Brisket is stunning no matter how you have it. But, it’s important to understand all the terminology which refers to the various cuts, as each cooks a little differently.
From the full packer brisket, to the point, the flat, the deckle-off brisket, the nose-off brisket and many more.
To level up your brisket knowledge and help you make informed decisions at the local butcher, here’s what the deckle of a brisket is all about, what deckle-off brisket actually means, and what’s generally better for each cooking style.
To put it in the simplest way possible, the deckle is the fatty part on the top of a brisket which connects it to the cow’s ribs.
It’s different from the normal fat cap that surrounds the brisket. The deckle of a brisket is much tougher, more like a rubbery membrane or silverskin.
Usually when you trim brisket fat, you want to leave about ¼ to a ⅓ of an inch of fat on top (depending on exactly how you’re going to cook it). But, it’s normal practice to remove the deckle completely as it’s simply not flavorful and it doesn’t render down properly.
When a butcher receives the full brisket, they will often cut it into two separate pieces of beef, simply because there’s more demand for it when it’s separated.
When they’ve cut the brisket in half, the slice that’s much thinner and more even cut is referred to as the “flat”, whereas the other section is known as the “point” or This “point” can also sometimes be referred to as the deckle cut.
What Is A Deckle-Off Brisket?
So, once you know what deckle is, you can probably guess what “deckle-off” refers to on a deckle-off brisket. If you come across a brisket labeled deckle-off, it means that the point section has been removed, and the fat layer removed. That is, the deckle-off brisket is basically the flat cut.
Now, this doesn’t mean it’s completely trimmed and ready to go. It’s still worthwhile taking your brisket trimming knife and taking off excess fat, as well as any big hunks of silverskin or the deckle.
Any fat trimmed off can be slow-cooked down to form delicious tallow, used for sauces, broths, gravy, and stock!
Here’s the thing, though; while buying a deckle-off brisket can save time, there’s a chance the butcher will trim too much of the nice fat at the same time as the deckle.
If you’re looking forward to smoking a brisket for your next event, then you’ll want a little bit of fat still on, as it helps with flavor and the formation of the bark. On the other hand, too much fat can prevent a smoke ring from developing on the brisket.
Which Is Better: Deckle On Or Deckle Off?
Remember, either way you’ll be wanting to remove the layer of fat, the deckle, before cooking as it simply isn’t pleasant to chew on, and it won’t render down during the cook.
But, when you’re comparing the deckle-off brisket (the flat) with the deckle-on brisket (the point), then it really comes down to personal preference and how you’re going to cook it!
The deckle off brisket, or flat, is the part used to make mouth-watering burnt ends, which I always do if I’ve cooked the brisket too early and have spare time.
If you’re looking for tenderness, and flavor though, then the point is normally considered superior.
But, if you’re really looking to impress, then cooking the full packer brisket really is stunning (flat and point together).
My suggestion would be to try one of each. You’ll quickly work out the texture differences and which one you prefer for next time.
What About A “Nose Off” Brisket?
Nose-off brisket is just another name for the brisket flat. Just the same as the deckle-off brisket. The “nose” bit refers to the point, as it looks like a nose (maybe to those barbecuers who have had a few too many drinks!).
Still, sometimes you’ll see a “nose-off” brisket at the butcher, so it’s important to be able to recognize that it’s the flat of the brisket so you know what you’re getting into.
This cut of brisket, the flat, is traditionally used to make corned beef too!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, brisket is by far THE most luxurious and flavorful cut of beef out there when prepared correctly.
The deckle is the fatty silverskin membrane that connects the brisket to the chest muscle.
Knowing the difference between the deckle-off brisket, or the flat, and the deckle-on brisket, or the point, can make all the difference. After all, the deckle-off brisket requires much less time to cook, making it much more likely to come out tough.
Whereas the full packer brisket can turn out more tender and juicy, it’s sometimes hard to get all of it cook at the same rate.
There are pros and cons to everything. In terms of which one is better, well that’s up to you. Next time you cook brisket let me know and I’ll come over, taste it, and be the judge.