The chest muscles of the steer, between the two front legs. Each side of the animal has one set of these muscles, called the flat and the point. The point sits on top of the flat, with the grain running a different direction, and separated from the flat by a strip of fat. Frequently used in Texas barbecue and Jewish cuisine.
You can the whole brisket intact as a “packer brisket,” which weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of ten pounds. Otherwise, you’re probably going to get the brisket cut in half -- most likely a piece of the flat, possibly including the point, possibly not.
The brisket does an enormous amount of work holding the animal upright, and develops an enormous amount of connective tissue as a result. That connective tissue has to be dealt with, or the cooked meat will be ridiculously tough.
How do you deal with the connective tissue? Melt it. Cook the cut low and slow, using either a wet or dry method.
Low and slow in a wet environment means braising.
Low and slow in a dry environment enter the realm of barbecue -- an enormous, deeply contentious topic.
I discuss the ins and outs of barbecuing a whole packer brisket here.
Otherwise, if we're getting to know our primals, let's move on to the rib.