Culinary Arts

Finish: Brisket Slice

Aaron Franklin

Lesson time 17:21 min

Aaron walks you through his detailed, cut-by-cut process for slicing your brisket to minimize waste and maximize balance and flavor.

Aaron Franklin
Teaches Texas-Style BBQ
Aaron Franklin teaches you how to fire up flavor-packed Central Texas barbecue, including his famous brisket and more mouth-watering smoked meat.
Get All-Access


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So I've been hanging out all night watching this thing cook. I think it turned out pretty good. It's looking really nice so far. Feels really cool to the touch. I'm going to tempt it. And it is-- So I'm going to use the same whole back here. We'll see what it's looking like. It's a 165. It's a little bit hot. But we're going to talk about it for a while. So that's OK. I just want to open it up and have a brisket sitting on the counter. So kind of know where you're going with it. And I know I'm going to do an n-cut right there. I'm going to cut it right there, slice out about like this, and then I'm going to start slicing that way. So traditionally, you want to curl your knuckles for cutting things. You cut stuff. You kind of do that. Briskett's not really like that. It's more maybe like if you're watching a sushi chef cut fish. You kind of use your hands a lot, use your blade. You want to just kind of carve your way through it. It's kind of like playing pool. If I hold my thumb like that, I can always use that technique to kind of guide the knife, too. So a lot of times at the restaurant if I'm talking to someone, like, hey, how's little Jimmy, how's his braces, I can just kind of cut my way by feel. I don't really have to look and see what I'm doing. Back to the way that we season this thing, we were careful with the seasoning. We were careful with the trim. We spritz the edges. We kept the fire low throughout the cook. And now it's time to really find out if any of that stuff actually works. Hopefully, it did. I think it's going to be pretty OK. It feels really nice. So I think it's time to unwrap it. All right, so let's inspect our handiwork. That's what we're talking about. So this is kind of like the final reckoning for this brisket. I like to keep all this juice on the board as I'm cutting it. This is the fat that rendered out after we wrapped it. This is the stuff that reabsorbs. It feels great. It's pliable. You can see the fat kind of move around right in here. I think this is-- I'm pretty happy with this. So as you're pulling this before it's out of the bag, when it's on the cooker, I've got the towel going through it. I've got my fingers. I'm trying to find-- I'm trying to visualize how the fibers feeling there. And that takes a lot of experience. It takes a long time to get there. Or at least it took me a long time to get there. But there is kind of another way. You open it up. You can always check on the bottom side. And this is kind of a cool trick. If you really want to know, you can just kind of go through and poke around a little bit. This is where that seam fat is that we're going to cut out later. You can see the fibers they want to pull apart. Obviously, this is very tender. But you can kind of poke around with a toothpick. Over here feels pretty good, feels pretty good going in there. And if you really want to pull it apart, if you're in a good place te...

The art of smoke and fire

Once a backyard hobbyist, Aaron Franklin is now the James Beard Award-winning owner of Franklin Barbecue, where the line for his famous smoked brisket is hours long. Now the Central Texas barbecue specialist teaches you his meticulous low and slow process for mouth-watering ribs, pork butt, and brisket. With perfectly seasoned cuts and optimal temperatures, you'll learn to handle an offset smoker like a true pitmaster.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I enjoyed the technical side of the MC with heat temps, timings, and trimming the meats. My husband and I watch it together and take notes.

Knowledge that I would never have gained otherwise. Excellent

Better fire management, and preparation of smoking a Brisket.

Super quick lessons, impactful information that can be applied immediately. Aaron clearly is a master and is passionate for what he does. Loved the class and look forward to watching more!


A fellow student

Brilliant theory and instructions. Throwing the good food to the waist bin is weird =( I've just had the mashed potato with some oil dinner


@Masterclass - please can you change the video player behavior so that pausing it (when the instructor says 'take a good look at this bit' doesn't over lay the entire bloody video with 'Join the community!' and 'Up Next!' prompts? :(


You'd think the likening to cutting fish would lean towards a long straight edged knife like they use for, well, cutting fish, rather than a bread knife?

Marc T.

Thank you!! I followed the instructions to a “T” and my first brisket came out amazing!!

David M.

Incredible instructions on cutting the brisket. The one big problem/worry I have is that from his initial trimming to his final cuts there is only about half or a little more than half of the original amount of meat than what he started with when the meat came out of the bag. What does Aaron recommend doing with all of the pre-cooking trimmings and after-cooking trimmings of meat? I hope he doesn't toss them in trash? That would be a huge waste of money.

Thomas F.

How do you judge after the cook if the flat was under or over cooked? Sounds like both result in a dry tough meat.

Rob B.

My first brisket, the Franklin way! No longer afraid of cooking temps over 225, and learning how to judge “doneness” by feel versus internal temp has changed my life. Moistest brisket i have made in 20 yrs, and it took only 12 hrs, not 16! Thank you Mr. Franklin.

Thomas F.

First time and it turned out perfect! Thank you Aaron!!!! Flat dried out a tad. Can’t tell if I undercooked or over cooked after the 3 hour mark. Any help? Didn’t have a stall and was at 173 at the 6 hour mark.

Jim C.

Outstanding. Always wondered why the staff at Franklins carved brisket with bread knives, and now I know! Great detail on slicing, I have been doing it wrong for years.... again, NOW I know.

John K.

I just made a brisket Aaron's way and I have to say that the result is a brisket that he'd be proud to serve in his restaurant.