters who know their stuff about meat cuts and how they should be cooked. Here are three tips from our conversations which might help make things easier…

Things to know about your brisket and Nutrition value of brisket

The brisket is the breastplate muscle of a cow.  It is composed of two parts:  the brisket flat, which is leaner and thicker, and the brisket point, which has more fat. Each brisket has different uses and cooks differently. The briskets are separated by a layer of fat that runs through its center which makes for two cuts of meat when taken apart (flanken and traditional brisket). Briskets usually weigh between 4 to 12 lbs., on average about 5 lbs., and size depends on the age and breed of cattle. Choose briskets with even distribution of fat throughout without too much hard fat or exposed bone in some areas like corners or edges.

Nutrition-wise, briskets are not much different from other cuts of meat in terms of nutrition. There are no carbohydrates which mean one serving of brisket (3 ounces) is only 166 calories. Briskets also contain very little fat, but if you do like extra flavor added to your brisket rubs or sauces, you will definitely find the brisket giving off a lot of flavors depending on anything else added to it. It’s recommended that briskets are cooked in low heat, low moisture to avoid shrinkage after cooking

Some briskets are often trimmed up with extra fat taken out before cooking for this reason. If you are looking for an ideal brisket nutrition facts guide, be sure not to look at the cooking method because brisket is already one of the lowest-calorie meats available!

A lean cut of meat means there is less marbling and more visible fat removed. This is good news for people watching their fat intake or who want to lower their cholesterol levels! When purchasing briskets, always look around for pink briskets which should indicate that they are fresh and haven’t been sitting around in the store. There should also not be any brown spots or an odd looking color to briskets which means that they have most likely started to go bad. Remember that brisket is a meat with a tough texture and takes a while to make tender, but it will give you the satisfaction of having a delicious meal!

Eat briskets often and feel great about yourself knowing you stay healthy while enjoying your meals!

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Buy raw brisket from the supermarket and How to know your brisket is bad?

The brisket can be bought fresh or frozen from your local grocery store. When choosing brisket it’s important to keep in mind that you should always cook based on weight, not by a number of servings. This means if you’re cooking for four people then buy 1lb of brisket per person rather than just thinking about how many servings you want in total. The brisket will shrink during cooking so remember this when planning what size the final product needs to be. Most briskets in grocery stores come in around 3-4lbs in weight.

When brisket shopping you need to look at the brisket in order to see that it’s of good quality and has plenty of marbling (fat) running through it. If there is little to no fat then it’s likely that this brisket will dry out during cooking, making your dish tough and chewy. So what does a brisket with lots of marbling look like? The brisket should also have a nice amount of meat on the bone too! This means that when looking at the brisket from both sides you can see there is a generous amount of meat visible. While a brisket without a large chop can be cooked whole if it has a good amount of marbling running through it then you can get away with slicing the brisket prior to cooking.

It’s also important that you pay attention to the “sell by” date on the packaging so that you know how long you have before they can no longer be sold.  You want to choose briskets that have an expiration date of at least one week from when you plan on cooking them

Look for briskets with bright red color and brisket that is tender to the touch. It doesn’t bounce back when touched because it’s already dead, but brisket shouldn’t feel too hard either. A brisket should be well marbled which means lots of little white lines throughout the brisket which indicates fat and flavor (marbling). Try not to choose a brisket that hasn’t been wrapped tightly in cellophane or plastic wrap because this could indicate dryness.

Just in case your briskets aren’t wrapped properly after purchase. If this happens, don’t fret! A brisket will keep fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator if it’s wrapped properly.

Steps to know your brisket is bad. Step 1: Check to see if it has turned a dull brown or grey. Fresh beef will be bright red in color. Your brisket will turn greyer the longer you keep it. If all of your briskets are grey rather than red or brown, it’s best to throw it away.

Step 2: Smell the beef to see if you notice a sour smell. Fresh beef will have a slight smell, but beef starting to go bad will smell rotten or sour. The smell is produced from gases made by some of the bacteria on your beef. If there is a strong smell, avoid eating!

Step 3: Many bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses like salmonella cannot be smelled and can be found on fresh beef. Always cook the beef thoroughly to kill bacteria. If you don’t feel comfortable eating the beef, throw it away.

Step 4: Check the sell-by date on the packaging. Raw ground beef is safe to use only 1 or 2 days after the recommended sell-by date. Check the calendar to determine how many days have passed since you bought it and throw it away if it’s old.

Step 5: When brisket is cooked, it can have a firm texture and a slightly rubbery feel. The meat should appear moist and cut in a thick piece with a layer of fat between the two. As the brisket sits, the juices from the brisket will settle at the base of the brisket so after being sliced it may leave some juice on your plate or cutting board. However brisket that has been left out too long will lose its red color and turn grayish brown instead, this is where you know brisket has gone bad.

How to prepare your brisket?

The secret to great tasting brisket is in how it’s prepared and cooked. If you have just purchased your brisket from the supermarket then there are some simple steps which you can follow before cooking your brisket: 

Firstly, Learn the different parts of a brisket. The brisket is made up of two muscles, the point and the flat. The muscles are separated by a thick, white seam of fat. The fat cap is a fat layer that sits on top of the brisket. The point is also called the deckle. This part of the brisket has the most fat on it. It has a marbled look, meaning there are more fat lines running through it. The flat cut is the part of the brisket that has less fat. As you may have guessed, it is also generally flatter than the point.

Secondly, Examine the brisket for redness and moistness. You want the brisket to look a little damp, so it will be juicy when cooking. However, you don’t want it to look wet. Also, check for a nice red color. When buying a brisket, aim for 3 to 4 ounces (85 to 113 g) of meat per person. Look for the point cut for a fattier, more flavorful cut that’s best for shredding. Look for the flat cut for leaner meat that’s better for slicing. A whole brisket includes both cuts.

Thirdly, Cut the fat cap off in sections with a sharp slicing knife. The fat cap is the large layer of fat that’s primarily on the point side of the meat. Some people trim it completely off, while others leave 1⁄8 to 1 inch (0.32 to 2.54 cm) of fat on the meat. Trimming it allows more seasoning to get to your meat, but the fat can provide some flavor. To trim it completely off, work in sections across the meat. Slip your knife under the fat, and slide it back and forth until the section comes off. To trim off part of the fat, just cut the top part of the fat off in the thicker sections. You may want to leave some fat on if you’re smoking your brisket.

Next, Trim off the small pieces of fat on the underside of a flat cut. The flat cut will have a large amount of fat on one side and smaller pieces of fat on the underside. You will also see this in a whole brisket. You need to trim off the small pieces of fat, as they can act as a barrier between the meat and flavor. Press the point of your knife under the edge of the fat. Push the knife under it, and then slice it off by see-sawing back and forth and sliding the knife outward.

Finally, Cut down the fat vein between the point and flat cut on a whole brisket. If you have a whole brisket, you’ll have a large layer of fat between the 2 pieces. While you don’t need to separate them completely, you do want to trim off some of this fat. Start on the outer edge of the fat vein and shave off the fat in small chunks. Take off most of the fat, down to where you can see the meat below. You’ll be able to lift up a chunk of the meat to put seasoning in the middle.

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How to find the Grain of the Cooked Brisket

Step 1: In brisket, one can see the shapes of two muscles that are visible from the side. First, there is a wide end and then a narrower end. In between those two ends, there is a thick layer of fat. The brisket will have a certain grain pattern to it which you should follow when slicing it for presentation on your platter or sandwich bread.

Step 2: The meat will be an even thickness except for the brisket flat (the long muscle that runs brisket-to-brisket at one end). You do not want to slice this crosswise because then everyone gets long slices of gristle instead of short pieces they can chew through easily. Instead, you cut across-grain so that slice has different pieces of grain running through it.

Step 3: When slicing brisket across-grain, you will see the grain pattern running in a certain direction. Use that as an indicator for which way to slice. This is usually going from wide end to narrow end, however there are times when you want to cut away from the brisket flat instead of towards it. In those cases, use this same rule but reverse it so that what was facing away from your brisket flat now faces towards it instead.

Step 4: In between those two ends of brisket, there is a thick layer of fat with a thin membrane underneath it as well as a thin layer of meat on top of the fat itself. When you slice the brisket across grain, you should keep these layers together and do not separate them. This will create many layers of brisket with each layer having shorter strands of meat and fat, which is what you want for a brisket sandwich.

Step 5: If there are pickles or other fixings involved, you will want to start your preparation by cutting off the excess fat on top of the brisket flat before putting it in your slicing machine (a meat slicer works very well). Use this lean piece for burnt ends or to make pastrami.

Step 6: After you have sliced up all your brisket pieces, put them back into vacuum-sealed bags or containers that go straight into the refrigerator within 30 minutes after finishing the preparation process. If you leave brisket out at room temperature for too long, bacteria can grow on the meat.

Steps to get started with your brisket

Step 1: Well prepared and rested brisket:

The most important point to remember here is that you shouldn’t slice into your brisket when it’s fresh out of the smoker. Whether you use a recipe out of your favorite smoker cookbook, or your grandma’s recipe, the golden rule should always be to let it rest before cutting or carving. Once your brisket has reached its required temperature of 205 F, take it off the smoker and wrap it in tin foil. You could even cover it with a few towels for at least an hour. Resting stops the robust juices from escaping the meat while the proteins react to the cooking or smoking process.

Step 2: A brisket slicing knife

“How to slice brisket the correct way?” is the most common question people ask after “how to prepare brisket”. Investing in a quality brisket slicing knife such as the Victoriana Swiss Army carving knife will make cutting your brisket so much easier. Its long, narrow shape and super sharp edge makes slicing through brisket a breeze. An added feature is the round tip that allows the knife to create air pockets which easily minimizes friction and allows for improved meat separation. This 12” stainless steel knife is popularly hailed as one of the best brisket knives.

Sharpen your knife in 7 steps:

Step 1: Make Sure The Knife Is Clean And Dry. Wash and dry the brisket cutting knife before starting on any of these steps. You don’t want a wet or dirty knife to damage the whetstone or vice versa.

Step 2: Locate The Angle Guides. Find the angle guides on your knife’s blade, usually they are near the handle. They look like two little grooves where you can put your brisket knife at an angle while it is being sharpened.

Step 3: Hold Your Knife And Grit Stone At A 25-To-30 Degree Angle. Put one hand on the top of the grit stone, with your brisket cutting knife pointing straight down against it. Then place your other hand under both items to hold them in place for steady pressure throughout all seven steps of how to sharpen a brisket knife. Make sure that you position yourself so that you have great balance and you can easily apply downward pressure to the brisket sharpening stone.

Step 4: Grip The Knife Firmly With Your Free Hand. Grab your brisket knife with a firm, but not tense grip. You should be holding it as if you are going to perform a brisket cutting motion with it.

Step 5: Drag The Knife Down The Grit Stone Stroke It Nice And Smooth. Now using steady strokes, drag the brisket sharpening stone down the length of the blade from tip to handle. Keep a consistent amount of pressure on both sides of your brisket knife while dragging it down the brisket grinding stone for about ten times for each side of the knife’s sharp edge. Make sure that you do this step at an even, steady pace.

Step 6: Repeat Step 5 On The Other Side Of The Blade Until You Reach The Top Again. After you have sharpened both sides of your brisket cutting knife on the grit stone, you need to flip it over so that the other side is facing upward towards the sky.

Step 7: Flip Your Knife Over And Repeat Steps 4-6 Once More. Take your brisket knife and turn it back over onto its opposite end. Then continue doing steps four through six until you feel confident that you have sharpened both sides of your brisket blade until they are razor sharp. Finally, wash off your brisket cutting blade with some soap and water before using again! A dull blade can be very dangerous to use, and you don’t want to hurt anyone!

How to slice brisket? Now that your brisket cutting blade is nice and sharp, you should probably think about learning how to cook brisket. Trust me: it’s easier than sharpening a brisket knife. And once you taste brisket, you will know why everyone loves it so much!  

Butcher’s block

A butcher’s block is crucial to ensure your meat doesn’t slide around while you’re trying to achieve the perfect cut. A popular choice is the John Boos Maple Classic Reversible Chopping Block. Made from Northern Hard Rock Maple Wood, this chopping block is regarded as one of the best food chopping boards on the market. Reversible and easy to wash this board is the ideal surface to slice your brisket. A butcher’s cutting board is thicker than a normal board and makes cutting meat easier and more accurate because you have the right support.

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How to cut the cooked brisket

How to slice brisket? First, take the brisket out of the fridge for a good hour before you plan to start cooking it. Season with your choice of spices or rubs. Most brisket is best when cooked with salt and pepper. Some people swear by mustard based briskets while I usually use garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne for seasoning mine. There’s no wrong way to season brisket!

Put that brisket into your smoker at 225 degrees Fahrenheit if you have an analog meat thermometer (the metal kind that has a needle) or 250 degrees Fahrenheit if you have a digital meat thermometer (the kind with numbers). Make sure the brisket fits in there nicely without having to do weird angles or squeeze it in like a sardine.

Smoke that brisket for a few hours until your meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This can take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours depending on how brisket you have, what kind of smoker it’s going in, and the weather outside!

Take brisket out of the smoker and put it into some sort of container to keep the juices with the brisket. Let that brisket cool down to room temperature before putting it back into the fridge – overnight preferably.

Remove brisket from bag and slice against the grain.   Unless you want tough brisket, make sure you slice with the grain. To do this, first slice off however much brisket you want to serve. Then, lay that brisket down flat and slice across the brisket in thin slices, cutting with the grain.

Put brisket onto a plate or into a container you can use later on for brisket leftovers. Put plenty of the juices from the brisket on top of it if you have some left over. If not, pour some beef broth over the brisket so it doesn’t dry out. When you come back to eat your brisket tomorrow, it should be moist and tender thanks to this step!

How to slice brisket? Grab a fork and knife and head for your favorite chair. You deserve a nice sit-down meal after all that work smoking your brisket earlier!

Ways to cut your brisket

Type 1: Cut a whole brisket

Many people ask whether they should cut brisket with grain or against it. There should never be an option. Brisket must always be cut against the grain to preserve the juicy, tender characteristic of a good brisket.

If you’ve prepared a whole brisket, another tip is to not cut, slice or carve the whole brisket if you’re not going to serve it in one sitting. If you’re planning to serve a chunk of it the next day, rather cut that piece at that time. This way you’ll preserve the moisture and your brisket won’t dry out.

How to slice brisket? Steps on how to cut a whole brisket include the following: Cut your tasty brisket in half; Cutting brisket against the grain is crucial; Turn the brisket point about 90 and ensure you’re cutting your brisket across the grain; Serve with your favorite main or side dish and enjoy!

Type 2: Cut a brisket flat

Since the brisket is the piece of the carcass of a cow between the fore shank and the plate, it’s commonly removed and trimmed into two very distinctive cuts. The Flat Cut, referred to as the first cut as well as the Point Cut, called the second cut.

A full brisket usually weighs anywhere between 8 and 12lbs and it’s often cut in half while it’s being prepared for sale. You might even cut a brisket flat when you’re preparing it if you aren’t planning to use the whole brisket during one sitting.

When the deckle is removed, the meat lays flat, hence the name. The flat is a much leaner muscle and is primarily less tender and even less moist.

The easiest way for how to cut a brisket flat include the following steps and tips: Ideally, you should leave an average of ¼ inch of fat on the brisket flat to keep the flavor in and avoid being too fatty. It’s also easier to trim while it’s still cold; Using your quality brisket knife, slice your brisket flat against the grain; Always turn the brisket point to 90 and slice as thick or thin as you prefer; Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

Type 3: Cut a brisket in half

One of the most common questions people ask when preparing brisket is, “should I cut it in half before cooking?” Generally, a brisket is best prepared when it cooks at a low temperature for several hours.

Cutting your brisket in half will allow you to cut down on the prescribed cooking time as well as monitor the internal temperature a lot easier. Some pieces of brisket can also be too big for your cooker or smoker and forcing it to fit will just result in burnt edges. This is another good reason to cut it in half!

If you’re wondering how to cut a brisket in half, follow the steps below: Split the brisket by using a quality boning knife; Cut away from the fat layer between the point and the flat; Slice slowly along the fat cap and avoid nicking the flat unnecessarily; An option is to save the fat you’re cutting off and add it to the top of the flat throughout the cooking or smoking process; Some people rather prefer to smoke the fat on a grate above the flat so that the drippings melt over the flat.

Type 4: Carve a brisket

Many people agree that carving meat is important because it preserves the juices in the meat. This allows the brisket to remain tender. Expert brisket makers also agree that brisket slices are better if it’s chilled, even for a short period.

With carving, the rule of thumb is to cut brisket against the grain to avoid dry and chewy meat. You might also want to cut thinner slices as these are also easier to chew.

How to slice brisket? The quickest steps to follow to teach you how to carve brisket: Allow the meat to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes to ensure the juices don’t dry up; Use a serrated knife to ensure a precise, even carving; Cut the brisket in half to separate the flat from the point; Carve your brisket flat against the grain and try to carve in one single motion to prevent the meat from breaking into pieces; Turn your brisket point to 90 and carve slices as thick or thin as you prefer; Serve and enjoy!

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The five most popular ways of cooking brisket

The brisket is a cut of meat that comes from the breast or lower chest of beef, pork, goat, lamb and other animals. It consists of two parts – the point section (darker meat) and the flat section (lighter meat). Brisket has to be cooked carefully because it can easily become tough due to its marbling. The brisket is one of the most popular ways of cooking brisket in America. There are five main methods: smoking, braising, stewing, barbecuing and steaming.

Smoking brisket involves slowly cooking it with smoke for several hours using any kind of wood or fruit tree branches as fuel over indirect heat at low temperatures around 225°F which causes the meat’s cellular structure to break down. A water pan is placed between the brisket and the heat source to keep it humid. This process creates tender brisket with a smoky flavor.

Barbecuing brisket involves cooking brisket over direct heat at high temperatures of around 300°F for several hours using any type of wood or fruit tree branches as fuel. The brisket is basted with mop sauce during cooking, which is typically made up of vinegar, liquid smoke, tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard and other spices. This process also creates tender briskets with a smoky flavor.

Braising brisket involves sautéing onion in oil then adding some red wine, brisket broth or water. The brisket is then covered and cooked over low heat for up to three hours until it becomes tender.

Stewing brisket involves cooking brisket with vegetables like carrots, celery, onion and potatoes in water for several hours until the meat fibers break down into smaller pieces that are easy to chew. This process creates chewy briskets with a mild-to-strong flavor profile depending on how much brisket broth was added during cooking.

Steaming brisket is very similar to stewing brisket except it does not involve adding any liquid whatsoever during the cooking process because the food steamer’s vapors create lots of steam which moistens the briskets as they cook. The brisket is then covered and cooked over low heat for several hours until it becomes tender. This process creates chewy briskets with a mild flavor profile depending on how much brisket broth was added during cooking and/or the type of vegetables added to the food steamer.

Brisket can be served as a main dish or as part of another main dish such as brisket chili, brisket enchiladas and brisket pizza. It goes very well with ingredients like BBQ sauce, garlic rubs, glazes, sauces containing fruit juices, red wine vinegar-based marinades, breads containing onion soup mix, water chestnuts and molasses.

Brisket can also be used in brisket tacos, brisket ramen and brisket dumplings. It goes very well with ingredients like cilantro, ginger, garlic, green onion slices or scallions, hot sauce and hoisin sauce.

Recommendation brisket cooking recipes

Brisket sandwich

The Ingredients you’ll need to make one brisket sandwich are as follows…

  • Brisket (1 lb per person)
  • 4 hamburger buns, split in half lengthwise but not all the way through. Some of the bread should remain attached on either side of the pocket. You can use other types of bread for this dish too if you prefer!
  • 1/2 cup homemade BBQ sauce or store bought sauce if that’s easier
  • Pickles and onions, sliced thin to fit into the sandwiches easily – optional extras here would be lettuce or coleslaw too!

Directions for cooking brisket bbq pulled pork sandwiches:

Step 1: Place the brisket in a large crock pot and cover with water. Let it cook on high for 5 hours until tender and easily shreddable.

Step 2: Just before the brisket is finished cooking, preheat your oven to 350F/180C.

Step 3: Take the brisket out of the crock pot and onto a large cutting board, allow it to cool slightly so you can handle it without burning yourself! Using two forks shred the brisket into pieces. You can switch these forks out for meat claws or even kitchen shears if you have them!

Step 4: Place shredded brisket back into the crockpot and mix with desired amount of BBQ sauce (about 1/2 cup or so) – set crockpot to “warm” and allow brisket BBQ pulled pork sandwiches to stay warm while the oven is preheating.

Step 5: Once your oven is preheated, place hamburger buns on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Remove the brisket from the crockpot and onto a large cutting board and shred into pieces using two forks. Using your favorite BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought), add desired amount of sauce to the brisket in a crock pot and mix well. Set the crockpot to “warm” again and allow brisket BBQ pulled pork sandwiches to stay warm while you assemble everything else.

Step 7: Build eachet bbq pulled pork brisket sandwich by taking a bun and placing brisket on bottom half. Add lettuce, pickles, and onions if desired. Top off your brisket bbq pulled pork sandwich with top bun and serve alongside pasta salad or any other sides you enjoy!

Brisket tacos:

The Ingredients for brisket tacos are as follows:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1lb brisket sliced into strips (1/4 inch thick) 
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped small 
  • 1/2 red onion, diced small 
  • 1 green pepper, diced small 
  • 1tsp lemon or lime juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions for brisket tacos are as follows…

Step 1: Heat oil in a separate frying pan over medium heat. Step 2: Add brisket (1lb per person) and fry until crisp all around on both sides – once cooked through place on a plate with paper towels. Step 3: Cut brisket slices into strips and place back in the now empty frying pan over low heat. Step 4: Chop tomatoes, red onion, green pepper; mix ingredients together in a separate bowl with tablespoon of lime or lemon juice to prevent browning. Salt and pepper this mixture well. Set aside until the brisket is ready to assemble tacos. Make three servings. Step 5: Enjoy! You can use brisket tacos as a main or side dish!

>>> See more: How to BBQ Brisket on any standard Kettle Grill | Recipe | How to slice brisket?


We want to cut against the grain, which will make it more tender. The brisket should be sliced thin and across the grain for best results. To know how to slice a brisket, you need a sharp knife that is clean and dry with a good grip on the handle so you can maintain control of your slices as they come off ’slicing board. Make sure not to use too much pressure when slicing because this could cause an uneven thickness throughout your piece of meat!

How to slice brisket? And that’s it! This brisket preparation process is a great guideline every time you need to cut brisket for any meal. It will give good results no matter what kind of sandwich you are serving or what other accompaniments your brisket has. Now you know how to slice brisket!

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