It can be difficult to distinguish between corned beef and beef brisket.
Their cooking methods are vastly different. As a result, their taste, texture, and handling are entirely different.
Some people may be surprised to learn that corned beef does not contain corn.
It’s actually called corned beef due to the corn kernel sized salt used to cure it in the 17th century!
In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between these two types of meat, as well as their cooking methods.
We will also be answering some frequently asked questions about corned beef.
Continue reading on to learn all about the differences between corned beef and beef brisket.
How Does Brisket Differ From Corned Beef?
There are various ways to distinguish between these two types of meat. For example, from …
- The color of the meat
- The package
- The written labeling
- Corned beef is cheaper than brisket
Brisket is also always found in stores completely raw, in essence, it’s unprocessed meat.
On the other hand, corned beef is preserved in a brine solution. Its coloring also tends to be bright red or pink due to this brining process.
The pink color is usually caused by the use of pink curing salt; which is helps to both extend its shelf life as well as give it some color.
However, brisket is a good alternative if you can’t find corned beef.
What You Need to Know About Brisket
Brisket is known as one of the primal cuts of beef. One cow will yield two of these cuts of meat — one from the left and right side of the animal.
These cuts of beef are known to be quite tough as it contains muscles that are often used by the animal.
Specifically, it is one of the biggest muscles that help provide support when the cow moves to stand up from a resting position.
In terms of location, this piece of meat comes from just below the animal’s lower rib area and it also contains quite a bit of fat.
Brisket must be cooked using the ‘low and slow‘ method due to the audience of connective tissue.
In other words, this type of meat requires a long cooking time and should be cooked at a lower temperature.
Brisket Flat and Brisket Point
A regular brisket usually refers to one that is sold as a whole (as known as a packer brisket.
The packer contains both the flat and the point.
The flat resembles a sort of rectangle that usually lies quite flat.
It mainly consists of lean meat but the brisket flat will also have a sliver of fat that runs throughout it.
On the other hand, the brisket point looks more like a triangle and it has a much higher fat content.
This is because this part of the brisket will also have a fat cap; essentially, a large layer of fat.
How Do You Prep Beef Brisket?
Trimming away the fat is the first step in preparing a beef brisket.
It doesn’t matter if you’re braising it in a pressure cooker or smoking it on a charcoal grill.
It is critical to remove enough fat from the meat so that the heat can penetrate through to cook the meat properly.
Having said that, the brisket still needs enough fat to keep the meat moist throughout the cooking process.
It’s critical to leave at least a half-inch of fat on the brisket so that it’s juicy and melts in your mouth once it’s cooked.
Other steps included in the preparation process include marinating it.
This can be done in various ways. For example, through the application of a good spice rub.
Particularly, one that consists of brown sugar, black pepper, a spice blend or some other spice mixture, and kosher salt.
Of course, you could also season a brisket through the use of a salty brine, if wet marinades are what you prefer to work with.
What Is Corned Beef?
Corned beef, as previously stated, is meat that has been cured with a salt brine — a solution typically made with large and coarse grains of salt.
This salt-cured meat is usually eaten on St. Patrick’s Day and it’s usually eaten with cabbage.
The reason it is called corned beef is due to the corn-sized salt
Even though corned beef has been cured with excess salt, it still needs to be cooked through properly before it can be served.
The curing process doesn’t cook it. You’ll also be able to tell when corned beef has been cooked properly because the meat should begin to fall apart when you stab it with a fork.
Much like brisket, it can be cooked in various different ways. But we would recommend simmering it on the stove for best results. You’ll be able to tell when it’s done when its internal temperature is approximately 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
As always, it’s best to use a meat thermometer to keep an eye on the beef’s temperature while it’s cooking.
It is also the type of meat that is usually used for making a Reuben sandwich. The cured meat is placed between two slices of rye bread, and it’s accompanied by sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and melted Swiss cheese.
The best thing about corned beef? You can freeze the cooked corned beef and use it mid week for lunches or quick dinners.
Is It Bad for Your Health?
Much like with any cured meat like ham or bacon, corned beef should not be consumed on a daily basis. It’s important to moderate your intake of it because it contains a lot of salt which can lead to an unbalanced or even a bad diet.
However, it is still completely fine to consume it in small amounts. For example, placing it in a sandwich or eating it with a side of potatoes and some vegetables.
Here are a few semi-healthy recipes that we’d recommend you try:
- Corned Beef Cabbage Rolls
- Smoked Corned Beef Recipe
- Corned Beef Silverside with Parsley Chat Potatoes
Both brisket and corned beef are two very different types of meat that have been processed in different ways. While they are both beef, corned beef is definitely a lot saltier and can’t be incorporated into as many dishes.
With that being said, both of these meats are full of protein and are delicious! We hope that our article has helped you learn a little more about their differences.
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.
Hungry For More?