Cutting a brisket is an art that you need to learn to perfection. Following the correct procedure when slicing your brisket results in a tender, melt-in-your-mouth dish that will have you and your family or guests captivated. Today, we are going to teach you how to cut brisket to get the best results. However, there is one important thing you need to do before cutting your brisket, and that is to let it rest. What is resting, and why should you let your brisket rest before cutting it? Let’s find out.
Resting a Brisket
Whether you are a beginner smoker (meat smoker) or have been in the game for a while, the worst mistake you can make is not letting your brisket rest. You will not only have ruined what would otherwise have been a great dish but also wasted your time only to provide a subpar dish that will leave you disappointed. If you’ve once caused the damage, you won’t be able to undo it. To avoid such bad circumstances, you can check our comprehensive guide on how to smoke brisket in an electric smoker.
What Does Resting Mean?
Resting any cut of meat simply means letting it sit for some time after smoking it before cutting it. If you cut the meat too early, you will ruin it. Resting a brisket gives it time to absorb all the tasty juices released while cooking, adding more flavor to the meat. Cutting into it before it rests properly will let the juices escape from the meat, leaving you with nigh-on tasteless meat with no flavor.
To rest the brisket, wrap it in foil once it reaches a temperature between 203-205 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap the brisket and the foil with some old towels and keep it in a cooler. Ensure you still leave some room for airflow if leaving in an open space, and wrap the foil tightly if you’ll be putting the meat in a cooler. If you don’t want to use the foil, unwrap the brisket once it’s done smoking and let it rest at room temperature. Leaving it in the open air won’t waste any heat; its internal temperature will keep it warm until it’s time to serve.
The most important thing to remember is not letting your brisket rest for more than two hours, as this will cool down its internal temperature too much for it to be tasty. The minimum time to let a brisket rest is around 40 minutes and the maximum is 2 hours. You can, however, break this rule if you’re resting it in a cooler with tightly wrapped foil, as you can leave it in for several hours. If you want to keep your brisket moist for a longer time, slice off only what you will eat. The rest should be left whole.
Slicing a Brisket: A Step-by-step Guide
Here are the steps to follow when cutting a brisket after its beauty rest.
1. Cut the Brisket into Two Sections Crosswise
There are two major parts to a brisket – the flat and the point. These two parts have muscle fibers running in two different directions. You want to cut the brisket crosswise in half to separate these two parts, so you have each half with the fibers running in the same direction.
Cut it to split the flat and the point.
2. Trim the Excess Fat
Brisket generally has a lot of fat, and not removing it can make it feel and taste greasy. To prevent this, trim the excess fat from the top of your brisket.
3. Separate the Tip
This part of the brisket is often overcooked as it is the smallest part of the cut. Cut the tip-off to remove the overcooked bit. You can slice it up and serve as burnt ends.
4. Slice the Brisket Flat
Once the previous preparation is done, you now move on to the actual slicing of the brisket. Begin by slicing the flat first. Make long, smooth strokes and try to make them equal. Ensure you cut against the grain of the meat.
5. Slice the Point
Once finished with the flat, move on to the point and cut it in half. Cut the halves lengthwise to avoid ending up with little slices that you would get if you cut width-wise. You also want to cut the point against the grain in the same way you did with the flat. Make sure you find the correct grain direction and cut across it.
What is the Regular Slice of Texas-style Barbecued Brisket
A perfect slice of a Texas-style barbecued brisket has the same thickness as a no.2 pencil. Try as best you can that all your slices, both the flat and the point, are of the same thickness, for uniformity.
Before cutting your brisket, there are two major factors to consider. One is the resting of the brisket, and the second is the equipment to use. You want to use only the best, and investing in a proper brisket slicing knife and chopping board is one of the best decisions you can make.
We recommend the Victorinox Swiss Army Brisket Slicing Knife. This knife is one of the best for slicing and carving meats. It has a long, narrow body with a razor-sharp edge that slices through meat in a single motion, giving you that smooth cut you want in your brisket. Its high-carbon stainless steel blade helps you get smaller and more uniform slices and has an ergonomic handle for easy handling.
For a cutting board, try the Sonder Los Angeles Large Thick Non-Slip Wood Cutting Board. Thanks to the strong and sturdy wood that is used for making this board you’ll cut your brisket with ease. The board is also non-slip, so you don’t have to worry about the brisket sliding off from the fat.
A good and juicy smoked brisket is one of the best things you can eat. Combine that with proper resting time and a well-sliced brisket, and you have a perfect meal you can sit back and enjoy. You can combine the slices with whatever accompaniment you choose or eat it as is; it’s all up to you.
Learn how to reheat brisket and keep it juicy
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