5 Best Meat Substitutes for Brisket


Smoking and roasting beef is the best way to go on different occasions such as family weekend gatherings. And one of the most common cuts of beef that we usually go for is that perfect slab of beef brisket.

It’s just the perfect meat to smoke and barbecue, that goes well with sandwiches and a side of pickles. When cooked right, it offers the most tender and juicy flavor that everyone goes gaga over.

However, did you know that you can smoke a lot of beef cuts aside from brisket? If you don’t have brisket, you can always substitute it with top sirloin steak, flank steak, tri-tip, beef ribs, and chuck roast.

Although these cuts came from the same animal, they each have their own way of cooking to achieve that smoky and tender goodness just like brisket. Let’s learn how these other beef cuts can substitute the commonly used brisket for smoking.

Substitutes For Brisket

1. Top Sirloin Steak

Top Sirloin Steak

Out of the cuts that are available in your favorite beef, the top sirloin steak is the leanest and lesser fat of them all. Some would shy away from this because of its tendency to toughen up due to lack of fat.

This cut is located from the cow’s hip which is overworked throughout the cow’s lifetime. No wonder it’s leaner and more pronounced compared to other beef cuts.

If you pick this cut, make sure you ask your butcher to give you the top part of the sirloin since it’s more tender. When smoking top sirloin steak, it takes about an hour per pound and the best wood to use is either hickory or mesquite.

2. Flank Steak

Flank Steaks

Flank steak is one of the cheapest cuts of beef that you can get. If you’re on a budget but can’t miss a good barbecue weekend, you must try the flank steak instead.

Just like sirloin, flank has little to no fat which puts it to a much leaner side. And when prepared the right way, it offers a succulent and superb flavor that you’ll definitely love.

Although it’s lean and fibrous compared to other cuts, flank steak is still thinner which makes the cooking time shorter than usual. An intense smoking wood like mesquite is ideal for flank steaks which can only take about 3 hours of smoking.

3. Tri-tip

Tri-tip is one of those cuts that can be tricky to find but if you got the best butcher in town, there’s no need to worry.

The tri-tip is extracted from the sirloin part, which is why it’s sometimes mistaken as a sirloin cut. However, tri-tip is not the same as sirloin. Tri-tip can be lean but it’s one of the beef cuts that are easier to smoke which doesn’t take too much time.

It’s recommended to sear the tri-tip first before transferring it into the smoking pit. You can choose from oak, cherry, hickory, or pecan when it comes to smoking tri-tip. Smoking tri-tip only takes about 90 minutes, perfect for last-minute barbecue plans.

4. Beef Ribs

Beef Flanken Ribs

Most people prefer pork over beef ribs, but little do they know what they’re missing. Beef ribs, although rare at times are worth all the effort.

It’s much more flavorful, tender, and juicier when cooked right. We like eating barbecued ribs because of that satisfying feeling when the meat falls off the bone easily.

You can do the same with beef ribs on your next barbecue session. Make sure to start your prep early since it takes up to 6 hours to roast those beef ribs. An ideal wood for smoking beef ribs is hickory, pecan, and oak.

5. Chuck Roast

Chuck Roast

Another popular substitute for brisket when it comes to smoking is the good old chuck roast. Chuck roast quite resembles the characteristics of a brisket which is tough and fibrous, which is why it’s a second go-to for many barbecue fanatics.

Unlike brisket, chuck roast doesn’t take too long to smoke because of how it’s sliced. It is smaller compared to brisket which only takes up to 5 hours to smoke.

Needless to say, chuck roast doesn’t need a full day to cook if you’re planning to host a barbecue party. You can use either pecan or hickory wood to smoke your chuck roast for that added smoky aroma.


What is the other term of beef brisket in the store?

Beef brisket is also called the flat in some stores. You might be wondering why you can’t find the word brisket in the beef aisle. Maybe that’s because it is coined in a different term.

You can always seek assistance from staff or your favorite butcher to give you the exact brisket cut that you’re looking for.

How long does it take to smoke a brisket?

It depends on the size of your brisket. For instance, a 5 pounder brisket can take about 5 hours to smoke. So it’s an hour per pound when smoking a brisket. Make sure to use a cooking thermometer to measure its internal temperature which is ideally 180 degrees celsius.

Is it okay to overcook brisket?

When you overcook brisket, it loses its beefy tenderness and juiciness. It’s more like ground beef which you will not like when it comes to achieving that perfect barbecue meat.

It should be perfectly tender as you poke your fork through it. Pay attention to the cooking time, temperature, marinade, and the type of wood to smoke for the best results.

Is brisket an expensive cut?

Depending on your location and geography, beef briskets can be expensive. It’s basically more because of the demand in the market and the maintenance in raising quality beef meat. But still, it’s not as expensive as the wagyu meats that charge you hundreds of bucks.

Is London Broil the same as brisket?

No, they’re not the same. London Broil is the cut of beef that can be found at the top round of the beef while the brisket is located at the front plate of the cow. You can get a copy of the beef chart to know more about different cuts or ask assistance from your butcher.

Let’s Smoke Some Beef

Are you ready to have another fire smoking in your backyard? You have good beef cuts to pick from at your next barbecue party. Just make sure you have enough time to prep and smoke with your chosen cut to get the best results and impress your family and guests.

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