Is Brisket Beef or Pork?


Is Brisket Beef or Pork

Where does brisket come from, does it come from a pig or a cow? Where on a cow or pig does brisket come from? Below you will look at the answers to these questions: Is Brisket Beef or Pork, and much more in detail. If you love your brisket or are simply looking at how to prepare a brisket, you don’t want to miss out on these helpful kitchen tips and tricks! 

smoked brisket close up

What Animal is Brisket From

You may have heard the term brisket, and are wondering which animal it comes from, and where on the animal it is located. In the sections that follow, we are going to answer all of your questions in regards to whether brisket is pork or beef, and much more. 

In determining what animal a brisket is from, we will look at the different cuts of a cow and the types of meat that come from pigs. This will help you determine which animal brisket comes from, how to cook it, where to buy it, and much more. Be sure to check out the following sections below to learn the answers to all of your questions. 

Is Brisket Pork or Beef

Brisket refers to a cut of meat, this type of meat is loved and enjoyed because of the delicious taste you get when it is cooked low and slow.  

When brisket is smoked over low temperatures for a period of time it can become a very tender and juicy piece of meat.

However, if it is cooked fast, you may end up with a tough section of meat. Now, does brisket come from a cow, or from a pig, or can it come from both?  

Is Brisket Beef

Traditionally, when you think of brisket, it refers to a section of meat that comes from a cow’s lower chest. This section of beef is a well-used muscle, that is worked regularly by the cow, and can be tough if not cooked correctly.

However, when the brisket is cooked over low heat for a period of time, you get the most delicious tasting beef. 

Is Brisket Pork

But what about pigs? Can brisket also be a cut of pork? Although brisket commonly refers to a cut of beef that is readily available at most local grocery stores, some specialty butchers can prepare a pork brisket. 

smoked brisket with peppers

Is There a Pork Brisket

When butchers prepare a pork brisket, it is typically made up of two cuts of meat and has a lean end and a fatty end. When the specialty pork brisket is prepared by select butchers, it is made up of the pork belly, and a cut of meat called the pork picnic, giving you the fattiness of the belly, and leaner meat from the picnic.  

Please note though, that it is highly unlikely you will be able to go to your local grocery store and pick up something called a pork brisket. Most mass producer butchers, that supply meet to the local grocery stores, do not produce the specific cut of meat. 

Another name for brisket on a pig can be a pork shoulder. This cut of meat can be picked up from local grocery stores and prepared as a brisket. Because a pork shoulder is similar to brisket, it can be cooked low and slow, and have a similar outcome as a brisket would. 

Where Does Brisket Come From

Both a cow and a pig have brisket, now, let’s look at specifically where does brisket come from on both cows, and pigs. Below we will show you a diagram of where these pieces of meat come from on each animal. 

What is a Pork Brisket

There are actually a couple of different ways you could find a “pork brisket” as we mentioned above. A pork brisket can be made by a specialty butcher using the pork belly, and picnic, giving you a lean and fatty section of the brisket. 

However, because this is very rare to find, and you would need to have a butcher cut it specifically for you, the more common cut of pork to cook like brisket is the pork shoulder. You can pick up a pork shoulder at most any grocery store.

Pig Brisket Location

Prok diagram

What Part of the Cow Does Brisket Come From

More commonly is the beef brisket which comes from a cow. The cut of beef known as brisket, comes from the cow’s lower chest area.

Beef brisket is best cooked low and slow because of the lean nature of this muscle. When beef brisket is cooked low and slow, it results in a nice, juicy, and tender piece of meat. 

Cow Brisket Location

beef diagram

What’s the Difference Between Beef and Pork Brisket?

The main difference between beef and pork brisket is that beef brisket is readily available, while pork brisket is not always available. Sometimes a pork shoulder is substituted for a brisket for pork, and can be prepared similar to a brisket, tasting just as delicious. 

Lamb Brisket

But what about lamb, can you purchase a lamb brisket as well? The answer is yes, lamb meat also has brisket.

Typically, lamb brisket comes from breast meat, and has similar characteristics to beef brisket, except it is typically much fattier.

Oftentimes, lamb brisket can also be cut from the lamb’s ribs, which is a nice fatty cut of meat, and when cooked can become very tender and juicy. 

Lamb diagram

Where to Buy Brisket

Beef brisket can easily be picked up at your local grocery store near you. Local stores, and chain grocery stores will all usually carry beef briskets.

Pork briskets are more difficult to find, and will need to be purchased from a specialty butcher. Or you can purchase a pork shoulder from your local grocery store, and prepare it as a brisket. 

Cutting Against the Grain Brisket

Cutting your brisket is vitally important for having your brisket turn out well. Surprisingly, in addition to cooking your brisket, how it is cut makes a huge difference in how the meat tastes. 

After you have cooked your brisket, check for the grain of your brisket. You want to cut your brisket against the grain so that it tastes amazing. Under no circumstances do you want to cut your brisket with the grain. 

By cutting your brisket against the grain, breaks up the muscle tissue and makes each bite delightfully tender. Cutting your brisket against the grain will allow you to enjoy the best overall flavor and texture of your brisket. 

Brisket with black background

Knife for Cutting Brisket

Are you looking for the best knives for brisket, that will cut your meat perfectly? You want to look for one that can cut through your entire brisket at the same time. This means you will most likely want a long knife.

You will also want to look for a knife that has a serrated blade and is very sharp. The serrated blade will help you to cut through the meat and get the best results. Knowing what the best knife to slice a brisket is will help you enjoy the best tasting meat. 


What’s the difference between brisket and pork?

Brisket commonly refers to a specific cut of beef that comes from a callus chest area. However, there are a couple of cuts of pork that can be referred to as pork brisket as well. 

Is pork belly the same as brisket?

In general, no, pork belly is not the same as brisket. Typically, a pork belly is where bacon comes from, whereas a specialty cut of pork belly and pork picnic made by a butcher, can make a lovely pork brisket. 

Do you cut brisket against the grain?

Yes! For the best results and taste, you will want to cut your brisket against the grain. This helps to break down the meat and makes it tender. 

Is Texas brisket beef or pork?

Like most cases, Texas brisket refers to beef, not pork. It is safe to assume, that when the brisket is commonly referred to, it will mean a cut of beef and not pork. 

How to cook a pork brisket?

The best way to cook a pork brisket is to cook it low and slow. If you have a smoker, this is the best way, however, you could also use a grill, bake in your oven, or cook brisket in electric roaster. 

To cook a pork brisket, you will want to preheat your smoker to 225°F, then apply your rub to the brisket, and place it onto your smoker to smoke. 

You will want to smoke your pork brisket until it reaches the internal temperature of 145°F. In some cases, we have found that continuing to smoke your pork until it reaches the internal temperature of 200°F to 205°F will give you the best results, however, this may be a matter of preference.

When your desired internal temperature is reached, you can remove your pork from the smoker, and allow it to rest before serving. Then cut, serve, and enjoy. 

fresh brisket

Brisket is Beef or Pork

In summary, is the brisket beef or pork? Traditionally brisket is known as a cut of beef, however, there are a couple of different cuts of pork that can also be known as brisket.

On a cow, brisket comes from the lower chest area, and on a pig, brisket can be from a combination of pork belly and picnic, or a pork shoulder can be prepared as brisket as well. Now that you know all about brisket, it’s time to get cooking!

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Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

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