What Is Brisket? Where to Buy and How to Cook It

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Ever wonder what exactly is brisket?

If you like BBQ, you are probably acquainted with the popular basics.

Pulled pork and smoked chicken quarters are self-explanatory, but brisket is not for everyone, particularly those inexperienced with Texas barbecue.

You’ve had brisket if you’ve had pastrami or corned meat.

Few items in the world provide such a satisfying and luscious outcome when prepared properly. But it takes time, work, and consideration to make that magic happen.

We’ll go through where brisket comes from on the cow, how to purchase one, and some of the best methods to prepare brisket.

What is beef brisket?

What Is Brisket? Where to Buy and How to Cook It

Brisket is essentially two overlapping muscles from the beef or veal breast or lower chest. This muscle performs all of the hard work when it comes to keeping the cow upright.

It is one of nine beef primal cuts.

Brisket becomes highly thick as a result of having a functioning pair of muscles and is one of the least delicate cuts of beef available.

A complete or packer brisket is composed of two cuts: a lean point cut and a fattier flat cut.

What makes brisket special?

What Is Brisket? Where to Buy and How to Cook It

Brisket is a tough piece of meat.

That being said, when cooked low and slow, brisket becomes tender and flavorful. To create softness, low and slow cooking breaks down the collagen in the connective muscle tissues.

Brisket may be cooked in a variety of ways, including smoking, braising, and slow roasting. Because we’re all about barbecue here, we’ll go through how to slow smoke your brisket to add depth of flavor from the wood.

What are the different cuts of brisket?

Brisket is normally available in three cuts: full packer, flat, and point. Each cut has its own distinct characteristics and appeal.

Full Packer 

This cut consists of the flat and point portions of the brisket separated by a thick layer of fat. On average, this might weigh anything from 8 to 20 pounds.

A fat layer stretches along the top. Before cooking, this fat is normally cut to a quarter-inch thickness.

The Flat

The flat is the lean, central portion of the brisket. When ordered from a butcher, it is referred to as the initial cut or flat cut.

Because it is a heavily exercised muscle, it has a low fat content. This is the cut most often used for corned beef and pastrami.

The Point

The brisket’s fatty end is the point. It stands on top of the flat and contains much more intramuscular fat than its counterpart.

Because of its high fat content, this cut produces a more tender and moist brisket. Also known as the second cut.

We have a more detailed brisket point versus flat post that compares the two.

Buying beef brisket

Brisket has been more popular in recent years, particularly as fast-casual restaurant companies have entered the brisket market.

Because of its popularity, it is simpler to find in your local grocery shop, but it also raises the price per pound.

Check out your local farmers, farmers markets, and butcher shops whenever feasible.

These are excellent local sources for high-quality, ethically grown meats that you would not find at a supermarket store chain.

A little forethought may generate wonderful benefits and help you invest money back into your community.

If you can’t locate a decent local brisket supplier, you can always get top-quality American Wagyu brisket from Snake River Farms or one of the several online meat delivery services.

Brisket may normally be available in the meat area of your local grocery store, but the cuts are frequently restricted and not suitable for smoking.

Smoking your brisket 

When it comes down to it, smoking a brisket is really simple. The following is a high-level summary of the procedure. See our guide on smoking your first brisket for a more in-depth look.

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225-250°F. Use hardwoods such as oak, hickory, or whatever is local to your area and easily available.
  2. Trim the brisket Check out HeyGrillHey’s brisket trimming guide.
  1. Brisket should be seasoned or rubbed. This may be as basic as kosher salt and coarse ground pepper, or as sophisticated as using mustard as a binder with a more complex rub mix.
  2. Brisket should be smoked. Place the brisket on the rack, fat side up, during this first step, and do not open the cooker. Keep it closed and stable for 3 to 4 hours to allow the bark from your seasoning or rub to develop.
  3. Spritz the brisket Every hour for the following 5 to 7 hours. If you’re using a liquid like apple juice or Worcestershire sauce, this step is optional but advised to protect the top from charring, provide moisture, and offer a subtle depth of flavor.
  4. Wrap your brisket with foil. Then return to the smoker. Check out our brisket wrapping guide.
  5. Continue to Smoke When the internal temperature of the beef registers 200 205 degrees in the thickest area, you know it’s almost done.
  6. Allow your brisket to rest. Pull your brisket and set it aside for at least 1 hour to let the juices to reabsorb. You may keep it warm in an insulated cooler until you’re ready to serve your guests.
  7. Cut and serve Check out our brisket slicing guide.

Other brisket recipes

There are several different ways to prepare brisket besides smoking.

Let’s look at some more tried-and-true brisket recipes:

  • Brisket Braised in Red Wine Red wine-braised brisket with veggies
  • Oven Brisket in the Style of Texas Brisket smeared with liquid smoke and cooked in the oven over a water bath. A fantastic solution for individuals who do not smoke.
  • Chili with leftover barbecued brisket This savory chili recipe makes the most of leftover beef.

If you want to take things a step further and get into the curing game, try these recipes:

  • Brisket of Corned Beef Beef brisket preserved using a brine curing procedure similar to pickling. Traditionally associated with Irish and Jewish food.
  • Pastrami Cured in the same way as corned beef, but cooked on a smoker to give additional layer of flavor to the finished product.

Storing your brisket

Raw brisket may be kept in its packaging in the refrigerator for 5 to 8 days.

Brisket may be frozen for 6 to 12 months if it is packaged airtight.

Allow it to defrost in the refrigerator ahead of time if frozen. This usually takes a few days, so prepare ahead of time.

Brisket may be wrapped and kept in the refrigerated for 4 days after cooking, or frozen for up to 2 months when wrapped and placed in an airtight container.

Now you know brisket

Now that you know the ins and outs of brisket, you may go with confidence on your barbecue adventure.

Get out there and start practicing! Let the meat do its thing as you play with fire. The more you cook brisket, the better you’ll become at it and the more you’ll understand its intricacies.

If you want to try smoking brisket, try our hot and quick brisket recipe, where we teach you how to obtain smoky, tender brisket without the 12+ hour wait period.

Let us know in the comments if you’re up for the challenge! Please forward this post to a pitmaster in training, and if you need taste testers, we’ll be happy to help.


What is a brisket called in the grocery store?

What Is the Grocery Store’s Name for Brisket? A “full-packer” brisket is an entire brisket that includes both the tip and the flat. A “flat” or “half” brisket may just comprise the flat. Packages of meat are sometimes simply labeled “brisket” with no more information.

What is the best method for cooking a brisket?

Sear the brisket over medium coals or over a hot fire for 20 minutes each side. Allow roughly 1 hour of cooking time per pound after searing. Slowly cook at a low temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking temperatures should be measured in a closed pit or grill using an oven thermometer placed near the brisket.

How do you buy brisket at the grocery store?

3 Brisket Buying Hints
Determine the cut you want. Beef brisket is divided into two pieces by a layer of fat.
Purchase the appropriate size. Brisket may be chopped as little as two pounds and as big as 14 pounds, as previously stated.
Don’t be concerned about the marbling.

What meat is brisket at grocery store?

Brisket is a big cut of meat derived from the beef or veal breast. It is a tough cut with a lot of connective tissue and a layer of fat cap on top, as well as fat marbled throughout the cow.

How long does it take to cook a brisket?

Our general rule of thumb is to allow 30-60 minutes per pound. A 16-pound brisket, for example, will take 10 to 12 hours to cook at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Trimming, injection, seasoning, and cooking will all take between 18 and 20 hours. Allow yourself plenty of time.

How do you cook a brisket for the first time?

There are a few important measures to take:
Trim the brisket.
Simply but generously season your brisket.
Set your smoker to 225°F to 250°F, or use hardwood chips and indirect heat to make your own smoker.
Place your brisket in the smoker, fat side up.
Cook your way through the stall.

How do you cook brisket so it’s not tough?

We roast our brisket at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (F) using Northwest cherry or apple wood. This temperature will cause the connective tissue to break down, rendering part of the intramuscular fat, preserving the softness and juicy taste.

How much does 1 brisket cost?

A raw brisket may cost between $3 and $6 per pound at a local grocery shop for Select grade beef, the lowest grade. USDA Choice and USDA Prime briskets cost $5 to $10 per pound and are noted for their superior quality and quantity of marbling (fat).

How much is a 1 lb brisket?

lb. A full brisket weighs between 8 and 20 pounds. That is, you should budget between $32 to $120 per brisket.Calculator for the Amount of Cooked Brisket

I usually aim for USDA choice grade or above, which costs roughly $4-6.

Is chuck roast the same as brisket?

Chuck roast is derived from the cow’s forequarter. It might originate from the neck, shoulder blade, or upper arm. Meanwhile, beef brisket is derived from the breast and lower chest.

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