Here we will discuss why it is that your brisket is so small. There is one main reason why it ends up so small after cooking it, which is what we will discuss later on. We will also cover what can be done to try to minimize the problem. We know that you paid a lot for your brisket, so it can be upsetting to see it much smaller than expected when it is cooked. Another thing that will be covered is why a brisket is smaller in size than other briskets that you may have purchased.
If a brisket you ordered is smaller than what it usually is, it could possibly have been bought as only a portion of the brisket instead of the whole thing. If you are unfamiliar with the different parts of a brisket, there are two main parts. There is the brisket point, which is smaller, and there is the brisket flat, which is bigger. These portions are sometimes sold separately instead of together as a whole. If you buy a brisket without knowing this, then buying either portion that has been separated from the whole will result in a smaller brisket that can still appear as a whole brisket.
The reason that the brisket as a whole is sometimes separated into the brisket flat and point, is because the point of the brisket is more desirable by most individuals. It is the portion that is more tender and contains more fat and flavor. The flat is the more difficult portion to cook and it is more lean with less fat. This also makes it susceptible to drying out more easily. However, it is more desirable for some individuals when using it for certain purposes. Thin slices of more lean brisket makes great cold sandwiches.
These two portion can vary in size from brisket to brisket, which is why the brisket is priced by its weight rather than its size. Of course, when looking at a brisket to buy, this is what we should be looking at instead of how large the brisket actually is.
Also, a brisket that has been trimmed of most of its fats is going to be a lot smaller. Some briskets are packaged and sold after they have been fully trimmed of their fats. The fat in a brisket varies depending on the portion being the flat or point of the brisket; but as a whole piece, the brisket can have around 21% or more fat. This means that it can be expected that a trimmed brisket with most of its fat trimmed from it will appear 15% or more smaller before it is even cooked.
Depending on where the brisket is being bought from and how the seller prepares it before packaging, briskets can be divided into the pieces of the flat and the point and then trimmed of fat and packaged. These pieces are going to look a lot smaller without their fat. Some sellers that do this will do this for restaurants, as some restaurants will expect their briskets to be trimmed to make sure their guests are getting the meat that they are paying for.
When briskets are prepared and trimmed this way, one piece can end up being much larger than another, and the weight of each can be literal pounds in difference. The size differences can also be very noticeable.
When a brisket is purchased from a meat dealer, depending on how they prepare it for their buyers, it can be smaller than what is bought from an actual grocery store. They may trim the brisket further and remove other pieces from the brisket that they might deem unsuitable for consumption after the brisket is cooked. This means that a brisket can end up even smaller after trimming these parts. These parts usually include mostly deckle fat and small pieces of meat that is surrounded by fat.
These trimming aren’t completely waste, but they might not be suitable for easy consumption once the brisket is cooked and served. Some of the fat on the brisket (especially in the point portion) can end being a literal hunk of fat if left on and cooked to serve on the brisket.
How do I avoid getting a small brisket?
Make sure that you are aware of what you are buying. Ensure that the brisket contains both the flat and the point and hasn’t been cut into these separate portions and sold separately.
The best way to avoid ending up with one of these smaller pieces of brisket, if this is a concern to you, is to buy the brisket as a whole, untrimmed, with its fat cap on it. Despite what some individuals have been told, a whole brisket can be cooked just how it is straight from the package after it has been seasoned. This will cook the portions of thick fat with the rest of the brisket, but the brisket will be much larger and flavorful.
Also, a whole brisket that is bought like this that hasn’t been trimmed, can be trimmed to your liking once you prepare it for cooking. This way, you will be able to decide what you deem as unsuitable on the brisket and trim those portions off only, while leaving as much on the brisket that you like as possible.
Why Did My Brisket Shrink After Cooking?
A brisket, just like any other meat (especially fatty beef) will naturally shrink in size the longer that it cooks. This is because the fat and the water in the beef will seep out of the meat once the moisture begins to come out and evaporate, and once the fat renders and falls out of the brisket. Despite the brisket being very large, it will happen inevitably to some degree. The brisket will shrink in size from about 20% to 40% of its current size. This of course depends on how long the brisket is being cooked for, with more cooking time equalling more shrinkage.
The fat in a brisket is not only on the brisket’s surface, but also is in the brisket as well. They do not break down and liquefy until they reach a certain temperature. At room temperature they remain solid.
When the brisket cooks to the point of being finished, there will be atleast a cup of fat that will have seeped out of a whole brisket. The point of the brisket, even though it is smaller than the flat portion, will have the most shrinkage, since it contains a lot more fat in comparison to the flat that is leaner. So if you ended up buying only a small brisket that is only the point of the brisket, it will get even smaller once it cooks.