Brisket VS Butt whats the difference?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by cosmoker, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. So I had my first smoke over the weekend and had some delicious pulled pork.  

    I was advised not to do a brisket because it was harder.  I guess my question is, whats the big difference between the two?

    Why is the brisket so much harder?

    Thanks in advance.  
  2. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Well pork butts have more marbled fat and are real hard to mess up. I mean real hard like you could probably leave it on for days and pork will still taste good.  The brisket is basically the toughest part of the cow.  It takes practice before you can turn a tough piece of meat into a masterpiece.  I love to cook pork butts when I am learning a new smoker because I know little spikes in temp are not going to ruin it. 
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Did someone on this site tell you not to do a brisket?  A brisket is a bit less forgiving then pork butt but certainly doable with a little guidance an practice

    You did your first pork butt, you enjoyed doing it and enjoyed eating it so congratulations on your first smoke.  We can go into detail here about how to do a brisket if you would like but the major difference is that a whole brisket called a packer is two different muscles held together by a layer of fat.  The Flat is as it's name describes a flat piece of meat, the point looks more like a hunk of meat.  The two pieces can be separated and cooked or cooked as is.   
  4. They didn't tell me not to do a brisket they just advised against it for a first smoke.  

    I appreciate the offer for a step by step, but i'll just go to the stickys for that.  

    From what I have read the process is about the same, for the brisket do i just have to pay closer attention?

    do the two muscles cook at different rates?
  5. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes,  the point tends to act more like a butt and the flat can dry out if you are not careful.

    I generally start a packer, allow it to cook to where the fat between the two muscles breaks down and I can pull them apart.  I will then leave the two separate pieces of meat on the smoker until the fat cooks through and the flat begins to dry out.  I will wrap it in aluminum foil with some moisture and bring to slicing temperate of about 180.  Sometimes I will let it rest in an ice chest.     When the point starts to dry up it will get cut into cubes, sauced in an open aluminum pan and returned to the smoker to finish cooking.  The sauce thickens and the "burn't ends" are delicious.

    Good luck
  6. Well i guess i was wrong and the sticky didn't tell me all i needed to know lol

    I guess i really didn't realize that the flat and point were handled so differently.  

    So pull the flat @ 180 and slice it after a rest?

    For the burnt ends how do you know they are done? (/I've never had burnt ends before btw)
  7. And thanks for all the info Al!
  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I taste test!  Just depends on how you like them.

    There are many, many ways to do brisket and what I described is just one of many.  It's what I like to do but a lot of members will offer suggestions and I think you should take all the advice and develop your own method!  Remember as long as you are safe there is no right way, just different ways.

    Some people take the whole packer to 165 wrap it, return to smoker to 200 - 210 and pull it, some take the flat to 170 - some 190 for slicing, some to 205 or so and pull that.

    Remember if cut at too low a temp it can be tough so I find foiling with finishing sauce early (160?), allowing it to get to the higher temp, then some time in the ice chest helps to tenderize it.  You just don't want it to go to high or you won't be able to slice. 
  9. That makes perfect sense to me lol.  If I took it to 200 it would just fall apart like the butt did huh?

    I really like the idea of burnt ends...they sound delicious.  

    Mmmm sliced flat and cubed burnt point!

    Sounds perfect.   

    Now I just have to convince the boss to spring for a whole packer.  Maybe if I lead in with flowers? 
  10. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Go for it!

    And don't forget the Q-view!
  11. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Good advise !
  12. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  13. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    flowers are nice but BBQ is better!  Kind of like driving by a joint and smelling the smoke,  gotta turn around and take a look or at least another smell    Wait that sounds bad if you are not a BBQ addict, let me clear this up

    Kind of like driving by a BBQ joint, smelling the hickory,  you gotta turn around and take a look!
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All good info above!!!

    Glad I'm not an addict----sniff-sniff

  15. Looks like the brisket will have to wait...she likes the PP too much right now.  

    And you are right every time I smell smoke I look for some Q.

    Looks like i am doomed to smoke forever...

    Smoke butts....

    Smoke pork butts. 

    Man there is way too much doublespeak and innuendo in the smoking world!
  16. I'm kind of a rookie smoker and I've never screwed up a brisket.  In fact, I'm positive my briskets turn out better than any BBQ cookoff I've ever been to.  I use my own rub and spray it down with beer or a home made BBQ sauce mixture hourly in the smoker.  Sometimes I take them out of the smoker after 4 hours and finish in the oven to 185-190°  

    However, I'm guessing I start with a much more tender cut of beef, my family sells American Kobe beef  online (not trying to spam) so I have a good supply of the finest beef.  If I don't use the expensive stuff I use Hereford beef, but it's still very good.  
  17. rowdyrawhide

    rowdyrawhide Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Well if you are using Kobe beef, that is like comparing a filet to a skirt steak.  I would definitely bet that is better than any comp brisket you've had.  ;)  But I am also guessing if you had to buy those packer briskets outright they would prob be about $130 give or take about $15

    It would be nice to have access to that.
  18. Actually, we sell ours for about $90 for around 6-8 lbs. The stuff stayed juicy even when I realized the oven temp was way off and too hot.  It's awesome to have access to it for steaks and everything but it makes it tough to go to a restaurant and be satisfied. I have good luck with the Hereford stuff too.  
    rivet likes this.

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