Best Cut Of Corned Beef (Flat Cut vs Point Cut)

Corned Beef Recipes are popular around here come Saint Patrick’s Day. We get tons of questions asking “what’s the best cut of corned beef?”, “How To Cook Corned Beef“, and other corned beef related questions.

So, here’s an overview of All-Things-Corned-Beef! Grab an Irish Mule or Irish Breakfast Shot and get to planning!

sliced baked corned beef on a brown cutting board.

Best Way To Cook Corned Beef Brisket

The best way to cook corned beef is low and slow as it’s a tough piece of meat requiring ample time to break down into the buttery goodness it’s known for. Don’t rush the process; you’ll be disappointed with the results.

Here are 4 recipes for corned beef, each using a different cooking method. Any of them work great to make a Reuben Sandwich or Breakfast Hash.

Reuben Sandwich on natural color paper.

What Is Corned Beef

Corned beef is salt-cured beef that’s been soaked in a brine solution for about 7-10 days. Originally, corned beef was cured with just salt. It’s evolved over the years to what it is today – a brine loaded with flavorful spices such as black peppercorn, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds. Many of these spices are also found in homemade Corned Beef Spices.

The iconic pink-red color is due to sodium nitrate, a chemical compound that adds flavor and helps prevent bacterial growth.

During the world wars, corned beef was extremely popular due to the inexpensive price tag, durability and availability. Because the point cut is fattier, it was the cheapest, therefore most common cut during war time.

Corned beef seasonings in a small bowl.

Best Cut Of Corned Beef

There are two primary cuts to choose from: flat cut and point cut. While both cuts come from the same place, there are quite a few differences between the two, including the shape, texture, and size.

How you’re serving the roast helps dictate the cut we’d recommend using. Keep reading to find the pro’s and con’s of both cuts and the best application for each.

Flat Cut

If you’re looking for the leanest cut of beef, the flat cut is your friend. Here are some other defining characteristics of this particular cut:

  • Flat in shape, approx. 1-2″ thick
  • Lean (Less Fat)
  • Mild Flavor
  • Meatier
  • Sliceable
  • Larger (6-10 Lb)

Ideal Uses: Corned Beef, Tacos and Corned Beef Hash.

Uncooked corned beef brisket on a grill.

Point Cut

If you’re looking for the most flavorful and fattiest cut of beef, the point cut has your name written all over it. Here are some other defining characteristics:

  • Triangle shape with uneven appearance
  • Fatty
  • Richer Flavor
  • Shreddable (or Chunks)
  • Smaller (5-7 Lb)

Ideal Uses: Sandwiches, Corned Beef and Cabbage and Stews.

Corned beef seasonings on a raw roast.

What Is The Best Cut Of Corned Beef

The answer to this question comes down to personal preference. Do you enjoy a fattier cut of beef with a richer flavor profile or a leaner cut of beef with a milder flavor and ease of slicing?

Both are amazing, when cooked properly, so you can’t go wrong with either cut. Try them both and see which one you prefer.

Brisket vs Corned Beef

Wondering what the difference is between brisket and corned beef? Let’s start with how they’re similar; both are salt-cured beef. That’s pretty much where the similarity ends.

Corned beef is cured in a brine, while brisket is not. Corned beef is leaner and usually served with cabbage and potatoes, while brisket is fattier and usually served with barbecue sauce. Finally, corned beef is typically sold pre-cooked while brisket is sold raw.

Sous Vide Corned Beef in a white serving dish with carrots, cabbage and red potatoes.

How Many Pounds of Meat Per Person

The rule of thumb is to calculate 1/2 pound per person.

Where To Buy

Starting in February, you can pretty much find packages at all your local grocery stores. We recently tested out brands from Costco, Aldi’s and Sam’s Club and, by far, Costco’s was the highest quality. 

When it’s “off season” (meaning not around Saint Patrick’s Day) you can still find it at some local stores, but it’s not as easy to find. 

Sliced smoked corned beef on a silver sheet.

Corned Beef Flat or Point

There you have it, folks! All-Things-Corned-Beef! Feel free to ask any questions if you’re unsure of which cut to pick up! 

Join the Conversation

  1. What part of the cow does the point or flat corn beef and brisket come from?

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