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Making a smoked beef brisket is intimidating, especially if you're a novice pitmaster. While it’s not impossible, you have to know what you’re doing, and that starts with planning ahead. Briskets aren’t a last-minute meal idea, and putting it all together may take more than a few tries, but the reward of a tender, juicy brisket is worth every effort.

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1. Selecting the best cut

When it comes to selecting the best cut of brisket, it’s important to know that there are two cuts: the flat cut and the point cut. Together these make up the full brisket. The point cut overlaps the flat cut and has more marbling but with a leaner top. The flat cut tends to be more uniform and consistent in shape with a much thicker fat cap. The flat cut may be easier to find if you can't do a full brisket.

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