What Part of Cow is Brisket


Beef brisket has become a popular cut of meat that when it’s cooked low and slow turns into a delicious meal to be enjoyed. It has become a favorite for American barbecues and smokers. But what part of a cow is brisket?

We’ll provide the answer, plus how to choose the best brisket, how to cook beef brisket, as well as our top tips for preparing the best beef brisket meal.

Two large pieces of smoked brisket meat

What is Brisket?

Brisket is a large cut of meat that comes from a cow. The brisket muscles support the majority of the cow’s bodyweight, making it a barbecue favorite because slow-cooking brisket melts the connective tissue making the meat a tender feast to enjoy. 

Where on the Cow Does it Come From?

Brisket is located at the front of the cow right over the legs at the lower chest portion. See our diagram.

How to Shop for Brisket?

If your goal is to find the best cut, then likely you’ll want to know how to choose the best beef brisket. And here are our tips for making the best selection.

Freshness. Look for brisket that’s as fresh as possible. You can talk to your meat department at your local grocery store or your butcher shop.  Pay attention to the best if used by date to help you determine the freshness.

Good Marbling. Choose a cut that has good marbling. Good marbling equates to good flavor as well as helps provide moisture to the outcome. 

Certified Angus Beef. If you want to take it one step further for quality, confirm that your potential cut is certified angus beef.

Why Brisket is So Popular?

Brisket used to be one of the cheaper options as far as cuts of beef is concerned which made it a good option for those who couldn’t afford the pricier cuts.

However, as time has gone on brisket has become popular and the price has increased because of its use and popularity as smoked brisket across America.

How to Cook a Beef Brisket

The best ways to cook a beef brisket are by smoking it, roasting it, or braising it. Let’s take a look at each method.

Sliced beef brisket on black slate board.


When smoking a beef brisket, we recommend using a pellet smoker.

Trim any unwanted fat from the edge of the brisket.

Add salt, pepper, and garlic along with any other desired seasonings.

Preheat smoker to 225F degrees and place the brisket on the smoker.

Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 165F degrees.

Remove the brisket from the smoker and wrap tightly in foil.

Place back on the smoker and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 200F degrees. This will likely take several hours, depending on the weight of your cut of beef. 

Remove from oven and let rest for about 30 minutes. 

Cut the brisket against the grain and serve.


Oven roasting your beef brisket is another way to provide delicious results. 

Begin by mixing a dry rub that will cover the entire outside of your chunk of meat.

Then, wrap the meat in a couple layers of foil, making sure it’s nice and tight.

Preheat the oven to 300F degrees and place the meat inside a roasting pan.

Place in the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches about 180F degrees.

Open the foil and place the meat back in the oven to lightly brown the outside for about 45 minutes.

Let rest for about 30 minutes. 

Cut the brisket against the grain and serve.


To braise beef brisket, here are our recommended steps for a tasty outcome.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. And season the brisket on all sides with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings. 

Lightly dust the brisket with flour.

In a baking pan, heat a few tablespoons of cooking oil and brown the brisket on each side.

Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or a lid. Transfer to the oven.

Cook until the desired internal temperature is reached.

Let rest for about 30 minutes. 

Cut the brisket against the grain and serve.

Raw piece of marble beef brisket

What is Connective Tissue?

Connective tissue is typically left attached to a beef brisket when it’s purchased and should be removed. Its job is to bind structures together.


Elastin is a form of a connective tissue that’s a protein that forms the silverskin and ligaments in a particular cut of meat. It’s what many refer to as the gristle. 


Collagen is another common protein found in meat. Its job is to encase elongated muscle fibers and binds them together.

Three Cuts of a Beef Brisket

There are three main cuts of beef brisket and they’re described as follows.

Full Packer.

The full packer of beef brisket refers to the whole cut and includes both the flat and the point.

About The Flat.

The flat is known as the leaner portion of meat and makes up the majority of the brisket.

About The Point.

The point is the portion of meat that includes more fat and is shaped like a point.

Where to Buy Brisket Online

We have never purchased meat online because of our desire for our meat to be as fresh as possible.

However, buying food online is increasing in popularity. There are many places that sell meat online and will deliver it directly to your door.

Where the Fat is and How Much to Trim

The main portions of fat that you’ll want to trim before cooking are the exterior portions.

If your cut of meat has thick fat around the edges, or has the gristle left in place, you’ll want to use a sharp knife to remove them before cooking.

What Are the Different Cuts of Beef?

The main cuts of beef are as follows:


The brisket has become a popular cut and is widely used for smoking and eating at American Barbeques.

The brisket is located on the front of the cow right over the legs at the lower chest portion.


The chuck is located at the animal’s upper shoulder and lower neck. Beef chuck makes a good substitute for beef brisket when the need arises. 


Beef round is a lean cut that comes from the animal’s hind portion including butt and thigh. It is a less expensive cut of beef. 


Beef loin is located in the area beneath the backbone. Some consider it to be the best cut of beef because it is so tender, juicy, and flavorful.


The flank is located just in front of the hind legs and right below the loin.  Most flank steak cuts are long and thin. They tend to be flavorful but at the same time can be one of the tougher cuts.


Beef ribs are a great cut for an all-American BBQ and consumers love to cook them on their grill or smoker.

The location of beef ribs are as the name suggests, they’re cut from the cow’s ribs.


The plate shank cut of beef is located right behind the front legs on the belly portion of the cow. When the ribs are separated from the carcass, the lower portion that remains is the beef plate.

Beef cutting scheme chalk

Tips for Cooking Beef Brisket

When cooking beef brisket, you’re investing a fair amount of time and money. And chances are you want to obtain the best possible outcome for delicious beef. Here are our top tips to help you achieve the best beef brisket.  

Choose a good cut. Choose the best cut of brisket as possible, which includes some marbling of fat, keeping in mind that you’ll also want to incorporate freshness into your best choice.

Season meat. We recommend seasoning your meat with your favorite rub, patting and covering it on all sides before it’s cooked. This will help to enhance the flavor and make it delicious.

Tenderize. Take the time to tenderize your meat before cooking it.

Cook low and slow. Regardless of the cooking method that is chosen, you’ll want to be sure to take the time to cook your meat low and slow.  It’s worth the wait and provides the most tasty and tender outcome. 

How to Slice and Carve a Beef Brisket

The main aspect that you’ll want to keep in mind when slicing a beef brisket is to cut against the grain for the best results. 

By slicing against the grain, you can create nice, neat slices that are manageable and easier to cut when consuming.

Large piece of smoked brisket meat on a wooden board

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Brisket

The best way to store leftover brisket is in the refrigerator or freezer.

Refrigerator. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freezer. Store in an airtight container or zipped freezer bag for up to 2 months without compromising quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to what part of cow is brisket. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it. 

Is corned beef the same as beef brisket?

No, corned beef and beef brisket are two different things. Beef brisket refers to a particular cut of beef, whereas corned beef refers to a particular way that beef brisket is prepared. Corned beef is a recipe for preparing beef brisket.

How long does brisket take to cook?

The length of time it takes to cook brisket depends on the size of the brisket as well as how it’s prepared, and the method used to cook it.

Our recommendation is to plan 30 to 60 minutes of cook time per pound.

What is brisket meat called at the grocery store?

When shopping for brisket, you’ll want to ask the butcher or grocery store meat department for beef brisket.

Can I use another type of meat in place of brisket?

If your recipe calls for beef brisket and you’re looking for a substitute, Chuck roast can be a good replacement and depending on the situation can be a more economical purchase.

Is brisket the best part of a cow?

Whether brisket is the best part of a cow is a matter of opinion. Brisket has gained popularity in recent years and the price of it shows. 

When cooked low and slow to a tender outcome, brisket can be a delicious meal that some consider the best part of the cow. 

How to serve a beef brisket?

There are many ways to serve beef brisket. If you want it to be the focus of your meal, you. can serve it sliced on its own. Beef brisket also tastes great in stews and soups, on tacos, and in sandwiches.

Do I need to cook beef brisket ahead of time?

No, you don’t have to cook beef brisket ahead of time.  It’s fine to cook it and serve it simultaneously.

However, if you have time and choose to cook it a day or two in advance, it allows flavors to meld for a delicious outcome.

Do I need to use a special pot to cook a beef brisket?

Any oven safe pot or Dutch oven works well for cooking beef brisket whether in the oven or on the smoker.

Other Ideas:

How to Smoke Corn on The Cob
Smoked Apple Pie
Smoked Green Beans
Smoked Baked Beans

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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