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What Is A Brisket?

by Lianne Jones February 22, 2022

What Is A Brisket?

There's nothing better than a mouth-watering brisket, is there? It's the kind of meat you put in a smoker, the kind of meat that melts in your mouth! Brisket is incredible, it's one of the best ways to enjoy meat that there is!

There's just one problem - you don't actually know what brisket is! 

Have you ever heard of the dish 'brisket' in conversation, but not know what it is? You know that it's some kind of meat and that lots of people are crazy about it, but you don't know exactly what it is. 

If this sounds like you - then you have come to the right place! In the article below we are going to be taking you through everything to do with brisket!

We will explain what it is, why it is so loved, as well as some of its rich histories as a favorite dish within many different cultures!

We have also included a short recipe for a mouth-watering brisket, as well an extensive Frequently Asked Questions section, that will aim to answer any additional questions you might be having. 

What Is A Brisket?

Let's start with defining what brisket is, after this, we will take a look at its rich history. In short, brisket is a cut from the bottom part of the cow (the area between the ribs).

This is because it contains a lot of fat, which makes it tender and juicy when cooked. The name comes from the fact that it was originally used by cattlemen to make their animals move faster.

They would beat them on the brisket, causing them to run away quickly! Brisket is traditionally served with sides such as mashed potato, and sometimes even made into a sandwich.

But if you're looking for something more adventurous, you can try making a brisket stew, or even a brisket pot pie! The possibilities are endless, and over time, there have been so many unique and impressive brisket recipes. 

Brisket has some very specific ways in which it is cooked and prepared - most of these techniques have historically focused on ways to contain the juiciness and tender aspects of the meat.

The History Of Brisket

In ancient times, the beef brisket was considered to be a luxury food reserved for kings and other high-ranking members of society.

It was only available to those who could afford to buy it, and it was seen as a sign of status and wealth. As time went on, however, brisket became more popular amongst ordinary people too.

As a result, it became less expensive, and therefore accessible to everyone. This meant that brisket started being eaten all over the world.

Increased trading routes also meant that brisket became more popular, and modern farming techniques also meant more cows - and therefore more brisket! 

It wasn't until the 19th century though, that brisket began to gain popularity across the globe. At this point, it had become a staple of American cuisine.

Today, brisket is still hugely popular in America, where it is often sold in supermarkets as a cheap alternative to beef.

However, it is becoming increasingly popular around the world, with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa all enjoying brisket dishes. 

The Best Kinds Of Brisket 

Now that we've taken you through some of the history of brisket, we can take a look at how cooking techniques and cuts of meat have been perfected in the modern day.

Here is a shortlist of some of the best kinds of brisket you can buy. 

Wagyu Brisket 

Wagyu brisket is a great, if expensive choice because it tends to be leaner than regular brisket.

Wagyu briskets tend to be marbled with fat, giving them a beautiful pink color. This means they are usually quite fatty, but also incredibly tender. 

Pork

Pork is another good option. Unlike wagyu brisket, pork isn't as fatty, so it doesn't need to be marbled as wagyu brisket does.

Instead, it is much fatter and has a darker, redder appearance. This gives it a delicious flavor and makes it perfect for stews and braises. 

Beef Brisket

Beef brisket is one of the cheapest options out there. It is generally cheaper than pork and is just as tasty. If you want to get the best deal possible, then go for beef brisket. 

Most Common Cooking Techniques For Brisket 

Beef brisket is one of those meats that is best served rare or medium-rare. When you cook brisket, you want to try to get it to reach an internal temperature of 145°F / 63°C.

If you do this, then it will remain juicy and tender, and it will have a wonderful smoky flavor. There are many different ways that you can do this.

In the section below we are going to take you through some of the most common cooking techniques to create incredible briskets.

Smoking

Smoking is probably the easiest way to cook tender brisket. It's also one of the cheapest methods, and it produces amazing results.

All you need to do is place the brisket in a smoker box, and leave it there until it has reached the correct temperature.

The ideal temperature for smoking brisket is around 200°F / 95°C. However, if you live somewhere cold, like Canada or Alaska, you might need to lower the temperature slightly.

A good rule of thumb is that if you're smoking brisket outside, then you should aim to maintain a temperature of between 160°F / 71°C and 180°F / 82°C.

To test whether your brisket is ready to eat, simply stick a fork into it. If it feels soft enough to be pierced by the tines, then it is safe to eat.

If it doesn't feel quite right, then you can always return it to the smoker to finish cooking.

Baking

Baking is another popular method for cooking brisket. The advantage of baking is that it allows you to control the timing more closely than other methods.

You can set the oven to preheat, and then turn it off once the brisket has reached the desired temperature. This means that you don't have to worry about the heat fluctuating during the cooking process.

As long as you keep checking the temperature every few hours, you can guarantee that your brisket will be cooked properly. To check whether your brisket is done, use the same technique that you would for smoking.

Simply poke it with a knife, and see how far down the blade goes before it hits bone. If it doesn't go all the way through, then it needs longer in the oven.

Grilling

Grilling is a great option for people who don't own a smoker. It's easy to prepare, and it gives your brisket a nice charring effect.

To grill your brisket, just make sure that you put it on a hot barbecue, and let it sit there for 10 minutes. Once the fat has rendered out, you can flip the brisket over, and sear it on both sides.

Once it has been seared, you can remove it from the barbecue, and continue grilling it until it reaches the required temperature.

Searing

Searing is another excellent option for people who don’t own a barbecue. It works well because it creates a crispy crust on the outside of the meat.

You do have to be careful, however, as brisket needs time to cook due to its thick nature. You will need to make sure that it reaches the correct internal temperature before serving. 

You can either pan-sear your brisket, or you can use a cast-iron skillet. Either way, you'll want to start by heating the skillet, and adding a little oil.

Then add your brisket, and sear it on each side for 2-3 minutes.

How To Serve Brisket

Once you are happy with the taste and texture of your brisket, you can either slice it up yourself or ask someone else to do it for you.

Either way, make sure that you cut it into thin slices so that each person gets their piece.

You can also serve it as part of a meal. For example, you could serve it with mashed potatoes, or you could put it in a casserole dish and bake it.

You could even add vegetables to the mix, such as carrots, onions, and garlic. When choosing what to serve with your brisket, you may want to consider using a barbecue sauce.

These sauces usually come in bottles, and they are designed to give your brisket an extra kick. They are particularly useful when you are trying to impress guests at parties. 

A good rule of thumb is to avoid putting any sauces on top of your brisket, as these tend to burn very quickly. Instead, pour them onto the side of your plate, and let them soak into the meat. This way, they won't burn.

How To Store Your Brisket

If you are planning on storing your brisket, then you should wrap it tightly in foil. Make sure that you leave enough space around the edges of the package so that air can circulate inside.

Brisket is best stored in the refrigerator for no longer than three days. After this time, the flavor begins to fade, and the meat starts to dry out.

However, if you plan on freezing your brisket, then it is safe to store it for up to six months.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it - a brief history of brisket, as well as some of the best modern cooking techniques and options you have available.

If you're considering getting your teeth into the brisket, then we support your decision wholeheartedly. It is an incredible addition to any barbeque, match day, family dinner, or fancy dinner party! 

We hope that you now know what brisket is, as well as some of its history and the best ways you can prepare it!

We have included a Frequently Asked Questions section below, which will answer all of the most common questions around brisket! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can You Use A Slow Cooker To Cook A Brisket?

A slow cooker is a great option for cooking brisket. The tender way in which a slow cooker cooks meat is perfect for brisket.

The only thing you will miss out on here is the smoky flavor of the barbecue. 

Where Is The Best Place To Get Brisket In Kansas City? 

The best place to buy brisket in Kansas City is at the local butcher shop. Here you can find a wide variety of cuts, including beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken breasts, and more. 

Is Brisket Expensive?

It can be, but not always. You can often pick up a nice piece of brisket for less than $10. There's nothing wrong with spending a little bit more money on quality ingredients, especially if you are going to eat it regularly.

Do I Need To Marinate My Brisket Before Cooking It?

You don't need to do anything special to make your brisket taste better. Just follow our instructions above, and you'll end up with a delicious piece of meat.

What Is The Difference Between Beef And Pork Ribs?

Beef ribs are made from beef. Pork ribs are made from pork. Both types of the rib are incredibly tasty, but each has its unique characteristics.

Beef ribs are leaner, while pork ribs are fattier. You can tell by looking at the color of the meat: beef ribs are darker red, while pork ribs are lighter red.

Which Cut Of Beef Is Best For Making Brisket?

Beef brisket comes from the bottom sirloin area of the cow. This cut is extremely fatty and therefore makes a fantastic choice when preparing brisket. 

What Are Some Good Spices To Add To Beef Brisket?

There are many different spices that you could try adding to your brisket. Some popular ones include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, and oregano.

Experiment with these spices until you find something that works for you. Remember, creativity is key in any kind of cooking!

Lianne Jones
Lianne Jones


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