What Part of the Cow is Brisket – A Beginner’s Guide to Beef Cuts

what part of the cow is brisket

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As a passionate barbecue enthusiast, I can promise you that nothing compares to the delight of perfectly smoked brisket. However, for those who have just begun their journey into the world of beef cuts and grilling, it is natural to be confused by what this delicious cut actually entails! For these reasons (and more), I am determined to offer an introductory guide on everything related to brisket – so everyone can indulge in its savory flavor.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • What part of the cow is brisket?
  • How to cook a brisket?
  • How to slice a brisket?
  • And much more!

Ready to use your cooking skills and make juicy, flavorful brisket? Whether you’re already experienced in barbecuing or just getting started – I’ve got everything covered here! Now let’s get grilling!

What is Brisket?

Brisket is an incredibly popular cut of beef that is one of the favorite ingredients of any barbecue enthusiast. This tough yet flavorful meat requires slow cooking to become tender and succulent. It truly brings out its peak flavor when smoked, barbecued, or cooked low-and-slow – leaving you with a juicy morsel every time!

sealed raw brisket

Brisket is split into two sections: the flat cut and the point cut. The flat part is thinner and more consistent, whereas the point section possesses a higher fat content and an irregular shape. Its bark, upon smoking, yields a rich flavor, making it quite popular among BBQ fanatics!

What Part of the Cow is Brisket?

Brisket originates from the lower chest of a cow, near its breast area. This section is an intensely worked muscle group that adds layers of flavor and texture to the meat. The brisket cut consists of pectoral muscles, responsible for bearing and maneuvering the animal’s weight.

cow cuts illustration

To be specific, the brisket is situated between a cow’s front legs and spans from its rib cage to its abdomen. This region of the cow is heavily muscled and packed with connective tissue, which renders it an arduous cut that necessitates slow cooking in order for the collagen to break down, producing tenderness.

Importantly, brisket cut is a combination of the flat and point cuts, which are two distinct muscles from the same region on the cow. The flat slice is located at the lower section of the brisket, whereas one can find the point cut near its shoulder in the upper area.

Knowing what part of the cow is brisket is important for us to know what cooking method is needed to achieve that juicy and tender meat.

What Part of the Cow is Ribeye?

An incredibly popular selection of beef, the Ribeye cut originates from ribs six through twelve in the rib primal section. Located mid-way between the cow’s shoulder (chuck) and back (short loin), this area yields a succulent, flavorsome cut that is sure to tantalize your taste buds!

raw seasoned ribeye steak

The juicy, flavorful ribeye is the boneless counterpart of the delectable rib roast. Cut from the center of this large cut of meat; it contains plenty of intramuscular fat that contributes to its intense marbling and succulent texture. Whether grilled or pan-seared, a good ribeye will bring out your inner chef!

When it comes to ribeye, several variations can satisfy any craving. The classic bone-in ribeye is cut from the full prime rib roast with all of its natural bones attached for a more robust flavor and texture. Alternatively, boneless ribeye is crafted by removing the ribs prior to slicing them into individual pieces for a leaner taste sensation.

Lastly, if you’re looking for something smaller without sacrificing quality, go with the popular choice – Ribeye steak! Cut from the same boneless prime section as its predecessor yet having undergone an extra step of being sliced thinner than normal, this juicy piece of meat makes the perfect entrée no matter what special occasion or mealtime you have planned!

Read more >> Porterhouse vs. Ribeye.

What Part of the Cow is T-Bone?

The infamously delicious T-bone steak is renowned for its unmistakable “T” shaped bone and succulent taste. It’s derived from the cow’s short loin, which can be found just after the rib zone near the back of the cow.

The T-bone steak is a delectable cut of meat that satisfies any steak aficionado. It combines two steaks in one, with the juicy tenderness of the filet on one side and the marvelous flavor of the strip steak on the other – making it an ideal dish for those craving both taste and texture!

Crafting the perfect T-bone steak is achievable with a bit of practice and vigilant attention to detail. Utilize high heat and fast cooking techniques such as grilling or broiling, then let your culinary skills shine! When you’ve completed this simple process, what’s left behind will be an exquisite meal that will leave lasting memories for all who partake.

Read more >> Ribeye vs. T-bone.

How to Choose a Brisket?

Selecting the proper brisket is indispensable to achieving a delicious finished dish. When shopping for your next brisket, make sure to consider these factors:

quality brisket

Grade – The USDA grades briskets according to the marbling and maturity of the beef. Prime or Choice grades encompass more marbling, making them tenderer and more savory than other lower-graded meats.

Weight – When selecting the perfect brisket, take into account your cooking supplies and the number of people you plan to feed. You can find options ranging from petite 3-pound cuts up to substantial 15-pound cuts!

Thickness – To achieve even cooking and the ideal texture, select a uniformly thick brisket from end to end. This will help guarantee your desired results in terms of cook time and textures.

Color – To determine a brisket’s freshness and top-notch quality, its color must be examined. For instance, seek out cuts that have bright red flesh contrasted with white fat–a telltale sign of utter freshness!

Certification – To ensure you’re receiving exactly what you paid for, examine the package for a certification label when searching for particular types of brisket, like grass-fed or organic.

Ultimately, when selecting a brisket, you must consider its grade, weight, thickness, hue, and certification. You’ll be guaranteed success with an enjoyable meal by picking the ideal brisket for your culinary needs.

How to Cook a Brisket?

The time-consuming art of cooking a brisket can be intimidating, but the delicious results make it worth every minute. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how you too can master the perfect brisket:

seasoned brisket
  • Season the brisket – Maximize the flavor of your brisket by generously seasoning it with a rub or blend you love. For optimum results, let the meat sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour, as this will give time for the spices and herbs to penetrate through it.
  • Preheat the smoker or oven – If you plan to use a smoker, ensure it is preheated to at least 225-250°F. For an oven, ensure that the heat settings are at 250°F prior to starting your cooking!
  • Smoke or roast the brisket – For the most tantalizing brisket, smoke or roast its fat side up until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Add wood chips and chunks to create a flavorful smoky aroma if smoking. With this method, you can be assured that your brisket will become juicy and tender perfection!
wrapped brisket
  • Wrap the brisket – Remove the brisket from the smoker or oven and wrap it in butcher paper or aluminum foil; this helps to lock in moisture and create a juicy, tender brisket.
  • Continue cooking – Once the brisket is wrapped, place it back in your smoker or oven and let it continue cooking until its internal temperature reaches a peak of 195-205°F. This could take several hours based on the size of the meat itself!
  • Rest the brisket – After the brisket is cooked to perfection, take it out of the smoker or oven and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. This gives time for all juices to be evenly saturated throughout, making your final product an even more succulent delight!
  • Slice and serve – For optimal tenderness, slice the brisket against the grain and serve alongside your beloved BBQ sauce or any other preferable condiments.

By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to creating a delectable brisket that will wow everyone! It’s no secret – cooking a brisket takes patience and time. Still, the result is worth all the effort with its juicy texture and delightful flavor.

Read more >> How long to smoke brisket at 225?

Why is Smoking the Preferred Cooking Method for Brisket?

The preferred way of cooking brisket is by smoking it because it involves slow cooking at low heat. This helps to break down the connective tissue and fat, resulting in tender and juicy meat that easily falls apart. On the other hand, grilling at high temperatures can result in tough and dry meat that lacks the rich flavor of smoked brisket.

Furthermore, smoking adds a rich and smoky taste to the meat that is highly desired by many individuals. This taste is created by smoking the meat with wood smoke, which can be personalized to produce various flavor profiles based on the kind of wood utilized.

Finally, smoking is a popular choice among brisket enthusiasts because it allows pitmasters to have more control over the cooking process. They can adjust the temperature, humidity, and smoke levels to achieve the perfect result, which is difficult to achieve with other methods. These factors combined make smoking the preferred option for cooking a brisket.

How to Slice Brisket?

For an optimal culinary experience, cutting your brisket correctly is just as essential as preparing it the right way. If you want to slice a brisket the correct way, here is how:

  • Identify the grain – Before slicing the brisket, it is essential to pinpoint which direction the grain runs. The grain will run parallel along the long edge of your brisket, so you must carve against it – this ensures you get tender slices every time!
brisket excess fat trimmed
  • Trim excess fat – Carefully trim away any unneeded fat from the brisket, making sure not to remove too much as it serves to infuse flavor and moisture into the meat.
  • Slice the flat – To begin, cut the flat or leaner portion of brisket into thin slices of 1/4 inch thick and make sure to slice in an even manner across the grain.
  • Slice the point – After the flat has been cut, it is now time to slice the point or fat-marbled part of your brisket. This section will have a different grain than the flat, so ensure that you are cutting against this grain for maximum tenderness in every bite. Cut into cubes or slices depending on what appeals most to your palate!
  • Serve – Present your sliced brisket in a grand fashion on a platter, with the flat slices forming one side and the point slices making up the other. Compliment it all by serving your preferred BBQ sauce or condiments for an even more flavorful experience!

Why do people like brisket so much?

Brisket is an irreplaceable cut of beef that has earned a faithful fan base amongst meat enthusiasts. People adore it for its distinct flavor and texture – when cooked low and slow, brisket develops succulent tenderness with unparalleled smoky richness, unlike any other piece of meat.

Brisket is a versatile cut that can be cooked in many ways, from traditional barbecues to stews and soups. Plus, its high fat content makes it an incredibly forgiving ingredient while cooking, as the fats help maintain juiciness and robust flavor.

From taste to versatility, brisket is a beloved food by many. Moreover, smoking and slow-cooking this mouthwatering dish creates an atmosphere that unites people through shared experiences. Ultimately, these characteristics make brisket a must-have culinary experience enjoyed by all.


To sum up, brisket is a delicious and popular cut of beef. Now that we know what part of the cow is brisket, we can start cooking a delicious brisket. Whether you smoke, roast, or braise it, this versatile piece of meat can be prepared in many ways, making it an ideal centerpiece at barbecues or cookouts!

smoked sliced brisket

When selecting a brisket, look for one that is heavily marbled and has an even fat cap. Moreover, when you are cooking your brisket, exercise patience and pay attention to detail–two key attributes of great cooks! In conclusion, after it’s been cooked correctly and sliced properly, your slow-cooked brisket should have a delightful texture with an amazing flavor that will surely impress all those around you.

Make your culinary skills shine by following this beginner’s guide to beef cuts! Fire up that smoker or preheat the oven, grab a seasoning of choice – and get set to craft an unforgettable meal for all. You’ll be on track to becoming a master in brisket cooking and slicing before you know it!


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Tom Wilmer

Tom Wilmer

I'm Tom Wilmer, an award-winning pitmaster and BBQ judge. I share my passion for barbecue through my blog, BBQ Soldiers, offering recipes, tips, and smoker reviews. Let's grill together!

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