How to Trim and Separate a Brisket


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My friend Pete (@Pit 4 Brains) from Smoking Meat Forums shared his technique for trimming and separating a brisket and he gave me permission to share it with my readers.

Pete shows the areas to trim using a string, which is pretty brilliant if you ask me ;-)

Trimming a brisket is pretty important for making sure it cooks evenly and you're not cooking things that don't need to be cooked.

But Why Separate a Brisket?

Separating the brisket flat from the brisket point is completely optional and it's not something that I often do however, these two parts do cook very differently and it's not a bad idea to cook them separately.

The flat has less fat, more muscle and once it reaches about 200°F (93°C) internally, it's perfectly done.

The point (that big fatty end on the left in the image below) will need to cook until much of that fat renders which can be well past 200°F (93°C).

Also, you can make burnt ends out of that point so once it reaches temperature, you can cube it up and put it back into the smoker.

Here's some burnt end recipes made from various cuts but all of them can be made from the brisket point if you so desire.

Let's get right into this!

This is a normal packer brisket weighing in at around 16 lbs.


Here Pete has outlined the “corn” or “kernel” with a piece of common butcher twine.

I think this is a great way to demonstrate the cut lines and points of separation on the meat.


This string shows where the point and the flat meet. The flat of the brisket is at the top right of the string.

The point is that fatty area to the left of the string.


If you flip the meat over, you will notice the definite line of fat all the way around the whole brisket.


Pete prefers to remove the corn right off the bat.


Notice the line of separation as outlined by the string.


Cut along the fat from the top towards the bottom. If you start cutting into the red meat, just adjust your knife up or down to get back into the fat portion.


It gets easier as you go. Find where the fat and the meat come together and you are well on your way!


A full separated brisket!


Pete prefers to trim most of the fat from the point since the meat has plenty of fat marbling on its own. This is, of course, purely optional.


Thank you, Pete for letting me share this with my readers!

If you want to see his post on the forum, you can see that HERE.

By the way, if you are not a member of the forum, you are seriously missing out!

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SMF is not only one of the biggest smoking meat communities online with more than 140k members and over 2.4 million posts on smoking meat, it is also the friendliest, most helpful bunch of smokers you'll ever meet.

Get on over there and check it out!

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  1. Very Informative! I’m constantly striving to create the “perfect” brisket and your continual articles are helping me to do just that! Thanks Jeff!

  2. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Just bought a brisket at Reasors, as they were on sale $2.98/pound. Going to try them next week