15 Best Brisket Substitute Options

Are you in need of the best brisket substitute for your barbecue dinner?  Then you’ve found the right place.  Here we will explore the best substitute options for beef brisket that you can use in your recipes.

Brisket is a popular meat cut known for its rich flavor and tenderness. It is often used in barbecue and smoked to perfection.  

However, there are times when you may not have brisket on hand or you may be looking for an alternative due to dietary restrictions or personal preference.  

So whether you want to try something new or looking to experience a vegetarian or vegan brisket experience, here are some options to help you do that.

Sliced brisket on a cutting board.

What is Brisket and Why Do You Need a Substitute?

Understanding Brisket

A brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the chest region of the animal. The connective tissue that makes up this tough cut of meat gives it a unique flavor and texture.

When cooked properly, barbecue enthusiasts find it to be one of the best cuts of meat because it becomes so tender and juicy.  

When cooked slowly at a low temperature this type of beef is the most enjoyable.

Reasons for Needing a Substitute

There are several reasons why you may need a substitute for beef brisket. Firstly, this boneless beef cut can be expensive and not readily available at all times.

Additionally, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you may be looking for alternative options that can provide a similar taste and texture to brisket.

Lastly, you may simply be looking for variety in your cooking and want to try something different.

When it comes to finding a brisket replacement, there are several options available. Here, we will explore the top brisket substitute options that you can use in your recipes.

These alternatives include chuck roast, tri-tip, pot roast, and even vegan and vegetarian options such as meat substitutes and meatless brisket.

Best Substitutes for Brisket

A piece of brisket sitting on a cutting board.

1. Chuck Roast

Chuck roast is a cut of beef that comes from the shoulder area of the animal. One of the forequarter cuts, a chuck roast is more available and affordable than brisket beef and can be prepared to be very similar to brisket.

To cook a beef chuck, you can use similar cooking methods as pork brisket, such as smoking or slow cooking. A smoked chuck roast, like a brisket, is deliciously tender and flavorful to satisfy your barbecue craving.

The key is to cook it low and slow to allow the connective tissue to break down and make the meat tender.  Keep in mind the time it takes to smoke a brisket no matter the piece of meat. 

Using chuck roast as a brisket substitute has several benefits. Firstly, it is more affordable compared to brisket, making it a budget-friendly option.

Secondly, the chuck roast has a good amount of marbling, which adds flavor and helps keep the meat juicy when cooked properly.

Lastly, chuck roast comes in more of an abundance at grocery stores where brisket is one of the lesser-found meat types.

2. Tri-Tip

If you’re looking for alternative options that are similar to brisket, you can consider using a tri-tip or pot roast. A Tri-tip is a triangular-shaped cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin.

It has a similar texture to brisket and can be cooked using similar methods of grilling, smoking, or roasting.  If you choose to grill it, make sure to sear both sides on high heat and then cook it on indirect heat until it reaches your desired level of doneness.

Smoking tri-tip can also result in a flavorful and tender meat experience like brisket.  A tri-tip roast will allow the meat to be so tender it falls apart into a pulled pork style of beef.

Tri-tip is relatively easy to find and more affordable compared to brisket.  If you’re looking for a slightly leaner brisket alternative, tri-tip is a great option to consider.

3. Pot Roast

Pot roast, on the other hand, is a slow-cooked beef dish that is made from a tough cut of meat. It is moist, tender, and flavorful, making it easy and suitable to substitute brisket for your pot roast.

Pot roast is a classic comfort food that is made by slow-cooking a tough cut of meat with vegetables and seasonings.

To prepare this dish, you can sear the meat in a hot pan, then transfer it to a pot or slow cooker along with vegetables and liquid.

Whether you’re preparing it for a special occasion or simply want a delicious meal, pot roast can satisfy your craving for brisket.

4. Short Ribs

Short ribs are a great substitute due to their great similarities to brisket. This cut of meat is known to have a decent amount of fat and bone in the meat so their flavors stand out much more than other meats.

You can cook your beef ribs until they’re juicy and tender by smoking or roasting them to achieve an excellent alternative for brisket with powerful flavors. 

5. Corned Beef 

Sliced brisket on a cutting board.

As brisket can be expensive, corned beef is a great alternative for brisket because it is cheaper and more at hand.  You can cook corned beef in a way that you will result in a similar taste and texture to brisket.

Like the other red meat previously mentioned, roasting corned beef can replicate that brisket feel.  Giving it a plethora of spices and roasting it will result in a moist and tender corned beef brisket with a flavor-packed textured crust.

6. Lamb Roast

Don’t like to eat beef? Not to worry, great alternatives for brisket could be lamb or pork.  

Lamb roast is a common dish that can be a delicious alternative to brisket.  When it comes to soups and stews you do not have to use beef.  

Lamb shanks, shoulders, or neck have enough connective tissue to break down during cooking, resulting in a tender stew.

When cooked properly, lamb, pork, pork ribs, turkey, and duck can be delicious substitutes for beef in meat stews or soups.

The key lies in selecting the right cuts of meat and using the appropriate cooking techniques to enhance their flavors and tenderize them. 

7. Beef Shanks

Beef shanks are a different cut of the animal located in the leg that will produce a flavorful substitute for brisket.

Usually tough and dry, if cooked slowly at low temperatures, they become very tender and flavorful.

8. Beef Clods

Beef clods are a great slow-cooking brisket alternative. By making sure they are deeply and slowly cooked to break down the natural fat and toughness, they will be most enjoyed.

Similar to beef shanks, they are affordable and a great alternative if you are trying to find a flavor-packed brisket substitute.

9. Pork Brisket

Pork brisket is a cut of meat that comes from the lower chest area of the pig. Composed of both lean and fatty sections, pork brisket is quite similar to beef brisket.

When preparing pork brisket, the process is quite similar to beef brisket. To add depth and taste, enhance it with a flavorful rub, consisting of spices and herbs.

The meat is then placed in a smoker, where it undergoes slow and low-temperature cooking, allowing it to become a tender and juicy smoked brisket replicate.

10. Turkey 

A slice of smoked brisket on a cutting board.

Poultry is one of the easiest meats to cook and is also very affordable.  Choosing the right type is based on personal taste, budget, and the recipe’s pairings.

Turkey thighs can be slow-cooked and seasoned like you typically would for your brisket.  They have their special flavor that will add a great tone to your dish but will taste a bit different from normal beef brisket.

11. Duck

Duck is quite smaller than turkey and closer to red meat than chicken. It also carries a stronger flavor that would benefit your brisket meal.

Like the other alternatives, slow cooking will get you a tender and flavorful brisket alternative.

12. Chicken

The last and most commonly found poultry item, chicken can also be an alternative to brisket.  Poultry will be a different flavor than the other options, but if slow-cooked and seasoned right you will find a more affordable brisket substitute.

Vegetarian Substitutes for Brisket

If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and still want to enjoy the flavors of brisket, there are several meat substitutes available in the market.

These vegetarian substitutes for brisket are typically made from plant-based ingredients such as soy, wheat gluten, or mushrooms.

All vegetarian meat substitutes are designed to mimic the taste and texture of meat, including brisket.

13. Tofu

Tofu is a great meatless alternative for any meat, as long as you season and prepare it well you will enjoy a delicious meatless brisket.

To make your tofu taste like brisket it is best to shred or slice it and cook it in either a skillet or a pot over medium to low heat along with some vegetables and sauce.

14. Jackfruit

Much like tofu, jackfruit is a great meatless alternative if shredded or sliced and cooked with seasonings and sauce. It is a common substitute for pulled pork, that also doubles as a great substitute for beef brisket. 

15. Seitan

Sliced brisket on a cutting board.

Seitan is a soft chewy food from wheat gluten.  It performs well soaking up flavors from seasoning and sauces.

By slicing it, seasoning it with sauces and spices, then slow-cooking it in a pot or oven until it’s tender and flavorful you can best replicate it into brisket.

Benefits of Choosing Vegetarian Meat Substitutes

Choosing a vegan substitute for brisket not only provides a cruelty-free option but also offers various health benefits. Plant-based substitutes are generally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, making them a healthier choice.

They can also be an excellent option for those with dietary restrictions or food allergies.  Depending on the recipe you use to create a flavorful brisket free of meat you’ll find yourself wanting to make it again.

Tips for Cooking Your Brisket Substitute

A piece of bbq ribs on a cutting board.

Best Cooking Methods for Substitutes

When cooking a brisket substitute, it’s important to choose the right method that suits the cut of meat or meat alternative you’re using.

For tougher cuts like chuck roast, slow cooking methods such as braising or roasting at low temperatures are ideal.

For meat substitutes, grilling, smoking, or baking can provide the best results. 

How to Achieve a Juicy Brisket Substitute

To ensure a juicy substitute, it’s essential to keep the different cut or meat alternatives moist throughout the cooking process.

By marinating the meat beforehand, basting it during cooking, or sealing it in foil or a covered dish to trap the moisture you can achieve this juicy, flavorful barbecue delight.

Adding a flavorful liquid, such as broth or marinade, can also help enhance the juiciness.

Adding Flavor to Your Brisket Alternative

While the substitute may not have the same flavor as brisket, you can add depth and complexity to the dish by using flavorful seasonings and marinades.

Experiment with spices, herbs, and sauces that complement the type of meat or meat alternative you’re using.

Enhancing the flavors can make your substitute more enjoyable and satisfying.

Choosing the Best Substitute for Beef Brisket 

No matter what meat or non-meat alternative you choose, you’ll be sure to find brisket in any smoked or roasted item.

There are plenty of options to choose from whether you can’t find brisket at the grocery store, or simply need an alternative the substitutes found here will help you achieve a similar brisket taste and texture.

You’ll find yourself satisfied with your beef brisket substitute by loading your meat or meat alternative with spices and sauces and cooking it slowly to juicy perfection.  

Don’t let the price or lack of abundance of beef brisket stop you from enjoying your barbecue dinner!

15 best substitutes for beef brisket.

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