MMMM.. BRISKET..
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:37 PM   #1
JackBBQ
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Default Brisket: Flats vs. Whole Packers

In the past, I've always smoked Prime-grade whole packer briskets from Costco. Never just a brisket flat.

I love slices from the flat, and burnt ends from the point. But for the work-related BBQ events I cook (special picnics, 4th of July, etc.), slices from the flat seem to be much more efficient to produce than burnt ends from the point.

In addition to Prime-grade whole packers, Costco also sells Choice-grade flats that look pretty good. But again, the whole packers are Prime grade.

Question: are Choice-grade flats a good "choice"? Or is the Prime-grade option clearly better, even for work-related events where I wouldn't be serving bunt ends anyway?

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Old 03-01-2020, 06:44 PM   #2
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I'll let ya know in a couple of hours.

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Old 03-01-2020, 06:52 PM   #3
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The problem I have found with flats is that they do not contain the best part of the brisket which is the point.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:00 PM   #4
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^^^^^^ What he said ^^^^^^^

The only time I'll buy a flat is when I'm making pastrami or corned beef.. I get my briskets at Costco like you, if they don't have prime then I go to another Costco. So to answer your question, since a flat is so thin, I'd go with prime because it give you more wiggle room so it won't dry out just my humble opinion..

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Old 03-01-2020, 07:13 PM   #5
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I have done the flat but prefer a packer.

One market by me sells corned beef for at patty’s day that is the point. We usually get a few. Get extra to make pastrami!
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:23 PM   #6
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Not sure how to cook a flat by itself. Always do packers but you don't want to hear what we can buy them for here. My nephew from Jackson, TN always takes a couple back with him after coming here.
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Old 03-01-2020, 11:48 PM   #7
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One issue is the cost difference. Flats are much more per lb than Packers, often even twice the price. I haven't trimmed a packer out and done the calculations to figure out what the better buy is on a per lb basis of actual meat.
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Old 03-02-2020, 05:49 AM   #8
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I do both depending on the occasion. The Flat is better for the bigger spread, because there just is never enough "burnt ends" for everybody, (not the way my wife loves them).
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Old 03-02-2020, 06:11 AM   #9
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The only time I was able to get just a flat to turn out good was on my pellet pooper. I cooked it slow at 225 deg till bark was formed (around 170 deg internal). I then wrapped in aluminum foil and took it till it probed tender. I then kept in the foil on the smoker with the temp set to smoke which is around 180 deg for 2 hours. I believe the 2 hour hold at 180 deg made the difference. Otherwise things turn out better and are more forgiving when cooking prime packers
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Old 03-02-2020, 06:37 AM   #10
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The cost is a huge deal to me...flats are $5.99/Lb while whole packers are $2.98/Lb (at Sam's in club in my area, both Choice). Best of both worlds is to buy the full packers and spend the extra minute or two and separate the muscles yourself. Save the points (refrigerate or freeze them), and then you'll have enough burnt ends to go around for future cooks.

I buy Choice packers and separate them so that both muscles can be watched and pulled off the smoker at different times if needed. Choice flats are great and when it comes to a cut like brisket there is usually little to no difference between Choice and Prime. Remember, the entire carcass is graded rather than individual cuts, and the ribeye are is the main point of attention when determining the grade of the carcass. Cuts like brisket aren't focused on during the grading phase, so Choice vs Prime is usually not much of a difference at all when it comes to brisket.

Butcher BBQ put out a great video showing how to easily and quickly separate the flat from the point; I'm leaving it here just as a reference.

https://youtu.be/a-fI7n7eqJM?t=46
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Old 03-02-2020, 02:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frognot View Post
Not sure how to cook a flat by itself. Always do packers but you don't want to hear what we can buy them for here. My nephew from Jackson, TN always takes a couple back with him after coming here.

Honestly, you cook a flat the same way you cook a full brisket. Basically, on a packer, once seasoned and into the smoker, you basically ignore the point. Brisket is "done" when the thickest part of the flat probes tender.

Main reason for this is that the point basically has a completely different composition. The grain structure of the muscle is looser and it has much better marbling. Usually, it will be "done" before the flat is, but it can take more heat/time without being negatively affected. SO, even though "done", you can leave it in until the flat probes tender and pull the whole thing. Going even further, once the flat is tender, you can pull the entire brisket, separate off the point, cube it up, toss in sauce and then put the meat back in the smoker to cook for even longer!

So, if it's flat only, just season it, stick it in the smoker and cook it.
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Old 03-02-2020, 02:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkenmeatfist View Post
The problem I have found with flats is that they do not contain the best part of the brisket which is the point.
so true
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BGEChicago View Post
^^^^^^ What he said ^^^^^^^

The only time I'll buy a flat is when I'm making pastrami or corned beef.. I get my briskets at Costco like you, if they don't have prime then I go to another Costco. So to answer your question, since a flat is so thin, I'd go with prime because it give you more wiggle room so it won't dry out just my humble opinion..

Thanks
Greg
Corned/Pastrami point is really good, though.

Make yourself same hash browns and runny eggs, and add in some corned burnt ends, or whatever you want to call it, and you've got it made!

My wife almost considers it foreplay.
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:24 PM   #14
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I smoke flats all the time. I inject 2 - 3 days before, smoke at 250Deg until stall, then wrap until probe tender about 198-202deg. Throw in a cooler for couple of hours. Always Always comes out tender and juicy never dry. Everybody says its the best meat they've ever tasted every time I smoke it.



When smoking a flat I think the injection is an important step to keep it moist and get it to probe tender. JMO
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:33 PM   #15
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I regularly separate the flat and point before smoking and haven't noticed any difference in how they turn out. Have you considered giving this a try on your next brisket?
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