The beef brisket, precisely the point of beef brisket, can be used to make various barbecue dishes and recipes, including pulled or chopped brisket, beef barbecue sandwiches, beef stew, smoked beef brisket, and more.
So, what part of the cow is beef brisket? Brisket comes from the breast of the cow and usually comes in two parts; the flat (the more significant portion of the brisket) and the point (the smaller portion of the brisket).
What Are Parts Of The Cow Used For Beef Brisket?
The brisket comes from an area in front of a cow’s foreleg. It also contains several muscles that are separated during processing. This piece is used as a base for other cuts, including brisket and flat iron steak.
These include pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, serratus ventralis, and triceps brachii. While these muscles can be purchased separately, they are often sold together as a packer cut or flat cut brisket. If you want to know more about beef brisket cuts, read on!
Beef briskets come from cows, which means they are made up of different muscle groups.
There are two main types of Beef Brisket.
- Red meat
- White meat (beef)
Red meat includes slow-twitch muscle fibers that require lots of oxygen but don’t move much when contracted.
White meat consists primarily of fast-twitch muscle fibers that contract quickly but need less oxygen to do so effectively.
Brisket cuts typically contain a combination of both red and white meat. There are several major muscle groups in a beef brisket: pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, serratus ventralis, and triceps brachii.
Know About the Different Cuts of Beef Brisket
The beef brisket has become a popular cut of meat in recent years, but many people are still unaware of what it is and how to cook it properly.
Brisket is one of the leanest cuts of beef available and comes from the breast or lower chest area, making it an ideal cut for those watching their fat intake or trying to lose weight.
Brisket can be incredibly tender and flavorful when cooked properly, and it’s an easy cut to prepare at home, especially if you know your way around the grill!
The First Cut – Flat Cut
The flat cut is also known as a first cut or a first cut brisket. It comes from the upper portion of beef brisket, near where it connects with ribs.
The thickness will range from about 1/4-inch (about 0.6 cm) thick to 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Since it’s less fatty than other cuts, you’ll have better luck dry-roasting it than braising it.
Second Cut – Point End (or Deckle)
A Point End brisket comes from that end of a whole brisket with its thick Deckle removed. It is most often used for corned beef and pastrami since it is easier to trim and prepare into steaks after cooking.
It can also be sliced into thin pieces, with some fat trimmed off, and served as a roast. The Point End will have more fat on it than a flat cut, but that fat makes it an ideal place for marbling — helping add more flavor to cooking!
Third Cut – Square End (or Fatty)
This cut is from the thick section at one end of a whole packer brisket. It’s called fatty because it has more marbling than other cuts, and fat equals flavor in barbecue. That said, you’ll want to trim most of that fat before cooking.
The reward for your efforts? Lean slices with a bit of chewiness and plenty of smoke-kissed flavors. It is where most people start when they experiment with brisket smoking or when serving meat at an informal gathering.
Fourth Cut – Outside Round or Eye Of Round
This cut is taken from between and just above the knee. It has a triangular shape, with slightly less marbling than other cuts.
Because it is so lean, it can be dry if cooked incorrectly. However, it becomes a rich and delicious slice of meat. When simmered, like barbecued brisket first three cuts are preferred by those seeking more flavor in their meal.
Fifth Cut – Chuck Flap (or Under Blade)
The fifth cut called chuck flap or under the blade, is very tender and flavorful. It can be prepared as a rolled roast and served hot or roasted with vegetables to make a great hot meal.
Because of its rich flavor and tenderness, it makes an excellent pot roast. Since very little fat is usually attached to the chuck flap, it should be trimmed fairly well before cooking.
Sixth Cut – Plate/Skirt Steak/Bavette
It is a bit more obscure than other cuts and can sometimes be confused with flank steak. The bavette is closer in flavor and texture to skirt steak, so keep that in mind when cooking it.
The plate cut has one primary muscle, but you can sometimes find thin strips of flat iron inside if you look for them. These flanken-style pieces are also part of bavette or skirt steak cuts.
How to Store a Brisket?
To store brisket, unwrap it from any packaging and place it in a sealed plastic bag. If you plan on freezing beef brisket, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or freezer wrap. The meat can be stored in a refrigerator for up to five days.
For optimal quality and taste, cook frozen or fresh cuts immediately upon removal from refrigeration or thawing. Never refreeze once they have been previously frozen. Both methods should keep beef brisket for up to one month.
When cooking brisket that has been frozen, it is best to add more time during preparation as meat that has been frozen will take longer to cook through than fresh cuts.
You should also use a slow cooker when cooking previously-frozen meat as it tends to come out more tender and juicier than if cooked on an open-flame grill.
How To Cut and Prepare Beef Brisket?
First, you’ll want to remove any excess fat. This will help create a more flavorful finished product. Use a sharp knife or ask your butcher to trim it down for you.
When selecting your brisket, aim for one that’s smaller in size so that it will cook through before drying out (most range from 3 to 6 pounds). Once trimmed, place in a large zip-top bag and add 1⁄2 cup of red wine and 1⁄4 cup Worcestershire sauce. Plan on about 1 pound per person once cooked.
Seal and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain off the marinade into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half, then set aside for later use as part of your braising liquid.
Next, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove meat from the refrigerator and transfer it to a roasting pan with low sides (this makes it easier to sear). Pat dry with paper towels, season liberally with salt and pepper, then sear all sides in an oiled skillet over high heat until browned—about 2 minutes per side.
Place the pan in the oven and roast for 2 hours 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing against the grain. If desired, serve with reserved marinade spooned over the top.
Should I Cook Corned Beef in Water or A Pressure Cooker?
There are advantages and disadvantages to each cooking method for corned beef. Corned beef, when cooked in a pressure cooker, comes out very tender and juicy with a full-bodied flavor.
If you are planning on making corned beef as part of your traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast or if you are planning on serving it at another type of Irish-themed gathering, then a pressure cooker may be just what you need.
The downside to using a pressure cooker is that it can cook corned beef much faster than expected. Overcooking your meat can result in an unpleasant texture.
It’s essential to keep an eye on your meat while it cooks so that you don’t end up with tough meat. The other disadvantage of a pressure cooker is that it requires more attention than simply cooking corn beef in water.
How Much Fat Should You Remove From A Brisket?
You should trim as much fat as possible. Generally, a lot of fat needs to be cut from a brisket. The USDA recommends that 25% or more should be removed before cooking; they also say trimming as much as 75% is okay.
Fat will become crispy and crunchy in your smoker, which means it could burn and leave undesirable flavors in your meat. Also, fat doesn’t taste good. So remove as much of it as possible without cutting into any actual meat—the goal is to remove most of it while leaving some behind for flavor.
And if you accidentally cut into some meat, remove a little bit more fat, so everything is evened out. Don’t stress about getting every last bit of fat off your brisket; get as much off as possible.