Brisket is one of the shining stars of BBQ cuisine, and this meaty, chewy, crispy, piece of beef is a regular crowd favorite.
This particular cut of meat is found near the lower breast of a steer (a castrated male bovine typically bred for beef). In comparison to other beef cuts, brisket has a distinctive flavor and texture, and is often cooked low and slow to produce a tender, and flavorful piece of meat.
But did you know that brisket is an extremely versatile cut of beef, which can be prepared and served in a variety of different ways?
Because of its versatility, you might have a little difficulty finding brisket in supermarkets and grocery stores, which may leave you wondering whether brisket has any other names
In this guide, we’re going to look at what brisket is, different cuts of brisket, and brisket’s alternative names. Let’s get started!
What Is Brisket?
Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the breast section of a steer. This area of the body is covered with muscle, which helps food move around the body. This makes brisket an incredibly lean, yet tough piece of meat.
Although it has a few different names, the term brisket comes from the French word “brise-cœur”, which roughly translates to “breastbone”. And breastbone is another common name for brisket, because of the part of the steer’s body it comes from.
Composed of the pectoral muscles of the cow, brisket is one of the larger cuts of beef, and typically weighs between 8-20 lbs. It’s also a rather long piece of meat, which is why it’s normally cut in half and sold as two different cuts of meat.
As it’s sold as two different cuts, it can make it difficult to know what you’re looking for when shopping around for brisket.
Traditionally, the brisket was not a very popular cut of meat and was often discarded for stew meat or used to make ground beef. However, its popularity grew after people began smoking brisket on long, indirect heat – creating a tender, flavorsome piece of meat.
Today, briskets are one of the most popular cuts of beef, and people can’t seem to get enough of them.
As brisket is such a big cut of meat, it’s usually split up into two separate parts: the point and the flat.
The pointcut is the smaller of the muscles and is a fatty, marbled cut. As it’s nearer to the collarbone, the point is usually triangular. This part of the muscles isn’t as lean, which means that it’s a slightly more tender cut of meat.
The other brisket cut is known as the flat cut. It is closer to the rib cage and is often referred to as the center cut or the thin cut. It’s leaner than the pointcut, making it a more attractive, albeit more expensive, brisket cut.
The point is often referred to as the deckle, but it’s important to mention that the deckle is different from the point. The deckle refers to the muscle and fat that connects the flat to the rib cage. If you purchase brisket from a grocery store, the deckle will have already been removed.
There’s also a fat layer that separates the flat from the point, otherwise known as the “fat cap”. When you buy whole brisket pieces, the fat cap will make the brisket more tender.
If you’re looking to purchase a whole brisket – where both brisket cuts are included – it’s often called packer brisket, packer cut brisket, or whole packer brisket. These cuts can weigh anywhere between 12 t0 20 lbs.
What Does Beef Brisket Taste Like?
Brisket has a distinct meaty taste to it, but its taste can differ depending on how you prepare and cook it.
For instance, if you choose to brine and smoke your brisket, it will have a very distinctive smokey taste. But if you choose a braising liquid the individual ingredients will impart their own to the meat.
What Brisket Is Called In Different Parts Of The World?
It’s important to remember that each country has its unique cuisine and way of cooking things. When it comes to beef, it is cut, prepared, named differently depending on which country you’re in.
In France, Belgium, and Holland, brisket is often referred to as the flank, and so is the flank cut – which can get a little confusing. Also in France, the brisket is not always made into a separate cut from the chuck, so you may show a butcher which cut of meat you’re after on a chart.
The French and Canadians also refer to brisket as “pointrine”, with a flat brisket being labeled as “pointe de poitrine”, and full briskets labeled as “pointrine complete”.
Brisket has two different names in Spanish. One is “la falda de res”, and the other is “el pecho des res”.
In Israel, brisket is known as “chazeh”, or “bruit”.
Brisket also has different names in different parts of the United States. For instance, West Texans often refer to dry-rubbed brisket as “cowboy barbecue”. South Texans serve slow-cooked brisket in tacos, and the dish is called barbacoa brisket.
As noted, brisket is a very versatile cut of meat, and there are lots that you can do besides cooking it low and slow. Let’s take a look at some of the common ways in which brisket is used.
Corned beef is traditionally made using brisket cut. To make corned beef you need to cure the brisket first in brine solutions. Seasonings are added before the brisket is left to simmer slowly.
Once cooked, corned beef’s distinct pink color comes from adding a curing salt. Also known as Prague powder, this salt is made from sodium nitrate, and it’s this component that stops the meat from spoiling.
However, there is a lot of controversy surrounding nitrates, as they have been labeled as a possible carcinogen (can cause cancer) by the World Health Organization.
If you would like to make corned beef but are worried about the possible harmful effects of nitrates, beetroot powder makes an excellent substitute. This will help give the beef its distinctive pink color.
Corned beef is also made using the primal cut, which is considered to be tougher and leaner. However, the fat content of brisket makes it a better choice in our opinion, as it results in a more tender and moist corned beef.
Did you know this iconic deli meat is made from brisket? Typically made from the pointcut, the meat is brined, seasoned, dry-cured, smoked, and cooked.
Like corned beef, pastrami has a distinct pink color. However, they differ from one another because of the way that they are processed. Pastrami is smoked and cured before it is boiled, whereas corned beef is cooked as soon as it has been brined.
There are a variety of different ways in which you can make pastrami, but the easiest would be to start by making corned beef. Remove any loose pieces of excess fat, and then soak the corned beef for a couple of hours.
The soaking time will differ depending on the weight of the meat. Soaking will help remove the salt.
Once the corned beef has been soaked for the appropriate amount of time, apply a generous layer of seasoning rub. This is a mix of spices that give pastrami its distinctive flavor. For pastrami, we recommend using a mix of pepper and coriander seeds.
Once the meat is coated, you can then smoke it at a low temperature of around 225 °F, using a wood that produces a mild, smokey flavor. You’ll want to smoke your brisket until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F.
After the meat has rested, you can then begin carving it into thin slices.
Pot roast can be made using any cut of beef, including brisket. Before you begin to make pot roast, make sure that you trim any excess fat off of your brisket, and season it with salt and pepper. We also recommend adding some garlic salt for a little extra flavor.
Add the brisket to your slow cooker, making sure that the flat side is facing upwards. Add your desired vegetables and leave to cook on low heat. After a couple of hours, serve your pot roast with potatoes. You can also make a gravy from the juices of the brisket.
Like pot roast, the beef roast can be made from any cut of beef, but we recommend that you use either a front or rear cut, as they tend to be tougher and won’t fall apart. As brisket is quite a muscly cut of beef, it’s great for beef roasts.
To prepare your brisket for roasting, season it with salt, wrap it up, and refrigerate overnight. Take the brisket out of the refrigerator for at least one hour before you begin the cooking process.
This is because room temperature beef cooks more evenly.
Sear your beef before putting it in the oven to roast for 3-4 hours. Once cooked, let the brisket sit before putting it back in the refrigerator to collect the fat. When you’re ready, return the brisket to the stove, and heat once more.
Ground brisket can make a pretty delicious burger patty. You can ground brisket by putting them through a meat grinder. Once ground up, you can mold the meat into the shape of burger patties and cook them on medium-high heat, either in a frying pan or under the grill.
Pho is an extremely popular Vietnamese noodle soup that is made from beef stock, rice noodles, spices, and thinly sliced meat. It is the national dish of Vietnam, and the recipe dates back to the 1880s.
When making pho, brisket is considered the best beef cut to use. Because it’s quite a tough cut of beef it’s considered flavorsome and holds together during the long simmering process.
If you’re planning on making pho, we recommend using the flat cut as it has a lower fat content.
Whatever you wish to call it, brisket is a deliciously tender beef cut, so it’s no surprise that this is an extremely popular cut of beef.
If you’re looking to impress your friends and family with a mouth-wateringly good beef dish, why not check out one of the brisket recipes we’ve mentioned in this article.
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