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Brisket point vs flat...........which is better for smoking in my PBC and why

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  • Alabama Smoke
    Club Member
    • Oct 2019
    • 312
    • Birmingham

    Brisket point vs flat...........which is better for smoking in my PBC and why

    My wife purchased a corned beef brisket at Publix in March which we somehow never cooked. We agreed, well she decided, lol, she would cook either piece in the kitchen oven and make corned beef and cabbage and I could on a different occasion cook the other piece on my PBC.

    My brisket experience is limited in that I have smoked perhaps three flats from Costco. No points nor full packers at all. There are only two of us and at this point no one knows when it will be safe to entertain a crowd.........

    Ok, my flats were pretty darned good, but I have no idea what the point would be like, so...........

    Which to choose, why to choose which and what are the differences in cooking technique? Please wade it, I am here to learn, and thanks!! Tom
  • Huskee
    • May 2014
    • 15146
    • central MI, USA
    • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

      Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

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    So you're asking which (point or flat) to make corned beef and cabbage with, and which to smoke as pastrami on your PBC, correct? Hmm, good question. Personally, while I happen to like traditional smoked brisket point much better, in my experience and preference a flat makes better pastrami (dodging tomatoes with this statement) since it tends to slice better for sammies. Just my own preference. I say make the flat into the pastrami. But honestly, it's all a win-win no matter which you decide.


    • Ahumadora
      Ahumadora commented
      Editing a comment
      Smoke it but (don't add salt to the rub). If you want to slice it when it's cold just cook it to about 170F. To test the salt for you preference slice off a chunk and fry it up to taste test. Then you can use the fresh water trick to get the saltiness where you like it.
      Last edited by Ahumadora; April 2, 2020, 10:38 AM.

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      Alabama Smoke I treat pastrami (corned beef brisket that is smoked) as regular brisket, I smoke it all the way to done like a regular brisket. Yes, desalinate it in fresh cold water about 8-10hrs, this is HIGHLY recommended (not needed in traditional corned beef since you're boiling it in water, it pulls the salt out).

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      Alabama Smoke Cont'd: Add Meathead's pastrami rub, no salt like Ahumadora mentions, then smoke it like a regular brisket up to done. Some prefer to steam pastrami up to doneness after smoking to say 160 or so, that's traditional, but I don't mess with that part, just smoke it all the way up to done.
  • HawkerXP
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 5666
    • Virginia
    • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
      Dot and Chef Alarm with probes
      Slo n Sear
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    Hold on. Corned beef is way salty. We buy these after St Paddy's day on sale. Some for corn beef cooked in crock pot and some for pastrami. Go to the free section for the pastrami
    recipe. It is a little strong in the pepper, reduce if thats not to your likeing.
    Last edited by HawkerXP; April 2, 2020, 04:37 PM.


    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      Come on. I like pepper but someone in my house said it was strong. I needed to pass that on.

    • Ahumadora
      Ahumadora commented
      Editing a comment
      HawkerXP Let me know your address and what size and I will send you some pants from Amazon..

    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      Please make them long pants. Ahumadora
  • shify
    Club Member
    • Jun 2017
    • 472
    • Westchester County, NY

    I've made a few corned beef points into pastrami in my PBC over the past month. The point is richer and fattier and generally more forgiving. I took my corned beef, desalinated it overnight in a few changes of water. Then rubbed with pastrami rub and smoked to around 200 deg until it probed tender. Usually I take it off earlier and steam to finish but this time just smoked the whole way. For the leftovers, I did steam those slices


    • jgreen
      Charter Member
      • Oct 2014
      • 2721
      • Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
      • Cookers:
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        Fireboard (probably my favourite)
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        SnS (original, plus and XL)
        DnG pans, 6 or 7 of these
        and, maybe some other toys as well

      I would tend to agree with Huskee on this one, i would prefer the point made into corned beef and cabbage and the flat done on the smoker. If you are doing on the smoker anyway, you should try it as pastrami.


      • Mo Porkplease
        Club Member
        • Feb 2018
        • 50

        Something I just thought of, sounds yummy. Smoke the point, Braise the one inch chunks in Guinness and call it Irish burnt ends. Anyone try this before? If not I will volunteer to test it out. May need something with the beer to prevent burning the sauce. Ideas welcome....Perhaps some onion and serve with horseradish sauce spiked with Guinness or Jameson


        • Ahumadora
          Ahumadora commented
          Editing a comment
          You may have just invented a new recipe for the AR website. Stuck at home? nows a good time to make pastrami and bacon.
      • rickgregory
        Founding Member
        • Aug 2014
        • 774
        • Seattle, WA

        Just to make sure we're all on the same page:

        Corned beef is brisket (usually) 'corned' i.e. cured in a brine. Traditionally, it's boiled which desalinates it some.

        Pastrami is corned beef that's desalinated in cold water and then covered in black pepper and coriander seed and smoked.

        if you have store-bought corned beef all you really need to do is desalinate, cover in rub and smoke. The point will be fattier and the flat less so. I prefer the flat for sandwiches myself but that's a matter of taste. You'll want to steam before serving pastrami that's been smoked and refrigerated otherwise it's a little dry and tougher (speaking of the stuff from the flat).
        Last edited by rickgregory; April 2, 2020, 02:32 PM.


        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          If you can find it, navel makes a GREAT pastrami.
      • Troutman
        Club Member
        • Aug 2017
        • 7274
        • Tejas, Where Else?




          SOUS VIDE


        Well whatever you end up deciding to do and have done did it, make yourself one of these dandy little numbers

        Click image for larger version  Name:	Rueben 2-19.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.03 MB ID:	824565


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment

        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          WHAT, YOU DIDNT TOAST THE BREAD!?!?!? shame shame...

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Ahumadora My photos are never in the same class as Troutman's, but thank you!
      • texastweeter
        Club Member
        • Jul 2017
        • 2900
        • Republic of Texas

        I'm with Huskee smoke the flat. I desalinate, smoke to 175°, then steam to 203°. Many time I'll separate the point from the flat on a packer. I cure the flat for pastrami, and smoke the point either as normal or to make burnt ends.


        • Alabama Smoke
          Club Member
          • Oct 2019
          • 312
          • Birmingham

          Wow, wonderful advice coming in! Ok an additional question. If I decide to steam it, what is the preferred method for that?


          • rickgregory
            rickgregory commented
            Editing a comment
            I like water steam...

            it doesn't really matter. Depends a little on the quantity you're steaming. For 1-2 servings, you can do it stovetop in a veggie steam inset in a pot. For large parties I'd use a wire rack over a a sheet pan, the whole shebang wrapped in foil. You're not looking to cook it here, just warm it and provide some moisture.

          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            Do you have a turkey roaster? I've used that to steam. An elevated (slightly) grate sitting in an oval roaster pan. Hot water, meat on the elevated grate above the water, heat it to light boil, steam it with a probe in it to 200+/-.

          • texastweeter
            texastweeter commented
            Editing a comment
            for full briskets, I use my Holland grill. For small chunks, I use the steamer attachment on my rice cooker. Sometimes I will make a half brisket, cut lengthwise. I have a long thin steamer pot. And finally, for just the flat, I have a large stockpot that has a huge round steamer attachment that snaps on top. Prior to all that, a Tamale steamer did the trick.
        • fzxdoc
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 5184
          • My toys:
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          Just my 2 pennies' worth:

          Go to the free side, as others have noted, and read the Close to Katz' pastrami recipe and information. You'll be better grounded with all the info in one place before you start. Plus it's a dang delicious recipe. Follow it closely for this cook. Then spread your wings on subsequent pastrami cooks, once you find out what you liked or didn't like about Meathead's recipe.

          Pastrami from store-bought or home-cured corned beef is one of the finest things your smoker will ever turn out. Have a delicious time with it.



          • Alabama Smoke
            Alabama Smoke commented
            Editing a comment
            I will do that Kathryn. I have never cooked a Meathead recipe I did not love nor used one of his rubs I did no love. I have never smoked a corn beef and am looking forward to it. Not sure when I will get to this one, but will attempt to remember to document and take pics and return to this thread for followup. Thanks!



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