How Big is a Brisket? A Guide on Meat Cut Size

The GrillingDad Answer: The weight of a brisket will vary depending on the size of the cow and how the butcher cuts it. The average full brisket is 8-20 lbs, with the average weight being just about 12 lbs. It is possible to get a brisket as small as 5 lbs, but this is usually a full brisket that has been divided.

Ready to buy your first brisket? Before you head to the store, you are probably wondering just how big a brisket is and if there is a certain size you should buy. 

Let’s look at all the information about brisket size and some tips for picking the right one! 

What is Brisket?

Brisket is a popular cut that is often used for slow cooking and smoking. It comes from the breast section of the animal and is known for its rich flavor and tender texture, but it can be challenging to cook correctly.

Wondering what part of the cow is the brisket? Check out our guide to learn more! 

Where to Probe a Brisket

Average Size and Weight

The size and weight of a brisket can vary depending on the animal and the specific cut. A whole brisket can weigh anywhere from 8 to 20 pounds, with the average weight being around 12 pounds. The size of the brisket can also vary depending on the animal’s breed and age.

A brisket is usually divided into two sections: the flat and the point. The flat is a leaner cut of meat, while the point has more marbling and fat. These two sections are separated by a layer of fat called the deckle. The flat can weigh between 4 and 7 pounds, while the point can weigh between 6 and 10 pounds.

Related >> Where to Probe a Brisket?

How Big of a Brisket Should You Buy?

The size of the cut is an important factor to consider when you head out to buy a brisket. The amount of brisket you need to buy will depend on a few key factors, such as the number of people you plan to serve, your cooking method, and your personal preferences.

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend buying about 1 pound of brisket per person you plan to serve. This should provide enough meat for each person to enjoy a good-sized portion, with some leftovers to spare.

However, keep in mind that brisket will shrink during cooking, so you’ll want to factor in some additional weight to account for this. As a general rule, you can expect the brisket to lose about 40-50% of its weight during cooking, so be sure to buy a cut that’s large enough to account for this shrinkage.

If you’re new to cooking brisket, we recommend starting with a smaller cut, around 5-6 pounds. This will be easier to handle and cook than a larger cut, and will still provide plenty of meat to serve a small group of people. You can usually get this small of a brisket from your local butcher.

On the other hand, if you’re an experienced cook and plan to feed a larger group, you may want to opt for a larger cut, such as a 10-12 pound brisket. Keep in mind that larger cuts will take longer to cook and may require more advanced cooking techniques, so be prepared to invest some time and effort into the process.

What is the Best Size of Brisket?

While the size of the brisket can vary from 5 pounds to 14 pounds, it’s important to choose a consistent size every time to ensure the best flavor and to perfect your cooking method. This means the best size of brisket to buy will vary from person to person. 

For most home chefs, a brisket between 10 and 14 pounds is ideal. This size will feed about 10 people, with each pound of brisket serving one person. Briskets up to 14 pounds will fit on most home smokers, such as the Traeger Ironwood 885, Pit Boss Classic, and the Z Grills 7002F.

Look for a brisket that has a consistent thickness throughout and a good amount of marbling. This will help ensure that the brisket stays moist and flavorful during the cooking process.

How Many People Does One Brisket Serve?

Depending on the number of adults and children you have (as well as if you have any teens) the number of people one brisket can serve will vary. 

As a general rule of thumb, a whole-packer brisket weighing 12 to 15 pounds should feed 10 to 15 people, depending on how much each person is served.

If you’re serving just brisket flat, a 6-pound flat should feed around 6 people.

It’s important to keep in mind that these estimates are based on serving sizes of around 1/2 pound of brisket per person. However, some people may eat more or less than this amount, so you may want to adjust your calculations accordingly.

In addition, if you’re serving a crowd with a mix of adults and children, you may want to adjust your calculations to account for the fact that children typically eat smaller portions than adults. You can expect adults to eat around 1/2 pound of brisket and children to eat around 1/4 pound of brisket.

Buying Brisket

When it comes to buying brisket, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Where to Buy Brisket

You can buy brisket from a variety of places, including butchers, grocery stores, and online retailers. Some popular options include Costco and Snake River Farms. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you buy from a butcher, you can get a more personalized experience and ask questions about the meat. However, it may be more expensive than buying from a grocery store or online retailer. 

Grocery stores may have more affordable prices, but the quality may not be as high. Online retailers can offer a wide range of options and often have competitive prices, but you won’t be able to see or touch the meat before buying.

Choosing a Brisket

When choosing a brisket, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the grade of the meat. USDA Prime is the highest quality and will likely be the most expensive, while USDA Choice and Select are more affordable but may not be as tender.

Next, look for a brisket with even thickness. This will ensure that it cooks evenly and produces consistent results.

Finally, consider the price. Brisket can be expensive, so be sure to compare prices from different retailers to get the best deal. Keep in mind that higher-quality meat will likely be more expensive, but it may be worth the investment for a special occasion or if you are looking for the best possible results.

Also don’t forget that there is a difference between the point and the flat. Don’t just buy the point because it’s cheaper than the flat or vice versa. Do your research and ensure you are buying the right cut for your recipe. 

Overall, buying brisket can be a bit overwhelming, but with a little knowledge and research, you can find the perfect cut for your needs.

Need help cooking your brisket after you buy it? Don’t forget to check out our easy brisket recipe that will have you cooking brisket like a pro in no time at all! 

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Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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