The brisket flat is one of two large, boneless cuts of beef from the brisket, or breast meat. Brisket flat is ideal for low and slow cooking, and the intramuscular fat in the cut creates a tender, beefy bite.
Brisket flat is one of the few cuts of beef that doesn't go by any other names. The flat is sometimes sold as part of a brisket labeled whole packer, full packer, or simply packer. This cut includes the brisket and the flat.
The best ways to cook a brisket flat.
Brisket flat delivers terrific flavor as long as you season it well and cook it slowly. Brisket meat is tough if cooked quickly, but when cooked slowly, the intramuscular fat melts and tenderizes the meat.
The long cooking process is ideal for delivering additional flavor to the beef. For the dry heat of smoking, apply a spice rub before cooking. For wet heat methods like braising or boiling, include aromatics and spices in the cooking liquid.
Smoking is the best way to cook brisket flat on your Traeger. To smoke a brisket, apply a dry rub to the brisket flat and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours to allow the rub to set. Then smoke at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 to 9 hours until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees.
Brisket flat is one of the best cuts for smoking. Brisket is considered the king cut of Texas barbecue.
Expect to pay about $10 per pound for USDA Choice brisket flat at your warehouse store, supermarket, or butcher.
Specialty cuts like grass-fed brisket may cost $15 per pound or more. At the high end, Japanese Wagyu brisket may go for as much as $75 per pound.
Brisket flat should be cooked until it is very tender, but not mushy. Aim for an internal temperature of 195 to 200 degrees. The brisket will continue cooking up to approximately 203 to 205 degrees while it rests.
If measuring by touch, pick the brisket up with tongs. It should droop slightly, but not completely fold or fall apart.
Brisket flat is ideal for smoking, and is also good for braising, boiling, and other long-cooking methods. Brisket is bad for direct grilling, roasting, or other high heat methods that will dry out the meat.
The brisket fat cut and point cut (or deckle) are two different parts of the brisket. The flat cut is thinner and slightly leaner than the point cut. The point is traditionally used for old-fashioned corned beef.
Dry brisket flat meat is caused by high temperatures during cooking. If you used an indoor oven or traditional smoker, your brisket may have been too close to the heat source, or your cooking area may have hot spots.
Brisket flat must be fully thawed before cooking. Never cook it when fully frozen. The frozen parts of the meat will warm to temperatures where dangerous bacteria can form.
Brisket flat has a thick layer of fat that a butcher will usually trim. Leaving a thin layer of fat helps the meat stay moist. If the layer is too thick, the meat will take longer to cook, and may have an unpleasantly greasy texture. At Traeger, we recommend leaving a quarter inch layer of fat. If your butcher left a thicker layer, you may want to trim it slightly.
Brisket is considered the king of Texas barbecue. Because Texas has so many ranches, beef was the predominant meat in the area. Before the days of refrigeration, any meat that had been butchered would spoil — unless it was smoked. Large cuts of beef that weren't easy to cook (like brisket) would end up getting slow-smoked over the oak wood common to Central Texas.
Brisket is a popular meat for braising and boiling around the world. Braised brisket is a popular holiday dish in Jewish cultures. You'll often find brisket on offer as a sliced meat to go with Vietnamese pho.
In Korea, jangjorim is beef that is boiled then braised in soy sauce. The resulting meat is extremely salty, so it's served in small portions as a side dish.
In the United Kingdom, brisket is often used for pot roast.
The French term for brisket flat is "morceau de poitrine sans os épluché" which translates approximately to "piece of peeled boneless breast." In Spanish, the term used is "pecho sin tapa" or "chest without top."
National Cattlemen's Beef Association identifies the brisket flat with UPC number 1622. The NAMP (National Association of Meat Purveyors) and IMPS (Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications) code for brisket flat is 120A. This code is used by wholesale meat buyers.
According to the USDA, a 6-ounce portion of braised brisket flat contains 334 calories, 56.4 grams of protein, and 10.2 grams of fat.
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