Need a Substitute for Brisket? (Here Are 8 Tasty Alternatives)

Brisket is in hot demand!

For a cut that used to be considered “cheap”, it is now one of the most expensive at the butcher or supermarket.

Usually, meat that is full of connective tissue and fat (that gives it extra flavor) is considered a tough cut and therefore cheap.

Brisket is packed full that connective tissue (that is why it has too cooked low and slow!)

However, due to its rise in popularity, it can be hard to find as well as expensive. So if you can’t find any brisket or you just can’t afford it, you might be wondering if there is anything similar?

In this article, we’ll be exploring all of the possible substitutes for briskets. Continue to read on to find out all about the brisket substitutes available out on the market.

4 types of brisket substitutes on my kitchen bench

Are They Any Brisket Substitutes?

Yes, of course! Different cuts of meat can substitute for brisket meat.

This also includes different cuts of beef.

 And if you don’t eat beef, then there are other meat options out there like chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, and even vegetarian options!

What Should You Look For in a Good Brisket Substitute?

Some of the factors that you should make sure to consider includes:

  • What type of meat do you prefer to use?
  • Your chosen cooking method
  • What can you afford?
  • What is available in your butcher/ supermarket?
  • What recipe have you decided to go with?

The best-cooked brisket substitute would include meat that’s tough and has some marbling. Another thing that you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for is meats that are known for having connective tissue.

Can’t Find Brisket at a Butcher Place Near You? Here Are Some Other Options

Sometimes you really can’t get fresh brisket at the supermarket or your local butchers. It’s a little bit of a bummer, but it does happen sometimes. But you don’t have to worry about it, because we have quite a few suggestions of other beef cuts you can use instead. 

The first beef brisket substitute cut that we want to recommend is beef shanks.
These are great if you need a slow-cooked beef brisket substitute. For example, if you previously wanted to cook a brisket in a stew or soup. Beef shanks make for very tasty and tender meat when cooked on low heat for a long time.

The next beef cut is a tri-tip roast.
This cut is actually from sirloin cuts. If you had planned to cook brisket more conventionally then this is the cut for you. It can weigh up to five to six pounds and it’s great for grilling, smoking, or even roasting.

It can also easily feed up to six people. The only real difference it has from a brisket cut is that it has a faster cooking time. This means that you should always keep an eye on it during the entire cook. Overcooking it will ruin the meat’s texture.

tri tip is a beef brisket substitute cut

The third option is short ribs.
 If you were planning to cook with bone-in brisket, then beef short ribs are a good alternative. The meat is known to be tough (like brisket) and it’s also jam-packed with flavor. This is because the meat, fat, and bone of short ribs all contribute to its delicious taste. 

beef ribs is a brisket alternative cuts

Our final beef option includes a chuck roast.
This is a cut of beef that has very nice marbling. It is generally known to be smaller in size than a normal brisket. But it’s still perfectly good if you have about four to five mouths to feed at the dinner table.

Chuck roast is especially great for smoking or roasting. It provides a tender and juicy roast because the fat from the marbling breakdown during the cooking process.

You should prepare it like you would a normal smoked brisket. Start with a good spice rub, then smoke it for a couple of hours until its internal temp reaches 203℉.

CHUCK ROAST ON THE SMOKER WITH TEMP PROBE INSERTED, LOOKING FOR 160 OR SO INTERNAL TEMP, BARK COLOR AND FAT RENDER BEFORE WRAPPING

Brisket Can Be Expensive

Another reason why you’re looking for an alternative to beef brisket could be because it can be a little too pricey. That’s completely okay and understandable.

After all, a whole packer brisket can easily cost up to $100 — it’s a very expensive piece of meat. 

Cheaper beef alternatives would include beef clods or chuck roast. Beef Chuck roast is a very excellent substitute if you were intending to make brisket roast. 

Another meat replacement option is poultry. We would personally suggest turkey thigh, duck thigh, or even chicken thigh meat. The thigh offers much firmer meat that is kind of similar to the substantial texture of brisket meat. You can see more about this in the next section

What if You Prefer Not to Eat Beef?

We completely understand that not every person likes beef or can eat beef. You might have dietary restrictions or cultural reasons against consuming this type of meat.

If so, we have some suggestions for other alternative meats you could try. 

Lamb

The lamb shoulder is great if you’re looking for an alternative similar to the brisket point. This is because it consists of quite a lot of fat and connective tissues. 

And if you intend to use the cooking methods of grilling or smoking, then you should opt for lamb chops. But you’re looking to do a roast or stew, then lamb leg is the cut you should use.

Pork

Pork brisket is very similar to beef brisket. So, this is the cut of meat that we would highly recommend to those looking for a very similar texture and taste experience.

An interesting fact is that many of the dry rub brisket recipes found online also suggest for you to use them on pork briskets.

Pork briskets are also great because they are less expensive and they’re excellent for smoking on the barbecue.

Turkey

If you’re a fan of turkey and you’re looking for a brisket roast substitute, then you definitely can’t go wrong with turkey thigh meat. The texture is tough enough to replicate brisket meat.

Chicken

Chicken thighs are by far the cheapest option. plus, there’s lots of fat on this cut of meat. This is what makes it so good for slow cooking at low temperatures.

Can You Use Corned Beef Brisket As A Substitute?

The short answer is ‘yes. But we really wouldn’t recommend it. Sure, corned beef brisket is a lot easier to find in supermarkets compared to normal fresh briskets. But it is meat that has already brined and is covered in spices.

This can make the meat taste a bit funny if you were to prepare it like you would a normal brisket. 

If you want to use it as a replacement for ordinary brisket, then go right ahead. But we would suggest that you soak it in some warm water first. This process will take a few hours to get rid of some of the extra spices.

Are There Any Good Vegetarian Substitutes For Brisket?

Believe it or not, you can use tofu, nut roast, jackfruit, or seitan as a vegetarian or vegan alternative for brisket.

Seitan is a good option, It’s one of the most popular vegan or vegetarian meat substitutes available. It’s has a convincing texture and taste experience of cooked meat.. You can make it at home by washing flour until all your left is the pure form of gluten. However, this can take a little time and can be costly if you’re not a fan of wasting precious water. Thankfully, you can buy seitan at the shops too.

Jackfruit, on the other hand, is a tropical fruit. It has quite a unique texture and it’s great to enjoy on its own as a fruit. However, you can also prepare it and cook it in a way so that it functions as a very nice meat substitute.

jackfruit is a substitute for brisket

Sure, none of these substitutions will taste exactly like true, authentic beef brisket. But not everyone can either get their hands on or consume beef briskets. In those cases, what we’ve suggested in this article function as great alternatives that provide for a ‘brisket-like experience.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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