what meat is beef brisket

Beef brisket is a large cut of meat from the breast or the lower chest of a cow. It is one of the nine beef primal cuts and one of the four main barbecue meats. It is a relatively tough piece of meat because the animal works it while moving.

Welcome to Brisket 101, your beginner’s guide to getting to know this beautiful cut of beef. If you’re on this page, you likely are searching for info on smoking the most luscious and tender piece of brisket possible and I am here for you! In today’s post, we’re starting with the basics: What is a brisket and where is the best place to purchase one? Step into my virtual classroom and I’ll share everything you need to know to smoke a brisket that is even better than your favorite BBQ restaurant.

I LOVE beef brisket. It might honestly be one of my favorite cuts of beef to eat and definitely the most rewarding to smoke. The process of smoking a full brisket is long, but believe me when I say it is completely worth it. Since it is such a time-intensive smoke, I want to you be thoroughly prepared and confident before you even turn on that grill.

I’ve smoked a lot of briskets over the last several years, each one better than the last. I’m going to share all that I’ve learned about the basics of beef brisket so you can smoke your very own brisket like a seasoned pitmaster. Join me as I take you step-by-step through the entire brisket process from start to finish.

Brisket is a cut of beef from the chest of the animal that is a relatively tough cut of meat. A full brisket is made up of two muscles that overlap. The thickest part of the brisket is called the “point” and the thinner, more uniform part of the brisket is called the “flat”. The point is often more heavily marbled with fat and is often called “fatty brisket” in BBQ joints. The flat is less fatty and called “lean” in restaurants.

After trying brisket from several different restaurants and making my own dozens of times, I know my favorite piece of brisket is absolutely a thick slice from the fatty point. I recommend going to your favorite BBQ restaurant and asking for a slice of the lean brisket and a slice of the fatty brisket to help you decide what you really like. If you’ve ever heard of Brisket Burnt Ends, they are often made from the fatty point of the brisket.

An uncooked brisket comes in many shapes and sizes at grocery stores and butcher counters. It can also be labeled in several different ways. Most of the time in your local grocer, you will see a small brisket (3-5 lbs) wrapped in cellophane that has had a majority of the fat trimmed away. These smaller brisket pieces are great for my Drunk Brisket Recipe or if you’re short on time or serving just a few people, but they are not what you’re looking for if you want that smokehouse brisket experience like with my Texas Style Brisket Recipe.

How to Cook Brisket In a Slow Cooker

One of the reasons so many cooks love using a slow cooker for brisket is because you put the ingredients in, set it and forget it. But no matter what the recipe says, if you take the time to add a step and sear the brisket before it goes in the slow cooker, you’ll end up with a more flavorful brisket.

What Part of the Cow Is Brisket?

A full brisket is a single cut of beef, and each cow has two: one on each side, just above the front shanks and below the chuck. The confusion comes from when you’re standing in front of the meat case, and see three different-looking pieces of meat, and they all say beef brisket. A full beef brisket is two pieces of meat that make up the whole. The butcher takes the brisket apart and trims it so that you have the choice between the leaner piece, usually called the flat brisket or first cut, and the more marbled piece with the most fat, often called the brisket point or second cut. The flat brisket is traditionally prepared on Jewish holidays, turned into corned beef or sometimes used in pho. The point brisket is the classic cut thats cooked in barbecue. All brisket, no matter which cut you choose, is a tough cut of meat that needs to be cooked low and slow: think oven, slow cooker or indirect heat on a grill.

Brisket is made up of the flat cut and the point cut.

  • Flat Cut or the First Cut: this cut is a large rectangle thats even in thickness. It is typically called for in brisket recipes that will be sliced, such as Jewish briskets.
  • Point Cut, Second Cut or Deckle: this cut has a rounded point on one end, is uneven in thickness and has more fat marbling than the first cut. Its typically called for in barbecue brisket recipes or recipes that will be shredded.

Seasoning a beef brisket with salt and pepper before barbequing on a smoker

How to Cook Brisket

Brisket is a cut of meat that needs to be cooked at a low temperature for a long time, so we’re talking about a braise. Here are some general tips and tricks. If you’re cooking a brisket flat or a brisket point on its own, it will cook in 3 to 3 1/2 hours. A whole brisket may take an extra hour. Be sure to check 30 minutes before the time is up: the brisket should be fork-tender and still juicy. Over cooking will dry it out. Your best bet is to cook your brisket the day before you’ll be slicing and serving it. Let it cool in the sauce that is in the pot, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day it will be really easy to remove all of the solidified fat from the top and discard it. Slicing the brisket cold is your best option for nice, even slices.

Beef brisket is a large cut of meat from the breast or the lower chest of a cow. It is one of the nine beef primal cuts and one of the four main barbecue meats. It is a relatively tough piece of meat because the animal works it while moving.


What is brisket called at the grocery store?

The brisket meat is also referred to as “breast meat.” It’s a flavorful and versatile cut that comes from the chest area of a cow. This part is known for its rich, beefy taste and is often used in slow-cooked dishes or for smoking and barbecuing such as smoke brisket.

What kind of meat is beef brisket?

Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the lower breast or pectoral muscles of a cow. Because this area is so well-exercised, it makes for quite a tough piece of meat that’s full of connective tissue. This is why it’s best suited towards a low and slow cooking process.

Is beef brisket a good quality meat?

Yes, brisket is a popular cut of meat for smoking and slow cooking. It comes from the lower chest of the cow and is known for its rich flavor and tenderness when cooked properly. Many people enjoy brisket for its versatility and delicious taste.

Is chuck roast the same as brisket?

Chuck roast contains more fat than brisket. Consequently, it is more tender and flavorful. However, if you are a steak lover, you would know that more fat content can imply more time trimming or a greasier dish if not done properly. Brisket has a lower fat content and is typically leaner.

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