Are you an American living in the UK and wondering if UK brisket is a thing? Or perhaps you are holidaying in the US and not sure if American brisket is the same as back home? Or maybe you just want clarification after being confused by Google. Whatever your reason for this burning question, we set out to answer it as clearly as possible.
Brisket is an extremely popular piece of meat, especially for those with a love of grilling. Once it has been cooked correctly, all that fatty tissue becomes a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. When you go to search for brisket on the web, you see many American-based sites. We intend to balance this out as we explore both US and UK beef brisket.
Brisket, whether from America or the UK, refers to the same cut of meat. It comes from the fattier chest area of the cow. US brisket tends to be fattier due to a grain-fed diet. This is why it is such a popular meat to smoke. As well as being grass-fed in the UK, cattle are slaughtered younger.
What Cut Of Beef is Brisket UK?
Brisket in the UK refers to the chest meat of the cow, between its shoulders. There are nine primal cuts of beef with brisket making up one of these. The muscles in the brisket section of the cattle hold 60% of their weight when standing or walking around.
This accounts for there being a large amount of connective tissue in this particular chunk of meat. It also explains why this cut needs a very specific cooking technique for achieving the tender result.
Is there Brisket in the UK?
There is brisket in the UK. It comes from the chest area of the cow and is a part of the animal that works incredibly hard. There is a lot of muscle, fat, and connective tissue on this cut of meat. This particular)r cut of beef has a marbled white pattern running throughout it which are the fatty parts. It is this fat that gives brisket its in-depth flavors and intensity once cooked.
What is American Brisket?
Brisket is the same cut of meat in the US and tends to be a firm favorite among barbecuers. The main difference between US and UK brisket is the cooking methods used. In the UK brisket is usually cooked in the slow cooker or slow-roasted in the oven to achieve a tender outcome. In the US, it is one of the most sought-after meats for smoking on the grill. Either way, as long as it is cooked for the appropriate length of time, you will be left with a melt-in-the-mouth delight.
What is an English Brisket?
It is widely believed that brisket is derived from the Middle English term ‘brusket’. Brusket originated from the Old Norse word ‘brójsk’ meaning cartilage.
Does Brisket have the Same Meaning all over the World?
The actual cut of meat that the brisket refers to is loosely the same all over the world. The differences mainly arise from how it is prepared and which cooking methods are adopted.
We explored some of the countries where brisket has a long history:
- The US likes to rub spices into the meat and then cook over charcoal or wood for the smoky experience. This method is extremely popular in Texan culture where the ends are burnt for sandwiches and tacos.
- The UK makes casseroles or slow roasts with brisket, in the US this is called pot roast.
- Germany uses the braised cooking method, using dark beer to soak the meat in. Herbs are added and it is served with vegetables.
- Cooking brisket is popular in the Jewish culture. It is usually served as a pot roast for holidays such as Passover and Sabbath.
- Worldwide, brisket is used to make corned beef and pastrami.
- It is often served in soups and noodle-based dishes in Hong Kong.
- New Zealand uses brisket in a traditional boil-up. It is particularly popular in Maori culture.
- In Canada, they enjoy the smoky meat in sandwiches served with mustard and pickles.
What Can I Use Instead Of Brisket UK?
If you cannot find brisket anywhere then don’t panic. There are plenty of other beef cuts that can be slow-roasted in the same way.
Alternatives to brisket include:
- The shin of the cow is very muscly and packed full of flavors.
- The chuck and blade make another great alternative, especially when braising.
- The middle ribs are perfect in casseroles.
- Oxtail is full of wonderful tastes due to being on the bone.
To summarize,t brisket in the UK is not dissimilar from that in the US. It has a big history in the US, particularly in Texas where they are very passionate about meat. Anyone that has tried brisket when cooked to perfection will tell you how special it is.
There are subtle differences that come down to two main factors.
- Cows in the UK are grass-fed whilst in America, they are fed on grain. This produces a higher-end product which is why many butchers buy their meat overseas.
- In the UK, cattle are slaughtered at a younger age so there will not be the same quality meat. Cows that are maturer will end up being the more flavorsome meat due to the fat content.
Whether you are slow roasting your brisket in the UK or grilling in a smoker in the US, you can achieve great results. Beef brisket is a popular piece of meat worldwide due to its versatility and divine texture once it has tenderized. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, be it the UK, America, Canada, or Hong Kong. We are all bound together by our love of all things brisket related! For hints and tips on catering for the masses check out our sister article how much brisket do I need to need my guests?