Just like a toned body builder (sort of), a cow has hefty pectoral muscles, and that’s where brisket is cut from. The brisket generally weighs 12 to 20 pounds.
That’s Exercised a Lot
Which means brisket has a lot of tough connective tissue. Cook it using low heat for a long time (“low and slow”) to break down that tissue for ultra-tender results.
It Has a Secret Deckle.
Because it’s so large, brisket is usually cut into two pieces. Most grocery stores carry the first cut, which is also called the flat. It’s leaner and slices neatly. But your butcher may have the second cut, also known as the deckle point. It’s marbled with fat and falls apart deliciously when you cook it.
The Cut Matters.
Two familiar ways to cook brisket—smoking and braising—result in very different tastes. That’s because smoked brisket is made with the second, fattier cut attached so it doesn’t dry out after hours in the smoker. Braised brisket is ordinarily made from only the first cut, which helps the leaner meat hold moisture. If your braised brisket tends to be dry, try using the deckle point instead. It may fall apart when you slice it, but it’ll be moist and succulent.