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Brisket is something for all the family to enjoy. It is what is made at a barbecue with friends and loved ones and is something we just can’t get enough of!
The most important thing when it comes to brisket is knowing how to make it. it needs to be cooked properly, seasoned well, sliced to perfection and ready to be served.
But how do we do this?
Here, we will be guiding you through the ins and outs of brisket and teaching you how to have a high quality brisket.
What Is a Brisket?
Before delving into slicing brisket, it is first necessary to know what it is. Brisket typically refers to a beef cut from a steer, and this is cut from either the breast or lower chest of the animal.
This area of the animal is typically heavily utilized and exercised during it’s life – because of this brisket is typically a very tough cut of beef.
Due to its toughness, brisket can be difficult to perfect and must be cooked at low temperatures over a long period of time.
Understanding Brisket Point vs Flat
Understanding the basics of brisket anatomy is key if you’re going to slice it properly. A brisket has two main sections – the point and the flat.
The flat is leaner than the point and holds it’s structure nicely for those signature BBQ brisket slices. If you were to separate the flat from the point, the flat would sit… well… nice and flat. Hence the name!
The deckle is the fatty part of the meat. Because of its high fat content, this section of the brisket tends to be more tender and have just a little more flavor than the flat.
Why is understanding the difference important? To slice brisket properly, you must cut against the grain – and the grain runs in a different direction for the point than it does for the flat.
Slicing Your Brisket
If you are new to cooking brisket, there are some steps that need to be mastered. Once these steps have been mastered, you will have a beautifully cut brisket ready to be served.
Getting the Right Equipment
Before even touching the brisket, you need to have the right tools to get the job done.
What you will need is a cutting board (make sure this is big enough for the size of your brisket), and a brisket knife (this should be of high quality, long and lightly serrated or with a Granton style blade).
You want a knife that will easily cut through the BBQ bark you’ve created on the smoker, but not so serrated that it will rip your brisket to shreds.
- Ideal for briskets, roasts, ham, turkey, sides of salmon, and other large cuts of meat
- Each knife is hand-finished, with a beautiful mirror polished edge at an acute 8-10 degrees per side
Make Sure Your Brisket is Properly Rested
Rest is vital when it comes to preparing a brisket. After it has cooked, it is very important to leave your brisket to rest for at least 1 hour, 3 hours at the most.
Allowing your meat to rest not only enhances its flavor but it allows the brisket to keep its moisture.
Find the Grain
Cutting your brisket correctly requires a good sense of direction, so it is an essential part of the cutting process to look for the grain.
It is vital to cut against the grain as by doing so you are breaking up the muscle fibers, allowing tenderness.
Cutting with the grain would leave long muscle fibers in tact, which in turn, will make the brisket chewy and tough to eat.
Remember, the point and the flat’s grain run in different directions, so you won’t be slicing at the same angle across the entire brisket!
Brisket Slicing Technique
It is finally time to slice your brisket! For this, simply find the grain and slice at a 90 degree angle; when doing this, make sure to start at the flat and slice through until you hit the middle.
Once you have found your way to the middle of the meat you will see two muscle layers – stop here.
Next move on to slicing the deckle point. To do this, rotate your brisket about 60 degrees and slice starting at the point, again following the grain.
It should not be difficult to cut the point if your brisket has been cooked well. The knife used should be able to gently saw through the meat.
Serving Your Brisket
So, now you know all about slicing brisket, it is necessary to know of the best ways of serving it too. Brisket can be served in a variety of different ways.
It can be grilled and be served at a large family barbecue or you can use a smaller portion for a meaty sandwich.
Perhaps you want to take some of that brisket to sprinkle over some cheesy nachos or use it at your kid’s pizza party.
The options are endless! Brisket is a much loved meat which can be incorporated into a variety of dishes, however it can be difficult to know where to start.
Below, we will be listing some of our favorite brisket dishes and share some inspiration with you:
Sliced or Chopped?
Even though brisket is most commonly served sliced, there is a place in the world for chopped brisket!
Chop or shred your brisket and place it between two buns to create a delicious sandwich. This is the perfect BBQ lunch and also a great way to enjoy brisket leftovers.
You can also utilized chopped brisket for some BBQ tacos!
Side Ideas for Sliced Brisket
Brisket is perfect the way it is. Although there are some people who choose to experiment with different dishes once the meat has been cooked, sometimes there is nothing better than a brisket with a simple side. There are plenty of sides to choose from which will work to compliment the meat perfectly. Here are some options:
One choice is coleslaw. This is the perfect side to compliment the brisket as it is cool, light and enough to fill you up. This is recommended for barbecues as it makes for an easy side.
You can choose to make this from scratch (all you need is mayonnaise, carrots, onion, cabbage, mustard and your own mix of flavors to taste) or simply purchase from any local grocery store.
Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese with brisket is not only delicious, but is plenty enough to fill you up! You can also elevate this side by smoking it.
Don’t be afraid to treat yourself with this wholesome meal filled with a well-cooked slab of meat, pasta and a lot of cheese. This is a great choice of side and is also convenient for those picky eaters.
Corn On the Cob
Who doesn’t love corn on the cob? This side is the epitome of barbecues and is the most ideal option for brisket. Unlike the other side dishes which need to be cooked separately.
You save yourself plenty of time by cooking your corn on the cob on the already fired up grill. With this, you will be killing two birds with one stone as well as coming out with a beautifully cooked cob.
If you are not a huge fan of corn on the cob, go for something similar with creamed corn.
Creamed corn is a lovely, light side dish which compliments the brisket perfectly. The sweet and savory taste of this side dish works well together with the meaty flavor of the brisket. This is an option many will love.
Dinner rolls are a side typical of many meat dishes for they allow a full, satisfied stomach and are ideal for soaking up all that excess sauce.
You can choose to make these rolls yourself or purchase from any grocery store, and these do not need to be your generic rolls either. Any type of bread is a great side for brisket and will leave you feeling happy.
Our final favorite side dish is simple yet effective. With a heavy meat such as brisket, there are many who prefer a light side to balance the meal out.
Salad is a great option, not only for its lightness but because of how you can make it your own. Create a salad using lettuce, cucumber, sweetcorn, tomatoes, colorful peppers, whatever you desire.
How Long Does Sliced Brisket Last?
Many of us should know that when it comes to cooking brisket there is plenty to go around, and with that that means there are plenty of leftovers too. But can this be used again?
The answer to that question is a firm yes. All meat can be stored away to be eaten another day and stored, but with that said each meat is different. It is important to know the rules applying to brisket.
Storing Brisket Slices
To store your brisket, simply wrap the meat up in aluminum foil and package inside an airtight container (these containers are easily found in retailers both online and in-store).
If you choose to store this in the refrigerator, this will last a maximum of 3-4 days. In the freezer, however, you will find your brisket lasting as much as 2 months. Make sure to plan ahead before storing.
Reheating Brisket Slices
When it comes to reheating your brisket, this has to be done in a specific way too. When taking it out of the refrigerator or freezer, wait until the meat is back at room temperature before reheating.
Once it is at a suitable temperature, cover the brisket tightly with aluminum foil before placing it in the oven or smoker. Leave it in there until it is hot enough to eat.
Brisket is the crown jewel of BBQ and a meat which can be turned into a number of delicious dishes, however in order to get to that stage it needs to be made sure that the meat is prepared correctly.
Slicing brisket can be a complicated task for many, but as long as you know the steps you will be able to master it perfectly.
To summarize, what is needed to cut a brisket perfectly is a sharp knife, a 90 degree angle, and cutting along the grain.
What is also great about brisket is how there will always be some left over and there is no chance of wastage.
Feel free to store away by securely wrapping, and reheat in the oven or smoker once it is at room temperature.
There are plenty of dishes to make using brisket as well as a variety of complimentary sides. With brisket, you can’t really go wrong for this is a meat made to be unique to you.
Commonly, you will find brisket served at a family barbecue and this is because there is always plenty to go around, but with this you want to have sides to compliment the meat.
Above, we have listed a variety of options from light salads and the classic corn on the cob to filling mac and cheese.
Despite all this, however, what makes the end product of the brisket the best is how it is sliced.
This article has uncovered the best way to slice your brisket and with these steps followed you will be sure to have a deliciously cooked brisket.