How to Slice a Brisket (Cooked & Raw Guide)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: December 5, 2023

If you’ve ever tried to slice a brisket but messed it all up or your smoked meat turned out tough, don’t worry - we have detailed explanations on the best way to perfectly slice your brisket with advice taken from some meat gurus like Stephanie Pierson.

Quick Summary

  • Slicing a brisket involves cutting against the grain, separating the point from the flat, and then slicing the pieces into thin slices.
  • Cutting a raw brisket in half reduces cooking time and helps monitor internal temperature, while shaping edges and shaving fat ensures even cooking.
  • Letting the brisket rest before slicing and covering it with foil after slicing helps redistribute juices and complete the cooking process.

The article will establish the importance of slicing a brisket the right way and what happens when you cut it wrong.

We will discuss the detailed steps of slicing brisket and how to separate the point from the brisket flat.

The Importance Of Slicing A Brisket Correctly

using knife on meat

You might think it doesn’t matter how you cut your packer brisket with a sharp knife because it’s all going into your tummy anyway.

But there is a wrong way, and as Psychotherapist and Top Brisket Maker Phyllis Cohen says, “With all other foods, there is a right way and a wrong way. With brisket, there’s only ‘my way.’” [1]

When you slice a brisket, it will show visible marbling. That is what you want. In addition, that is where the majority of the juices and flavor is.

When your brisket is raw and you cut it in the recommended form, your sliced brisket will cook more evenly. It will also be easier to place down when cooking.

What Happens If You Slice A Whole Brisket Wrong?

If you slice a whole brisket the wrong way, you may end up losing a lot of the juices, and it will lead to chewy bites.

If you do not cut your raw brisket in half before cooking, your cooking time will be much longer, and it will be tricky to track the internal temperature and ensure your meat gets cooked properly.

Keep in mind that you will also have to use a good quality knife in cutting the meat and make sure that every slice you make is smooth.

Should You Slice The Entire Brisket?

Once you have cooked your brisket, you can cut the entire brisket for serving.

As long as you cut it in the recommended direction against the grain and remember to half the point (we will discuss this in the steps of slicing a brisket), your brisket slices will turn out perfectly.

If you slice your brisket when it is still raw, cutting it in half will cut down the required cooking time and help you easily monitor the internal temperature.

Try to slice off thick fat, but leave some to help with juices and flavor. The fat also allows the meat to cook better.

Steps Of Slicing A Cooked Brisket

freshly cooked brisket getting sliced

Follow these steps to slice a cooked brisket: 

  1. Place your brisket on the flat surface/cutting board. You will notice a flat and straight end on one side (the long way). The opposite end will have a round pointed part. You want to cut it in half with a brisket knife to separate the flat and pointed ends.
  2. Take your pointed half, and slice it in half again from the point down. Now you will have 3 pieces of brisket meat.
  3. Now, slice all 3 of your brisket pieces into thin slices against the grain. Ensure that it is against the grain and not any other way, or you will end up with chewy bites.

Serve your brisket slices with your desired side dishes and enjoy!

Steps Of Slicing A Raw Brisket

meat on a cutting board

Follow these steps to slice a whole raw brisket: 

  1. Remove the heel fat (the excess fat piece on the deckle – side of the meat) and clean the bottom of the flesh.
  2. Cut down the hump on the point of the brisket to trim excess fat on a cutting board.
  3. Shape the edges of the brisket
  4. Shave down the top fat – this removed excess fat while still keeping a significant amount on for increased flavor and improved cooking [2].
  5. You can repeat the third and fourth steps until you are satisfied.
  6. If you want to slice the brisket in half (which helps reduce cooking time), cut it sideways from down the hump towards the flat side, retaining the inner fat. You can shave the fat as needed.

How Do You See The Grain Of A Brisket

raw brisket meat

The grains on a brisket look like strings running along with the meat. It is strands of muscle fibers running through the meat.

By placing your brisket down on a flat surface, you can figure it out. After that, study the brisket to see which muscle fibers are running.

Do not cut in the same direction the lines run. Cut against the lines.

If you follow the steps above on how to slice a cooked brisket, you won’t have to be concerned with looking for the grain because the steps guide you through cutting the meat precisely in the way you need to – against the grain.

Should You Slice Or Chop A Brisket?

The deciding factor between sliced and chopped brisket should depend on how you plan to serve the meat.

If you want to use it for beef sandwiches, tacos, and wraps, use the point cut and make your desired chopped brisket chunks.

If you want to serve your brisket on a fancy platter, with some side dishes like mashed potatoes, salads, and a delicious gravy, then it's better to slice brisket correctly instead.

Also Read: How to Cut Bone

More Tips For Slicing A Brisket

smoked brisket
  • Remember to let your beef brisket rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing it. That helps the juices redistribute to the meat’s center and finish the cooking process.
  • You can cover the sliced brisket with a piece of foil. Covering it with foil will slow down the cooling process, allowing it to entirely complete the cooking process within the center of the meat. If you use a sharp slicing knife too early, the inside of the meat will cool down faster and release the juices, making it tough.

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About the author

Timothy Woods
CEO / Co-Founder
Timothy Woods holds a Kinesiology and Exercise Science degree from Jacksonville University and is CCC & GMU Certified. He's also the main man behind Carnivore Style. This food aficionado combines science and experience to spread the word about the carnivore lifestyle.
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