Is Brisket Beef or Pork (This Might Suprise You!)

Are you ready to have a go at smoking a juicy brisket? 

But before that, let’s learn whether brisket is beef or pork.

This is crucial in case you have guests with dietary or religious restrictions. 

Is Brisket Beef Or Pork? 

Although traditionally considered beef, brisket can either be beef or pork. 

However, the two briskets are not entirely the same.

Beef brisket is relatively larger and more popular than pork brisket.

What Is Pork Brisket? 

Pork brisket is a cut of meat found on a pig’s pectoral muscles.

The meat is obtained by removing the hog’s upper picnic ham from the pork shoulder. 

What remains is the lower shoulder and the pectoral region, making up a pork brisket. 

Pork brisket, weighing 3.5 to 4 lbs, comprises two parts. 

A lean end like the flat obtained from the pork belly

And a fat section like the point obtained from the picnic shoulder.

What’s The Difference Between Brisket And Pork? 

The main difference between brisket and pork is that beef brisket comes from a cow’s breast area while pork brisket comes from the pork shoulder. 

Other differences include: 

Price

Brisket is more expensive than pork. Its price is about three times that of pork. 

Ease Of Cooking

Both cuts of meat have a lot of connective tissue, making them ideal for smoking.

But smoking pork is easier than brisket.

The pork cooks faster and has more marbling. Thus, it’s not prone to drying out as brisket.

Brisket is more susceptible to experiencing “the stall” than pork.

Smoking the lean end until tender without drying it is also challenging. 

What’s more, pork is simpler to handle than brisket.

Briskets can be tough and difficult to eat if undercooked and overly dry when overcooked. 

Taste 

Brisket has a strong meaty and earthy flavor, while pork has a rich, fatty, and sweet flavor.  

Sides

The unique taste of these cuts of meat makes their sides different.

Brisket is best served with pickles, potato salads, pinto beans, onion slices, and spicy barbecue sauce.

See the full list of what to serve with brisket here

Pork pairs well with mac n cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw. 

See the full list of what to serve with pork here

Is Texas Brisket Beef Or Pork? 

Texas brisket is beef, not pork. 

Its history dates back to the 1800s, when many Germans, Czechs, and Ashkenazi Jews emigrated to Texas.

The Ashkenazi Jewish culture had strict dietary rules but permitted eating beef brisket.

The brisket was also affordable, making it a popular cuisine among them in the 1700s. 

Upon immigration, the Jews brought their cuisine and were the first lot to smoke brisket in Texas.

 Soon they started selling smoked brisket in grocery stores.

After some time, other non-Jewish BBQ restaurants began serving brisket exclusively in their barbecue joints.

And that’s where the famous Texas brisket came to be known worldwide. 

What Is Beef Brisket?

Beef brisket is a primal cut of beef. 

So, it’s among the major cuts of meat separated from the carcass in the initial butchering phase. 

Where is it located? Beef brisket is found in a steer’s lower breast or pectoral muscle. Below the chunk and above the foreshank. 

Each steer has two cuts of briskets located on either side of the carcass. 

The muscles in the chest region are often used to support the steer’s return to a standing position.

This makes its connective tissues tough.

So, unless you choose a slow cooking process, the tough pieces of meat become chewy and stringy. 

Slow cooking lets the brisket muscles gradually break down.

The result is a rich flavor and tender brisket.

What Are Beef Brisket Cuts? 

Beef brisket can be divided into two “subprimal cuts,” the point and the flat.

A “packer brisket” or a “whole packer” is a brisket sold as a whole, not divided. 

The point, weighing 4-7 lbs, is slightly rounded and has high-fat content. 

The flat is a long, flat piece of meat with a rectangular appearance. 

It weighs 6 – 10 lbs. Its leaner than the point. However, you can still smoke it

See the full recipe for how to smoke a brisket flat here.

You will need to trim the brisket. Trimming it to ¼ inch yields the best results.

Does Beef Brisket Come From A Cow Or Steer?

A cow is a female animal that has recently given birth.

 A heifer is a female animal that hasn’t given birth but may do so in the future. 

When male calves are born, they are usually neutered between three to six months to become steers. 

Calves that have reached two years without being neutered are called bulls.

The neutering process makes the animal docile and prevents reproduction.

This results in tender and well-marbled meat. 

Although cows have the brisket primal, their meat is not ideal for brisket cut. 

And anytime you buy beef brisket, most probably the meat was obtained from a steer, not a cow.

How To Smoke Beef Brisket

Smoking is among the best methods of cooking beef brisket. 

The steady low temperatures over a long time ensure the meat is tender and juicy.

Below is a general guide to smoking. However there are detailed guides for each type of smoker;

Smoking a brisket using an electric smoker

Smoking a brisket using a Pit Boss

Smoking a brisket using a Big Green Egg

Step 1: Season your raw brisket and preheat the smoker to 225 degrees and set it up for indirect heat.

Step 2: Place the meat on the smoker, with the point facing the primary heat source.

Step 3: Close the lid and smoke the meat until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees or it begins to stall. 

Step 4: Wrap the brisket in foil or butcher paper once it stalls. 

Step 5: Return the wrapped meat to the smoker, ensuring the seam side is kept down.

Step 6: Close the smoker’s lid. Cook the brisket until its temperatures in the thickest part reach 204°F. 

Step 7: Place the brisket in a cooler and allow it to rest until its reaches 140°F.

Step 8: Slice your cooked brisket and enjoy.

Brisket can be either beef or pork. 

However its more common that someone is referring to beef when they say brisket.

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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