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BBQ Explained: Is Brisket Pork or Beef?

a gathering of raw pork and beef cuts of meat to answer the question is brisket pork or beef

Brisket is a popular primal cut of beef. It's one of the best cuts to smoke. However, a popular term has recently been used is pork brisket.

That has made several beginners confused about whether brisket is pork or beef. Brisket is a popular cut, and it's the toughest part of the meat to tenderize which makes it the best cut for smoking.

This article will answer the important question: is brisket pork or beef? We will discuss what brisket is and how it differs from pork brisket. 

What is a Brisket?

man holding raw brisket to show is brisket pork or beef

Is brisket pork or beef? Well, when you hear the term 'brisket' (not 'pork brisket'), it refers to the primal cut from the steer's lower breast made up of two portions known as the flat and the point. The flat is attached to the ribs, and the point is the fattier portion attached to the shoulder.  

As brisket comes from the most-used muscles of the steer, it is the toughest meat to cook. The cut takes 9-10 hours to cook in a smoker if cooked as a whole.

It contains lots of fat marbling, lean meat, and connective tissues. It is perfect for slow cooking and is tender once cooked to perfection as its tough muscles break down gradually.

The collagen in the meat marbling melts and makes the interior juicy and flavorful. As a result, brisket meat is popular for its rich flavor and delicious meat.

What Is Pork Brisket?

a knife slicing through raw pork brisket

Brisket is the breast cut of beef; however, due to its popularity and demand, some butchers sell other types of meat with the same name. Nowadays, we hear of cuts like pork brisket. It's a recent thing that is becoming popular after the popularity of brisket.

However, you won't find that cut in grocery stores. Some specialty stores sell pork brisket. When butchers refer to pork brisket, they are indicating a cut from the same section of a pig as brisket is cut from the cow. Pork brisket is made up of pork belly and a cut of pig called pork picnic. It has the fattiness of pork belly and the lean meat from the picnic. 

The cut of brisket from pig comes from the same section and is referred to as pork brisket, but it's not the same as beef brisket. Pork brisket is also difficult to find. You need a specialty butcher that cuts the section for you, and it greatly differs in flavor and taste from beef brisket. 

How Is Pork Brisket Different From Beef Brisket?

raw pork brisket

Usually, butchers  sell pork brisket as a part of ham, but some butchers are now selling it as a brisket cut due to the popularity of beef brisket. 

Pork brisket is also made up of two sections. Butchers obtain a lean flat portion from the pork's belly, and the point section from the pork's shoulder. The portion of both shoulder and picnic is included in pork brisket. However, butchers obtain the lean portion from the belly, which has much more fat. The main difference between pork brisket and beef brisket are:


The pork brisket is much smaller in size than beef brisket. Beef brisket is almost 80% larger than pork brisket. Pork brisket weighs roughly 1-4 lb, much less than an average brisket size of 15-18 lb. If you are buying skinless pork brisket, it weighs only 3.5 pounds. Beef brisket serves more people, which is why it is popular at barbecue restaurants. 


Pork brisket is certainly more affordable per pound than brisket. Brisket costs three times more than pork brisket.

Ease of Cooking

Pork brisket is easier to cook than beef brisket because it cooks in less time. Since it has lots of fat, there is no risk of the meat drying out. Due to lots of marbling, the meat is naturally tender and only dries out if overcooked, like brisket. Brisket is tough meat and is difficult to eat if not cooked properly. 

Brisket has a beefy flavor that is very delicious. The meat inside has lots of marbling, and chefs prefer the cut due to its lean meat intramuscular fat. The fat melts with slow cooking and adds to the flavor of the meat, making it juicy. You absolutely must cook brisket for a long period of time. The flavor of pork brisket is different; it is rich, fatty and sweet.


Hosts typically serve brisket with pickles, salads, potato salads, bean salads, or onions, while you may choose to serve pork brisket with macaroni and cheese and coleslaw.

Texas-Style Smoked Brisket: Is it Pork or Beef?

a diagram showing how each part of a cow is referred to by butchers

Grill chefs obtain Texas-smoked brisket from the steer's breast portion. It's tough meat, and when slow-cooked tastes delicious. 

Final Words

Generally, brisket refers to a beef cut. It's one of the eight primal cuts known for its tender and delicious meat. It's one of the most-used muscles of a steer, which makes it tough to cook. See our complete guide to beef cuts for more information.

Brisket contains lots of fat, tendons, and tissues, so it takes considerable time to cook. If you cook it slowly and properly, it renders deliciously tender meat. Chefs prefer brisket due to its rich taste and beefy flavor. Due to its popularity, we've seen a new cut of pork in the market, known as 'pork brisket.' It is not widely available but websites and specialty stores often sell it. Pork brisket is different from brisket and does not have the same taste and flavor. For more information on how to cook pork brisket, check out this recipe we found.

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