How Much Does A Brisket Weigh

How Much Does A Brisket Weigh? (And Other Interesting Information You Need to Know)

If there is one dish you should not miss to serve to your family or friends during the holiday, it must be brisket.  

With beef brisket, you can cook various classic and tempting meat meals. Some would want to cook it by smoking, some love to slow cook it, or even braise it.

And best treat? A barbecued brisket on the table.

However, there’s one necessary factor you need to consider when preparing a brisket- its weight. 

If you’re new to cooking or haven’t tried preparing brisket, you’d probably not care how much weight a slice or a lump of meat or raw brisket has.

But separate this, because weight is a requirement you need to know to cook a perfect brisket.

But how much does a brisket weigh, and why does it matter?

Let us proceed to know!

In A Hurry?

Look at this summary of the different weights of a brisket:

Type of Brisket



Whole Packer Brisket

10 to 16 pounds

Flat Cut of Brisket

6 to 10 pounds

Point Cut of Brisket

5 to 7 pounds

What is a brisket?

When we say brisket, we’re talking about the tender, juicy brisket you get at your favorite BBQ shop. It is a cut of the lower breast portion of a side of beef.

And because this section of the animal is continually moving, it becomes a thick layer and tough, connective-tissue-rich piece of meat.

That is why it is best suited for this meat to brisket cook for a long time using a low setting. So the connective tissue would start breaking down without overcooking.

It takes effort and time to cook brisket. But when you cook a brisket properly, no food can beat the savory and tenderness.

We promise you won’t say no to its mouthwatering juicy meat.

How Much is the Average Weight of a Good Brisket?

The weight of the whole brisket can weigh an average of 10 to 16 pounds. But the cut can vary based on the smaller and larger size.

Thus, there are three cuts available for a brisket:

  • whole packer
  • flat cut
  • point cut of the brisket
  • Whole Packer Brisket

A whole packer is the total weight of brisket including this is the flat cut and the point cut.

While it typically weighs 12 to 16 points, it can weigh up to 20 pounds and down to 10 pounds of meat.

For some people, it is convenient to buy the cuts of this brisket.

But for others, they choose to buy the whole beef brisket and divide it at home. This way, you can cut it into whatever portions you prefer.

For butchers who assist customers with their meat purchasing, they will suggest a packer cut brisket for smoking.

If this is confusing you, don’t worry. Some butchers call the whole beef a packer, whole packer, or packer brisket.

  • Flat Cut of the Brisket

A flat cut is the leaner half of the brisket. It’s flat and rectangular.

This first cut is 6 to 10 pounds of brisket in weight and makes up a large portion of the entire brisket. It is long, thin, and has low fat.

The flat end looks better when cut into slices, so it’s a better option for traditional gatherings. It is also easier to cook because of its shape.

However, it is not as flavorful as the point cut because of a thinner fat cap running along one side.

But if you’re the kind of person who loves meat for than fat? Do not fret because this cut has a rich flavor of the meat.

With this, it can be chopped or shredded. And there are numerous ways to enhance its flavor. You can add spices, salt, or any seasoning. And you can now have your tasty brisket flat.

  • Point Cut of the Brisket

The point cut is the opposite side of the brisket. Its weight is around 5 to 7 pounds of raw brisket and is smaller in size.

This brisket point has a thicker and thinner end. It features a fat marbling and a lot of connective tissue than the flat cut.

For its flavor, its extra fat adds up to its extra flavor. This fat usually gives your meat its juiciness and moisture when you’re cooking. But since it has much fat content than meat content, it means it has lesser meat than the flat one.

Brisket point is often shredded than sliced instead of sliced because its higher content of hard fat means that it is easier to chew.

Some call this the ‘deckle’– the name for the long thick layer. This is also an intramuscular fat layer that connects the flat to the rib cage.


Why is it important to know their weights?

You might be wondering, why is it necessary to know the weight first before you proceed with smoking or cooking the brisket?

That is because you can only identify the length of your cooking and the temperature you’ll need if you determine the weight of your brisket.  

The large cut will, of course, take longer to cook than the smaller one. In addition, the large one will take longer for the heat to penetrate to the inside of the meat.

On the other hand, the smaller one will take less time to let heat enter.

Also, note that the beef becomes lighter as the meat cooks. That’s all because of more or less than 70% of water content in the brisket.

Steps On How To Separate the Flat and the Point:

For some buyers, purchasing a whole brisket is preferable. They would rather cut and divide them on their own.

To make it easier for you, here is a step-by-step guide on how to separate a whole brisket packer.

  • Find a clean surface. You can use foil to cover the surface and make sure it’s clean.

Place the brisket on the surface where the fat is facing down. As you observe the brisket, you’ll know that you are looking at the flat.

Identify the nose or the layer of the fat you’ll visibly see between the flat and the point. This is the area where you will divide the two cuts.

  • Mark the nose to create a guide for your cutting. Cut into the fat layer using a butcher’s knife or a very sharp knife.
  • Continue to slice the fat layer that wraps around under the flat. While slicing through the nose, you can lift the flat with your hand.
  • Carefully slice the thinnest portion as you reach the end of the point cut.  
  • When there’s no exterior fat from the point, you’re now ready to smoke or cook it.

What are the Cooking Methods for Brisket?

A. Oven Roasting

  • Preheat your oven and start covering the roast using your preferred seasoning.
  • In a shallow roasting rack or pan, place the roast where the fat side is facing up.

Use an ovenproof meat thermometer and insert it into the thick part of the brisket (not in the fat). Make sure to not cover or add water to the roast.

It is also best to not exceed your target internal temperature.

  • After roasting, transfer it to a cutting or chopping board, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest.

This process is called tenting. Give it up to 20 minutes to rest.

  • While letting the roast rest for a while, make a sauce from the meat juices of the beef.
  • Carefully use a sharp knife and cut across the grain for utmost tenderness.

B. Braising

Depending on your preference, prepare your slow cooker, oven, or stovetop.

  • Dry your brisket using paper towels so you can start preparing it. Dry rub it with your seasoning mix or salt and black pepper. And if you’ll be using vegetables, it’s better if you chop them already.
  • For most braising recipes, heat all the sides of the beef until it develops a rich brown color. This is called browning the beef. Also, make sure that it is over medium heat.
  • If you’ll be using vegetables or aromatics, add them to a pan and quickly fry them or sauté them until they’re soft. Skip this step if you will not use vegetables.
  • When the aromatics are already soft, add some liquids like wine and juices to the pan.
  • Deglaze or scrape the bits you’ll see clinging to the bottom. This will add flavor to your dish.
  • Put again the beef in your pan then turn down the heat depending on your recipe. You can then cover it using a lid that seals tightly to let it moist.
  • You’re now done braising the beef when it’s already fork-tender.

C. Pressure Cooking

  • Mix the seasonings or ingredients in a bowl and coat the brisket pieces by rubbing them.
  • Put the brisket in the steel pot of the pressure cooker. Then put the water and sauce over the meat.
  • Set the pressure cooker following your recipe and
  • Remember that almost all pressure cookers have a safety function that stops you from opening the lid while the contents are under pressure.
  • Release the pressure naturally.
  • Transfer the brisket to the chopping board and you are now ready to serve it.

D. Smoking

  • Trim your brisket by removing the excess fat from the fat cap to cook properly.
  • Season your brisket with salt and black pepper. You can also use homemade brisket rub or those that are available in the market.
  • Preheat your smoker. Use hardwoods and maintain a stable temperature and a steady stream of thin blue smoke.
  • Wrap the brisket in foil or pink butcher paper to make it moist and tender meat.
  • Rest the brisket for a few minutes to allow the hot, bubbling juices to settle and redistribute throughout the meat. It also reduces the temperature of your brisket to the ideal for slicing and dishing.
  • You can now slice your smoked brisket and enjoy its flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does brisket shrink during the cooking process?

Yes. Bear in mind that the brisket shrinks as you cook it. That is because more or less than 70% of the water content in the brisket trims away as the meat cooks.

If you’re wondering why a brisket shrinks when smoking, remember that it’s normal. When cooking, expect it to shrink by 30 to 40 percent.

  • How many briskets to serve per person?

Although a brisket weighs almost 20 pounds, take note that it still shrinks when it cooks.

That is why butchers recommend calculating ½ pound of uncooked weight brisket for every person.

However, if you know the kind of eaters your visitors are, you can probably change it up to ¾ pound or down to ¼ pound of meat.

  • How long does it take to cook per pound of brisket?

There is no exact cooking time for every cut. Pitmasters usually cook between 60 to 90 minutes per pound. This is their general rule of thumb.

Some are also cooking for about 30 to 60 minutes for every pound brisket.

Your cooking time usually depends on the size of the brisket and the temperature of your cooker or smoker.

  • Is it needed to trim the brisket?

Yes. Trimming is one of the most crucial parts of cooking a brisket.

Remember that it can affect the cooking process. Without proper trimming, your brisket may have dry spots and burned edges.

This can also cause your brisket to cook unevenly.

  • Is it okay to reheat a brisket and how do you do it?

One of the disadvantages of not knowing how much brisket you will serve is the leftovers of your guests. This is a problem for some who have no skills in cooking.

But there are various ways to reheat that leftover brisket.  One thing you can do is to preheat your oven, wrap it with foil, and put it in a room temperature for about 30 minutes.

To keep its moisture, you can add the leftover juices too and place them in the oven. Now you’re ready to eat that brisket like newly cooked.

         6. What do grades mean for brisket?

Brisket has different grades from the USDA. They are 5 common grades you can choose from.

These are the choice grade brisket, Japanese wagyu brisket, prime brisket, select, and the CAB certified brisket.

These grades differ in quality and brisket price. You can ask the butcher shop about these grades.


To perfectly prepare a brisket, a necessary factor is the weight of the cut you will purchase. Without knowing them, you might end up wasting your time and effort.  

Researching a recipe on how to cook it might make it even worse. Bear in mind what you need: it’s the weight.

So here’s some advice: when you’re smoking or cooking a brisket, you’ll need the weight,  good research, well-done strategies, and this article.

Remember, you’re not just inviting your guests to stay with you and do chitchats. You have to satisfy their appetites.

Any thoughts about this article? Leave a comment or questions below!

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D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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