I noticed at my market there are two different types of corned beef. Flat cut and point cut. What's the difference, besides the point cut being about $2 cheaper in price?
It refers to which part of the brisket the beef comes from. Point cut is much fattier than flat cut.
The whole brisket is usually split into two parts, the first or flat cut, and the second or point cut. Of the two cuts the point is thicker, fattier, more flavorful and tender than a flat cut.
My brother-in-law, David, owns a barbecue restaurant and he tells me a full size beef brisket weighs between 8 and 12 pounds, so the brisket is cut in half for retail sale. The Flat Cut is leaner and thinner and has the fat on one side of the meat surface.
The second cut from the brisket is the Point Cut and is a thicker piece of meat containing more internal fat running throughout the cut. It looks fatty and not as pretty as a Flat Cut. However, it can be equally as flavorful as the Flat Cut. Seems to me that since corned beef is brined, either cut should be great.
Here is a link with a picture.
I've had corned beef from both cuts. I do prefer the flat since it is a nice even size and much less fatty. The point is great to barbecue since it is so fatty - makes great burnt ends.
Since it is such a tough cut of meat, I usually get the fattier, cheaper, point cut. Very long low slow cooking will break down the fat and connective tissue. I love this Suzanne Goin method found here.