What can I use instead of brisket? Some of the best replacements for brisket are chuck the top replacement with short rib, beef shanks, beef clods, tri-tip, and beef belly following suit. For a non-beef alternative, lamb breast, pork brisket, and turkey thighs are ideal substitutes.
Due to the increased popularity of brisket, you may not find it as readily as you think. Therefore, we listed substitutes that you can smoke, roast, braise, or slow cook that are readily available and more affordable.
The Best Brisket Substitutes
Chuck roast can be an excellent alternative to brisket. This roast is a more economical portion of meat and the closest cut that you can find to substitute brisket.
A cut taken from the shoulder part of the cow is typically a tough piece of meat with a good balance of meat and fat.
Chuck has rich and flavorful nuances thanks to the laces of fat found in the meat. Allowing a slow and long cooking process softens the cut, offering a tender and juicy piece of meat that is rich and delicious as it crumbles in pieces.
Best used in slow roasting for a tender, soft pot roast, it can also be smoked for a melt-in-your-mouth treat or create stews in a crockpot for tender and soft chunks of meat.
You can substitute brisket with a similar amount of chuck.
The short rib is another delicious substitute for brisket.
Short ribs, or short plate as it’s also known, is a cut from the forequarter on the cow’s belly found behind the brisket. It contains short rib bones with a decent amount of fat.
Flavor-wise, the short rib can be compared to brisket with a rich beefy flavor and moist, succulent meat. Thanks to the fat marbling, it makes it the perfect finger-licking comfort food.
As this cut can be tough, it is best used for braising slowly in a voluptuous red wine until the meat slips off the bones.
Smoke a rack of short ribs with brown sugar and spice rub, and spritz with apple cider vinegar for fall-off-the-bone meat.
Use more short ribs than you would brisket to compensate for the bones.
Beef shanks can be a delicious substitute for brisket when used right.
Beef shanks come from the leg portion of the cow, a cross-section cut with a varying-sized round bone. The meat is lean but tough and sinewy because of the cow’s constant use of the leg.
The presence of sinew, muscles, and bones offers this cut of meat rich nutritional value.
In addition, the bone marrow melts into a rich buttery flavor, while the meat is soft and decadent when cooked low and slow with a more robust beefy flavor.
Because it is considered a dry cut with no fat, it is best used for braising or long and slow cooking in crockpots for soups and stews. The beef shank is a favorite for Osso Bucco or us in a beef bourguignon.
Look for cuts with smaller bones to substitute them for the same amount.
A close match to brisket is beef clods which make a great substitute.
Beef clods are also known as shoulder clods, taken from the shoulder blade in the primal cut of the chuck area. It is a subprimal cut divided into three sections. The shoulder clod is covered with a layer nice of fat.
This cut offers a big carnivorous rich beefy flavor with a nice crispy, salty layer crust of fat.
A perfect cut of meat to smoke or grill for juicy sandwich meat, you can also use it in braising a pressure cooking for a pull-apart beef that is juicy, soft, and packed full of flavor.
You can substitute brisket for an even portion of beef clod.
A delicious, tasty substitute for brisket is tri-tip.
The tri-tip was originally known as a California steak. It comes from the bottom part of the subprimal sirloin cut and gets its name because its shape is triangular in form with a point.
Considered more of a steak, this is a flavorful and tender cut of meat that offers a beefy flavor with a buttery texture. It’s a leaner cut of beef with a decent layer of fat to provide delicious juicy slices.
A tri-tip cut is best suited to grilling and does not like to be overcooked, making it great for a quick substitute.
You can substitute using the same quantity of tri-tips as you would brisket.
When cooked right, beef belly makes a juicy substitute.
Beef belly comes from the underside of the cow from the belly region right under the lower ribs. It is a fatty and tough piece of meat.
The beef belly is laced with ribbons of fat, making it a juicy and tender cut when smoked long and slow. The rendered fat melts into the layer of meat, tenderizing it for a soft, buttery, beefy-tasting portion.
The beef belly is fatty and has less meat than brisket, so feeding the family may require more than one cut.
As an alternative to beef, lamb breast is an ideal substitute for brisket.
Lamb’s breast is found on the underside of the lamb, cut from between the front legs and into the belly; it offers a fattier portion of meat compared to other parts of the lamb.
When slow-cooked, it renders the fat that injects the meat making it juicy and flavorful. It has a more robust tasting profile than beef and is perfect for grilling, smoking, or roasting with garlic-infused oil with herbs and spices.
When substituting lamb breast for brisket, substitute weight for weight and not for the same quantity of pieces.
Another great alternative to beef brisket is a juicy cut of pork brisket.
The pectoral muscle of the pig forms the pork brisket. It is a tougher piece of meat with connective tissue and sinew due to the use of the leg, with a nice layer of fat.
Proper seasoning is vital to prevent a bland taste. The fat should be allowed to melt down through a slow grilling process.
The pork brisket will produce a slightly sweet taste, offering a salty, savory undertone with a nice crunchy texture from the skin.
Because it is a tougher cut, this piece of meat is ideal for braising with milk in the oven for a delicious sauce or smoked with a similar rub as beef brisket.
Unfortunately, it is a smaller portion and is not as popular. So, when substituting it, look at swapping it for the same weight as beef brisket.
If you’re looking for a poultry equivalent to substitute brisket, then turkey thighs are a suitable replacement.
Turkey thighs connect the drumstick to the turkey’s body and are considered dark meat. Like brisket, turkey thighs are tough and sinewy with a nice amount of fat.
Turkey thighs taste like chicken but have a richer and slightly gamier flavor. The thigh is perfect for a long slow roast as the fat and skin prevent it from drying out that penetrates the meat making it juicy and moist.
You can oven roast or grill turkey thighs, giving the thigh a long slow process of cooking to allow the meat to tenderize.
Plan and use one thigh per person.