Q: I'm confused about the different terms for cuts of corned beef. What's the difference in quality between flat cut and point cut brisket?
A: Both flat cut and point cut are parts of brisket the flat cut, also called the first cut, is bigger and leaner; the point cut, also called the second cut, is fattier and triangle-shaped. They're both excellent for corned beef, so the question is mostly one of preference. If you choose a point cut, then you'll want to trim off at least a little of the external fat. If you're planning corned beef sandwiches, the flat cut's shape makes it easier to slice evenly.
Incidentally, the point cut has an extra-thick layer of fat separating it from the flat, so it's particularly well-suited for smoking (meaning it makes excellent pastrami).
Though corned beef got its start as a salt-curing method (the "corn" refers to large grains of salt), most corned beef is now long-brined, in a combination of salt, pickling spices, and saltpeter. What you're really looking for, then, is a cut of meat that'll respond well to brining some recipes will call for top or bottom round to be used for a leaner corned beef, but neither cut has the marbling that brisket does, meaning that you'll trade both flavor and texture.
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