Mastering The Art of Brisket Cutting – A Step-by-Step Guide

how to cut brisket


Brisket is often hailed as the holy grail of barbecue, known for its succulent, smoky flavor and tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice griller, knowing how to cut brisket properly is a skill that can make or break your barbecue experience. In this article, we will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to cut brisket like a pro, ensuring that every slice is a mouthwatering delight.

Selecting the Perfect Brisket

Before we dive into the cutting process, it’s crucial to choose the right brisket. A great brisket starts with a quality cut of meat. Look for a whole packer brisket, which includes both the flat and point cuts. The flat is leaner, while the point is fattier and more flavorful. Together, they create the ideal balance for a delicious barbecue.

Tools You’ll Need

To cut brisket effectively, gather the following tools

  • A sharp, long-blade slicing knife
  • A cutting board
  • Heat-resistant gloves or meat claws
  • Aluminum foil

Rest the Brisket

After you’ve cooked your brisket to perfection, it’s essential to let it rest before cutting. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring that the meat remains moist and tender. Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil and place it in an insulated cooler or a warm oven for at least 30 minutes, although 1-2 hours is ideal.

Trim Excess Fat

Before slicing, trim any excessive fat from the brisket’s surface. A thin layer of fat is desirable as it adds flavor, but removing the heavy fat can enhance the overall presentation and ease of slicing.

Slicing the Brisket

Now comes the moment of truth – slicing the brisket. Follow these steps to ensure perfect slices

Identify the Grain

Before you start slicing, identify the direction of the grain. The grain refers to the muscle fibers running through the meat. For brisket, the grain usually runs in one direction – along the length of the meat. Cutting against the grain ensures tenderness in every bite.

Separate the Point and Flat

Begin by separating the point and flat cuts. These two sections have distinct characteristics, so it’s best to slice them separately. You’ll find a natural seam that runs diagonally across the brisket. Using your slicing knife, cut along this seam, and separate the point from the flat.

Slice the Flat

Start with the flat cut. Position your knife perpendicular to the grain and make thin, even slices, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Using a slicing motion, cut along the length of the brisket, maintaining the angle of your knife to ensure you’re cutting against the grain. This technique will result in tender, bite-sized pieces of meat with maximum flavor.

Slice the Point

Moving on to the point, which is fattier and more flavorful, you can cut it into cubes or slice it thinly, similar to the flat. When slicing the point, you can angle your knife slightly to make thicker pieces, as the extra fat content keeps it moist and flavorful.

Remember the Burnt Ends

The burnt ends, a beloved barbecue delicacy, come from the point cut. To prepare them, cube the point into 1-inch pieces and return them to the smoker or grill. Smoke them for an additional hour or until they develop a delicious caramelized crust.

Arrange for Serving

Once you’ve sliced both the flat and point, arrange the slices on a serving platter or individual plates. Keep the slices neatly organized, which will not only enhance the presentation but also make it easier for your guests to serve themselves.


Do you cut brisket with or against the grain?

You want to cut against the grain. As mentioned above, the brisket has two parts which can make this a little tricky, but nothing you can’t tackle. The grain of any meat is the alignment of muscle fibers. When intact, the muscle fibers are strong and chewy.

What is the rule for brisket?

Go “slow and low.” The best way to turn a tough cut of brisket into a tender delight is to cook it slowly at a low temperature. A general rule of thumb is that it takes about 30-60 minutes per pound of brisket.


Mastering the art of cutting brisket is a fundamental skill for any barbecue enthusiast. The right tools, a well-rested brisket, and the knowledge of how to cut against the grain are the keys to serving up succulent, mouthwatering slices of brisket. Whether you’re cooking for friends and family or entering a barbecue competition, these techniques will help you create a memorable and delicious meal that will have everyone coming back for seconds. So, fire up the smoker, grab your knife, and get ready to impress with your brisket-cutting prowess.

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