How do you feel about fat? The answer to this question will determine which cut of brisket you should choose when visiting your butcher. According to Martha Stewart, a whole brisket usually weighs between eight and 12 pounds and is actually comprised of two cuts: the first (or flat) cut and the second (or point) cut. The first cut, which is the larger of the two, is the leaner portion of brisket, so ask for this cut if you prefer leaner meat (via Jamie Gellar). The first cut will also preserve its shape a bit better when sliced, so if you want to serve perfect slices of meat (on a unique sandwich, for instance) the first cut is a good option.
The second cut is loaded with intramuscular fat that breaks down over the brisket’s cooking time, basting it from within with juicy goodness, and is definitely the best choice for cooks (and guests) who love a rich, tender piece of meat (via Jamie Gellar). Due to the fat content, the second cut will fall apart much more as it cooks, making it an excellent choice for pulled beef.
Whichever cut of brisket you choose, for whatever occasion, don’t forget to let the meat rest after cooking: According to Martha Stewart, this is an indispensable step for ensuring juicy meat, whether it’s of the lean or fatty variety.