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To split or not to split (your packer.) That is the question.

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    To split or not to split (your packer.) That is the question.

    Jim White just posted a beautiful brisket result, where he split his prime packer into flat and point. https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...er#post1060516 His question was how long does it take everyone. (Spoiler, Spinaker wins. But, as a surgeon, I'm not afraid to cut.)

    My question is one I asked a couple of years ago when I was newer here. I split my first packer, not purposefully, but as I carved on the deckle, it became apparent to me that I was in a fascial plane that just felt so good to dissect. (Sorry, there I go again.)

    Splitting advantages as I see it: quicker cooking times, more bark surface, can wrap/remove/rest point and flat at their own times.

    Splitting disadvantages: The flat, already at risk for drying out compared to the point, tapers severely as it runs under the point. When you separate them, that skinny part of the flat is at higher risk. Also, a split brisket doesn't impress the audience like a giant whole packer does.

    I'm very curious, and always eager to learn more. Do you split? If so, how do you modify your times, temps, wraps, pulls, trimming, etc. What about QVQ and splitting point and flat? And pastrami? etc, etc.

    Thanks all for pitching in. (I write this as my wife is already asleep. She is worried about the time I spend reading about meat.)

    Daniel
    Last edited by Dr. Pepper; July 17, 2021, 02:32 PM.

    #2
    Can't help you with the brisket, the only thing I split is personalities. Which one would you like to talk to? ;-)

    Comment


      #3
      Tell your wife to think about all the other things you could be looking at after she’s asleep 😂 Anyway, I only cook brisket 1-3 times a year and have only separated most of way through cook a couple times for burnt ends, I have same questions, so following.

      Comment


        #4
        I don’t split the point and flat, but I do cut it in half about where the point ends because I have a small vertical smoker and a full packer doesn’t fit.
        Last edited by Santamarina; July 17, 2021, 11:11 AM.

        Comment


        • GolfGeezer
          GolfGeezer commented
          Editing a comment
          Same here - cut it in half, but mostly because a full won't fit in our freezer. Plus, my wife likes to cook the flat the way her mom did, in the oven at 325* in one of those enamel baking pans. So, I get a smoked point half and she gets murdered flat.

        #5
        So, leaving aside my sawzall approach :-) … I generally trim a packer very aggressively, but I don’t split it. Here’s what my typical packer looks like after aggressive trimming

        You can very clearly see the point and flat … I take a fair amount of the deckle out and almost all of the fat cap off

        Click image for larger version  Name:	D0D10289-9A1F-4D45-B1B5-382810E1861B.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	5.79 MB ID:	1061728
        Click image for larger version  Name:	91A52261-86ED-45B6-9222-D6CE90E9D188.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	5.90 MB ID:	1061729
        Last edited by ecowper; July 17, 2021, 12:07 AM.

        Comment


        • Dr. Pepper
          Dr. Pepper commented
          Editing a comment
          ecowper How do you have the willpower to not continue to dissect along that tissue plane when you're prepping the meat? 'I meant to stop, officer, but I just couldn't.'

        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          Uhhh, not sure except that I know that “this is the way”

        #6
        I cook in three sections:

        1. The Flat (at least most of it) with some point under
        2. The Point that is cut off under the flat where it starts to taper down a lot
        3. That little part of the flat that rides up the point that once the point is cut off, has nothing under it

        I cooked a chuck roast (for me) and a full packer (for ex-sister-in-law) weekend before last, and after service I accidently headed home with #3 instead of my chuck roast. It pulled nicely. Next time I'll just slice with the grain then go across for some nice "better" chopped beef.

        Comment


        • Dr. Pepper
          Dr. Pepper commented
          Editing a comment
          Jerod Broussard I want to understand those cuts better, but I am having trouble following. Are you leaving some point on the thin part of the flat for a more uniform flat thickness?

        • Jerod Broussard
          Jerod Broussard commented
          Editing a comment
          Dr. Pepper I cut the point where I see the flat getting thicker than the point. Pretty much that same location where you go from cutting across for flat pieces to cutting and moving the point and turning it so you can cut across the grain on it. That really thin part of the flat that rides up the point is on it's own with maybe a little bit of fat on it's "belly."

        #7
        As I mentioned over on my post, I have to separate because my Kansas City wife expects burnt ends. But, at least on this most recent cook, even the thinnest part of the flat had no waste. Several inches of it wound up as pulled because it fell apart as I removed the butcher paper from wrapping. I saw folks loading their plates in the buffet line who specifically went for that. There were a few (maybe 5?) bites of stuff that went all the way to crunchy on the very end. I ate all of those as part of my reward for the work. Those crunchy bits, by the way, are the original burnt ends. What we serve now as burnt ends has evolved considerably since Arthur Bryant started serving them. But for at least this wrapped prime flat, thin was not a problem.

        Comment


          #8
          Depends on what you like. I like big slices with both the point and flat and the fat between, so I don’t separate.

          Sometimes I will cut some of the thin flat end off to grind for burgers.

          Comment


          • Steve R.
            Steve R. commented
            Editing a comment
            Recovering brisket splitter here. +1 on the big slices. Either way, though, we're eating brisket at the end of the day.

          #9
          I have cooked brisket and pastrami both ways. I only make pastrami now due to my family always requesting it.

          One downside of splitting is managing the smoker space as the two halves take up more room.

          I started splitting because it was too difficult to cure a full packer in the fridge and easier to work with two pieces.

          I don't do anything differently when splitting except taking each piece off when done as they cook differently. I also double the Meathead pastrami rub recipe for the extra surface area.

          Having cooked brisket both ways, I can safely say I prefer splitting mainly due to getting more bark and the reduced cook times which lets me rest the meat longer. Same or maybe better result for less work since I have to split anyway. Splitting the meat really doesn't add much time anyway as trimming everything takes far longer for me.


          And since my pastrami pics get lots of likes here, clearly no downside on the Internet clout aspect either.


          Comment


          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            It depends on the smoker as to what splitting does. With big packers I can only get two on my pellet. If I split I can fit up to 5 that had a 14.5lb average before trimming.

          • IFindZeroBadCooks
            IFindZeroBadCooks commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, I can see that. Definitely a game of tetris.

          #10
          I see advantages to both ways. I do both, but most often I leave them intact. I trim the interior fat heavily when I leave it whole, but I leave a generous fat cap on the outside in either case.

          Comment


            #11
            I leave intact and trim out as much of the hard fat from between the two. I look at it like this...I bought a whole packer, I'm cooking a whole packer.

            Comment


              #12
              Yes, I split either before, at the time of wrap, or at the end to make burnt ends.
              I have been known not to split, but that was only the flat.
              I will spit from this post

              Comment


                #13
                If I'm doing a brisket dinner, AKA Texas-style BBQ, I leave it whole, unless I'm doing burnt ends (which I usually do). If I have other intentions I'll separate, and even dissect the flat into 2-4 serving sized pieces for later use. My last cook was for a houseful of friends and family, most of whom I hadn't seen for a while, especially my sister, so I wanted to maximize as much of my time for visiting. I did the QVQ method, separating the point/flat after the first Q (way easier to do, though probably not as fun for a surgeon) and it turned out marvelously. I think that will be my go-to method for dinner parties henceforth.

                Comment


                  #14
                  Thanks for all the info on brisket options. I have the urge to cook one but will not know till Monday if the bank approved the loan to buy one.

                  Comment


                  • ecowper
                    ecowper commented
                    Editing a comment
                    If you get the loan, but choose not to buy a brisket, you could always pickup a sheet of plywood

                  #15
                  I never split never considered doing that, also don't do burnt ends all the brisket is gone before I get a chance!

                  Comment

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