Is beef brisket a lean meat?

Beef brisket is one of the most popular cuts of meat globally. It’s usually smoked, slow-cooked or roasted and served during various occasions such as BBQs, traditional meals or fast-food joints. Most people consider beef brisket to be fatty; others believe it is lean. Today we are going to settle this debate once and for all!

Anatomy of Beef Brisket

To understand whether brisket is fatty or lean, it would help to know about its anatomy.

Firstly there are two main muscles in the brisket cut: the point and flat muscle. They have different characteristics regarding fat content, texture, flavor and color(1).

[Here] is an illustration with descriptive images of each part!

Point Muscle

The point muscle has higher marbling (fat content) than Flat because it comes from a section closer to the animal’s head/shoulder area. Consequently:

  • It’s juicier
  • The taste more intense
  • The bark much darker
  • Higher number calories per serving compared to its counterpart(the flat)

Flat Muscle

This section continues below ↓↓↓

The flat muscle essentially refers to everything else on top – it has less marbling than a pointed end due to being leaner. This region doesn’t hold water hence having less savoriness but makes up—by incredibly tender tissues if prepared right.

It’s typically featured in dishes like salt-cured corned beef/sliced thin for sandwiches’ denoting how versatile they can get thanks their leanness.

Understanding Fats Content in Different Cuts of Meats

Before proceeding any further let us first discuss what distinguishes fatty meat from lean ones.

Fatty meats contain higher amounts of visible intramuscular fats which may appear like white lines/lumps between mixtures while cutting through them.(2). These have more calories than their low-fat counterparts such as the lean cuts of chicken or turkey, making them ideally suited for calorie-dense meals like roasts that demand a higher taste profile.

On the contrary, lean meats contain little intramuscular fats and are lower in calories. They tend to be dryer hence ideal for grills/quick recipes needing minimal marinades added(as much as we love ’em). The difference may not seem like much between different cuts but all these small differences overall reflect on how our body processing eventually works.

Now, let’s take a look at the leap from generic facts to whether beef brisket is considered fatty or lean?

Is Beef Brisket Fatty/Less Lean?

So Here’s inside scoop!

The USDA reports that 100g cooked beef brisket contains:

  • Calories: ~309
  • Fat: ~20g
    • Saturated fat:4.81g
    • Polyunsaturated fat:0.981 g
    • Monounsaturated fat :9.367 g

This appears alarmingly high compared to other meat types! At first glance pointing out it’d considered fattier seems a logical conclusion.


Again, while looking at beef sampling data (Compiled by USDA) — point cut quality grades usually range +2% more marbling relative to flat (~21 versus ~19 percent)(3).

But this does not necessarily mean corned-beef-lovers should worry about adding solid layers of cholesterol.


The good(Hard-gained) news is Beef Brisket despite seeming mildly “fattening” can be made healthy if one uses techniques wisely and selects less-fatty portions

Some people also misinterpret what sort of fats they actually end up brimming into their diet.

Excess saturated/transferred/partially hydrogenated oils(and burning salt-sugar loaded BBQs pitfire)? Duely unrecognized calories!

So for those of us on the quest for a(n) umami-amicable brisket with guilt-free calories, we should resort to cuts of meat that can be classified under “lean” or ‘extra lean.’

Check the chart below:

Cut Fat Content (grams per 100-gram serving)
Beef Brisket Point(x5 trim) 6.02
Beef Brisket Flat(x5 trim) 6.12

As you see here from this table – It shows how beef point cuts tenaciously stand out compared to flats in terms of marbling but even the fattier cut produced only moderate fats relative to what’s considered high-fat.

How Do We Make Our Briskets Healthy?

Now that we have covered why/how wide-ranging across different brisket loves/haters’ viewpoints lie let’s switch things up and go through some methods one can follow through while creating their BBQ platter.

Trim That Fat!

You would not want all your delicious flavouring turning up next time around found dripping-away onto CO2-consuming aluminum foils!

Other than being an unwelcome mouth-feel excess fat has also been linked critical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes… So watch-out y’all ;).

Smoke That Meat… With Fruit-Woods

This method is used by barbecuers worldwide — Not only does it bring partaking infusive flavors tailored towards carrying certain notes is recommended over various wood specie types thanks to providing both moisture/burn qualities(vaporizing extra fatty elements).

The pecan/apple/peachwood varieties work splendidly alongside your barbecue sauce rubs; tangy sweet smokes mellow-down longer cooking times balancing-off succulently well.

A healthy/smokily unique brink-sider? Count me in!


Let’s get something straight here — brining meat in a mixture of “flavor carriers” and salty-marines BEFORE smoking/grilling helps substantially keep moisture locked-in, avoiding dependence on added fats(4).

So wouldn’t that also excuse my indulgent habit? Haha sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but keeping portion sizes moderate(stick as close to recommended intake ratio), knowing what product inspection/certs mean and cooking techniques—there with minor tweaks(big difference).


In conclusion, this was an exhaustive article delving deep into whether beef brisket is lean or fatty.

The answer lies somewhere in-between since it completely depends upon the trimming-methods, muscles being used/preparation-cooking style.

No matter how you choose your brisket cooked, We can all agree now—a pork-lover dietary restriction/diet-conscious-awareness shouldn’t stop one from enjoying traditional smokehouse Barbeque; Heck, switching some cuts /moderating portions can extend its umami-amplifying potential enough for many smoky servings! Yay!

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