Substitute for Beef Brisket | Best Like-for-like Options for Briskets

January 27, 2023

As I mentioned earlier in my chuck roast vs brisket comparison, chuck roast is your best substitute for beef brisket. Tough but juicy and tender when smoked low and slow, it’s the best like-for-like substitute for brisket. 

There are a lot more options I like to use in place of briskets which I’d like to show you in today’s post. You’ll have to go for them since beef brisket can be expensive sometimes and isn’t always readily available.

It happens to me all the time while prepping for a major brisket recipe. When I can’t find a brisket packer I like at the local grocery store, supermarket, or my butcher, I have a list of substitutes I go for. These are exactly what I’m going to share with you. So come along!

Substitute for beef brisket

The 5 Best Brisket Substitutes

The cut of meat you choose highly depends on how you cook the brisket. Let’s look at the best options that suit each cooking process.

Chuck Roast

Usually, when I cannot find beef briskets in the store, I go for chuck roast. I consider it to be the best beef brisket substitute. And why is it my favorite? 

Because it’s a tough cut, chuck roast is the best for low and slow cooking. It gets tender using this method of cooking. So, if you’re really used to briskets, you don’t need to change your cooking method. Just apply the method you use for brisket and you’re good to go. 

Like brisket, it’s got outstanding fat marbling or intramuscular fats, which keep the meat moist during long cooking. This ensures a tender and juicy result.

It’s one of the best cuts of beef for smoking or roasting and there’s an abundance of delicious recipes for you to try with a chuck roast. I recommend that you try the chuck roll if you’re feeling adventurous. You’ll love it.

Raw Grass Fed Chuck Beef Roast

Short Ribs

Short ribs are one of the best brisket substitutes for slow cooking and roasting. They are full of fat, meat, and bone. Moreover, they’re tough but very flavorful and are quite juicy.

The key to getting a more intense flavor from short ribs is to cook them properly until they’re tender and release that juicy flavor. 

As far as beef ribs go, short ribs are one of the best cuts to replace briskets. And they turn out quite well when cooked slowly.

Raw Organic Beef Short Ribs

Beef Shanks

Beef shanks are another great substitute for slow cooking. Like briskets, they are great in stews and soup. They’re also one of the less expensive cuts of beef.

At Costco, briskets have a starting price of $5.49 per pound, according to my recent finding. However, even organic grass-fed beef shanks retail for as low as $4 per pound.

In any case, to get the best results from beef shanks, cook on low heat for a long time. This ensures that it comes out very tender and tasty.

Stewed Beef Shank on Wooden Cutting Board

Beef Clods

Beef clods are unbelievably affordable too. This is your best choice if you’re on a budget but want something like brisket. A choice cut of beef clod costs $2.5 per pound on average. 

Like beef shanks, beef clods are naturally fatty and best suited for slow cooking. They get tender and taste absolutely delicious when marinated and cooked slowly.

Raw Beef Clod On White Wrapping Paper

Tri-Tip Roast

A cut I recommend if you’re going to grill, smoke or roast is the tri-tip roast. As an added advantage, they cook faster than briskets, have a stronger flavor, and can serve as a good substitute for chuck roast.

While tri-tip can cook in 10 minutes for medium rare, it’s important to cook to a minimum internal temperature. According to the USDA, that’s 145 degrees Fahrenheit for beef. Like brisket, they’re flavorful, and overcooking it can ruin the taste. So, ensure you don’t overcook it.

In any case, tri-tip is a versatile cut of meat that you can try different recipes with. Having trouble deciding how to cook your tip? You can try out my smoked tri-tip recipe.

Grilled Beef Tri Tip On A Cutting Board

Finding the Best Substitute for Brisket

While replacing briskets, you must know what type of meat beef brisket is. This is so you don’t find an issue with the replacement you’re using in your recipe. 

First, briskets are tough cuts with marbling and connective tissue. Taken from the lower chest or breast of veal, it is a boneless beef cut of meat. 

Briskets are long and usually cut into two parts: the point cut, which has lots of fat and flavor, and the more expensive flat cut, which has lower amounts of fat.

Therefore, whatever alternative you choose has to be something with a similar texture that requires a similar prep and gives you similar results.

How to Choose a Brisket Substitute? 

While choosing the cut of meat that you’ll be using as an alternative to briskets, there are a couple more things you should consider. 

The reason as to why you need a substitute for brisket is right at the top of that list!

If you’re not a beef person, it would make more sense to recommend a brisket substitute outside of the cow carcass to you. You probably need a different cut of meat such as lamb or pork. 

You could be a vegetarian or a diet-conscious meat eater who’s avoiding red meat. Don’t worry, I’ll show you the right vegetarian brisket substitutes for you.

You should also consider your budget, your preferred recipe, and what’s usually available in your location.

I understand that beef briskets are a little bit pricey these days, with some cuts going for $100. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find brisket in most grocery stores. If you ever find yourself in such a dilemma, the best you can do is look for other protein options.

Which Non-Beef Meats are Similar to Beef Brisket?

What if you don’t eat beef? Not to worry, there are other great alternatives you can choose from. 

Pork Brisket

Perhaps the closest cut of meat identical to the beef brisket is the pork version. This is also taken from the front part of the pig in the lower shoulder and pectoral region, just like the beef product. 

However, while pork in general is cheaper and more common, pork briskets are still not popular commercially. Except you want to go to your butcher and ask for it ahead. 

Ask for pork shoulder or loin for roast pork and slow cooking, if you’re making stew or soup, then the belly is what you want to go for.

For absolutely delicious grilled pork, I suggest you use marinated pork ribs, you’re going to love this one.

Smoked Pork Brisket

Poultry Brisket

Of course, there is no such thing as poultry brisket. That being said, the closest poultry alternative for brisket would be poultry thighs. 

I love this as a substitute for brisket because of its incredibly fast cooking time and the sheer versatility of what I can cook with a couple of thighs.

You can take your pick from duck thighs, turkey thighs, chicken thighs, or even goose thighs. They’re all easy to prepare and will feed a large crowd.

I prefer turkey thighs for a juicy roast because they’re sumptuous when braised or roasted. Chicken thighs follow closely behind.

Duck or goose thighs are the closest in texture to red meat. As a result, they’re the best brisket substitute if you prefer more intense flavors.

Roasted Chicken Thighs

Lamb Roast

A great option for non-beef lovers is lamb roast. Lamb roast also works if you can’t find your favorite cuts of meat at the store or the local butcher.

Lamb’s shoulder contains enough fat and connective tissue. Hence, it’s the most similar alternative to beef brisket. However, you’ll enjoy it more when it’s cooked on low heat for several hours.

For a very flavorful roast, the leg part is the best cut. Forequarter cuts are very good for boiling, so lamb legs come out well when cooked with carrots, potatoes, and onions in a stew.

For grilling and smoking, go with lamb chops. They’re best smoked or grilled.

Lamb, however, has a very strong flavor and texture, and not everyone will like that. You can remedy it by cleaning the outer membrane thoroughly before roasting.

As for me, I like to soak it with wine and herbs before cooking.

Roasted Lamb Leg

Is Corned Beef Brisket and Brisket the Same Thing?

Both cuts are from beef but are not the same in any way.  Corned beef is abrined-cured beef product made from beef brisket. It is more readily available in stores and while it can serve as a beer brisket substitute. I don’t recommend using this as a beef brisket substitute because it has plenty of extra fat.

Again, corned beef is simply brisket that has been brined with salt, pepper, and lots of extra spices. 

However, if you do use it, soaking it in warm water for several hours will remove the extra spices. Also, I suggest you remove the fatty layer for a healthier meal.

What are the Best Vegetarian Meat Substitutes?

Are you looking for a vegan alternative to beef brisket? You might be surprised to hear that veggie brisket is a thing. There are a few substitutes in the veggie department that you can try.

Jackfruit

The most popular vegetarian substitute for brisket is jackfruit. This large green fruit is soft and juicy inside, has a high amount of fiber, and is low in calories.

Jackfruit is one of the best substitutes because it has a meaty texture and taste when cooked.

What’s more? Jackfruit is a miracle crop that’s eco-friendly and sustainable. According to agriculture experts, it grows easily, survives diseases, pests, herbs, and heat. 

Peeled Ripe Jackfruit

Seitan

You may consider seitan when looking for vegetarian options to choose from.

It is made from wheat gluten, it soaks up flavor quickly, and it’s chewy. You can find pre-made ones in the store or make them at home.

However, making it at home includes lots of washing, so it can be both time-consuming and costly. I advise you stick to the store alternative if you’re looking to save time and water.

Roasted Seitan Steaks

What’s the Best Cooking Method for Brisket?

There’s no one way to make brisket. Several recipes and cooking methods exist. From barbecue recipes to brisket roast, you’ll never run out of recipes for the dinner table.

One tip to remember is that brisket meat is best when slow-cooked over low temperatures. This method of cooking releases a hearty flavor. So I suggest that you invest in a good slow cooker if you make this recipe often.

Final Thoughts

No matter your taste and preference, you’ll always find a good substitute for brisket when the need arises. Like I mentioned, chuck roast is the best if you’re simply looking for a different cut of beef. In any case, the best brisket substitute for you depends on your tastes, why you need a substitute, and how much time you have on your hands. 

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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