Best Substitutes For Brisket

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There is nothing quiet like a juicy slow smoked brisket. It is basically boneless beef from a cow’s breast. It is often roasted, slow-cooked, braised, or smoked. But there are times when briskets are not available, or they may be too expensive for you. There may be times when you want to try something new with a brisket recipe. Fortunately, there are some amazing brisket substitutes that can help solve your substitution needs.

Our Substitutes For Brisket List

As we mentioned, brisket comes from a cow’s breast and can weigh around 3 to 8 pounds. Considering that cows don’t have collar bones, the muscles support most of the body weight and need a considerable amount of collagen and connective tissue. It implies that the meat can be quite tough, and it needs to be cooked correctly to tenderize it.

Briskets are generally long and are divided into two sections to be sold as different meat cuts. The first is known as pointcut, which is more flavorful but contains a lot of fat. The second one is known as the flat cut and has less fat, therefore more expensive.

You can cook the meat in different ways, based on the recipe but the best way is to slow cook it for a long period of time. Now that you know the basics of briskets. Let’s move on to the substitutes.

Chuck Steak

It is a beef cut that cooks nicely and has a lot of similarities with briskets. The primary difference between the brisket and chuck is that the latter comes from the neck and the shoulder. Therefore it may not be entirely boneless. Similar to briskets, it contains collagen and connective tissues, making the meat tough. However, they can be melted if cooked for a prolonged time.

There are various cuts and chuck steam based on the part from which the meat is derived and how it is cut. Should top blades be perfect for grilling, petite shoulder tender, and shoulder center have a milder flavor than other cuts, so they need to be well marinated before grilling. Additionally, chuck eye steak comes from the area closer to the rib eye.

Over chuck steak is an excellent substitute for beef briskets because of the similarities. Additionally, it is more affordable as opposed to brisket.

Beef Clods

Beef clods can be a great substitute for brisket if you want to use any kind of beef as an alternative. They are among the least expensive beef cuts, making them a great choice if you are on the budget. Similar to brisket, clod has a muscle system covered in fat; therefore, meat is generally tough.

Moreover, the clod is made of three muscles, the top blade, the shoulder, and the cold heart. During the sale, it is divided into three different cuts. If you are using cold, ensure to marinate the meat and cook slowly. This will allow the meat to be tenderized well. On the other hand, if you decide to braise or grill it, make sure to use good marinade to accentuate the meat.

Poultry Thighs

The second most popular meat in the world, poultry, is used in a wide range of dishes and cuisines. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to brisket, poultry thighs are an excellent choice. Along with the price, poultry is among the easiest meats to cook. The kind of poultry meat you should choose entirely depends on your personal preference, the recipe, and the budget.

You can choose turkey things that can be seasoned and roasted like brisket. As the meat has a flavor of its own, it could work well. Additionally, you can also use duck thighs, which are smaller than turkey but have a stronger flavor. The flavor is closer to red meat than chicken. If you want to keep it simple, go for chicken thighs that work for slow cooking.

Roast Pork

Pork stands at the top as the highest consumed meat worldwide and can be easily accessed in any part of the world. If you don’t want to eat beef, but the recipe calls for it, pork can be a great substitute. There are tons of various pork cuts that work great as an alternative to brisket based on your recipes, cooking methods, and your needs.

Similar to brisket and lamb shoulder, pork shoulder gives delicious flavors when in low and slow cookers. Furthermore, pork loins are perfect for making juicy roasts. On the other hand, pork ribs are an excellent choice for grills. Simply ensure to marinate them well.

Beef Shanks

If brisket is not accessible to you, but you want to use beef in the recipe, beef shanks can be a nice alternative. It comes from the leg of the beef. Similar to brisket, the constant use of muscles in the region makes the meat dry and tough.

The ideal way to cook this meat cut is to slow cook it in a moist environment. Beef shanks are great for soups and stews. The long cooking process tenderizes the meat and releases the flavors. The meat comes in the sliced form and is more affordable than brisket.

Lamb Roast

Lamb is another great option to substitute beef if you don’t feel like eating the latter. Although the lamb has a completely different taste than beef, it still is an excellent substitute. Moreover, there are various cuts that can be used as alternatives based on the flavor, cost, and meat quality. The meat of the lamb has quite a strong flavor, so you can complement it by soaking in herbs and wine or a stronger marinade.

The meat is classified into three different types, hindquarter (legs and hip), forequarter (shoulder neck, and front legs), and loin (ribs).

Shoulder chops are excellent options for a recipe that calls for smoking or grilling the meat. Additionally, legs and saddles are generally roasted but can be good for boiling as well. The forequarter cuts have more connective tissues similar to briskets. Therefore, it should be cooked slowly using methods such as stewing, roasting, boiling, or braising. Depending on what you are cooking, any of the aforementioned cuts can be used as a brisket alternative.

Short Ribs

These are a type of beef cut that are taken from different areas of the animal. They are cut between three and four inches sections that include fat, meat, and bone. There are two primary types of cut; the first is flanken which is cut across the bone.

The other is the English style which is cut along the bone. The second cut is longer than the first one, but both the cuts contain tons of flavors and fat. It is one of the juiciest brisket alternatives that you will find. Consider that the meat is tough; you will need to cook it for a long time.

Vegetarian Brisket Substitutes


It is a soft chew food, which is made of wheat gluten. It soaks up the flavor very well. You can either buy pre-made at the store or make it yourself.

Tofu and Tempeh

It contains a lot of nutrients and is made from soybeans. Tofus and tempeh can be used in the same way as brisket, following the recipe.


Legumes are excellent for health, economical, and nutritious. They are an excellent source of iron, protein, fiber, potassium, and calcium. Legumes are available in different forms such as black, white, and red beans, chickpeas, broad beans, split and dried peas, lupines, cowpeas, etc.

Cooking Tips For Brisket Substitutes

While the aforementioned brisket substitutes can be cooked easily following the recipe, there are certain tips that will enhance your cooking.

  • Whether you opt for rump roasts or chuck roasts as a brisket alternative, ensure to use a long and slow cooking method to get the optimum results. Cook the trimmings in broth, beer, or tomato juice with tons of salt, pepper, and onion. Moreover, use a big pot with a well-fitted lid, and the oven temperature should not be over 275-degree Fahrenheit. Moreover, you can also saute the meat in your slow cooker for 8 to 9 hours on low heat.
  • When grilling brisket meat alternative, use woods that are used for brisket, including mesquite, oak, hickory, maple, pecan, etc., to offer the optimum flavor. Similar to apple pellet, wood chips offer meats a sweet as well as fruity flavor.
  • When cooking flank steaks and sirloin steaks, you should focus on three rules. It should be cooked faster at high heat. While not mandatory, the meat should be well marinated. Additionally, it should cut across the meat’s grain, meaning against the direction of your muscle fibers.
  • You should also use rubs and seasonings that are specially made for smoking brisket.
  • You can make seitan with a bit of patience. A great way is to use powdered gluten instead of flour. You should also add chickpea flour or potatoes to improve the texture.


Brisket can be quite difficult to find, particularly in some parts of the world. Generally, the alternatives that we have mentioned are smaller as compared to brisket. Nevertheless, you can cook them as you would cook a brisket with little adjustments. And if you want to avoid meat altogether, there are some vegetarian options to satiate your craving.

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