Pork brisket, you read it correctly. Although you may not have heard of pork brisket before, it is a relatively new pig cut that is quickly gaining popularity.
When done well, smoked pig brisket is actually rather good.
Continue reading to learn more about the pork brisket cut and how to prepare it so you can enjoy a mouthwatering dish made with smoked pork brisket.
You’re not alone if you’ve never heard of pork brisket. Until the kind, people at Porter Road enquired if they might send us some to try out, neither had I.
What is the pork brisket cut?
Pork brisket is a recent cut that is unquestionably less well-liked than beef brisket. You probably won’t find it at your neighborhood supermarket, but if you visit a true whole animal butcher, they will understand precisely what you mean.
The brisket of the pig is located in the same region of the animal as the brisket of the cow.
When the animal’s bones are removed, it makes up a sizable portion of the picnic ham. This is the area where the pig’s shoulder and pectoral muscles converge.
The good news is that it has many characteristics with beef brisket, making it a preferred cut for low and slow smoking. Pork brisket features lovely fat marbling and connective tissue, both of which will dissolve while cooking.
It is a great cut to braise, roast, or smoke.
What does whole animal butchery mean?
Whole animal butchery is growing in popularity among eco-conscious butchers, processors, and consumers. It is a process that involves using as much of the carcass of the animal as possible, even when the good cuts are removed. The idea is to leave as little leftover meat as possible.
In most cases, the leftover cuts are used to make sausage, but some butchers offer whole “leftover” cuts like pork brisket to their customers.
How do the two muscles of the animal affect the quality of the pork brisket?
Just like with cows, the brisket of the pig is made up of two separate muscles which meet at the shoulder. But unlike beef brisket, the fat ratio of the two is reversed in the pork brisket.
With the pork brisket, the flat end comes from the side of the pig’s belly and is fattier than the chest portion which is lean and is part of the pork picnic cut.
With pork, the pork picnics are less popular than the Boston butt cut from the animal’s shoulder.
How to prepare smoked pork brisket?
Just like beef brisket, pork brisket is best cooked low and slow.
It is rich in connective tissue and fat marbling, and they render beautifully when the meat is cooked at low temperatures slowly.
Since the pork brisket is smaller than the beef brisket, it requires less cooking and smoking time. But the cooking time depends on the internal temperature of the pork rather than a set cooking time.
Here is a step-by-step guide for preparing and cooking the smoked pork brisket
Prepare the pork brisket for the smoking
Take the brisket out of the refrigerator. You should trim and silver skin if you see it. This skin can hinder the proper penetration of the smoke, marinade, rub, and other seasonings.
In case there is a large fat cap on the cut, you should trim it down to about ¼ inch.
We recommend that you order your pork brisket from a reliable butcher, such as Porter Road. The online butchery offers fresh meat from pasture-raised meat from local farms. Butchers like them offer the meat properly trimmed and cleaned from the silver skin, so you won’t need to trim it or prep it too much.
Keep in mind that the pork brisket lacks the layer of point flat that the beef brisket has, so you need to monitor the internal temperature and the bark of your meat during the cooking to prevent overcooking it.
When the pork cut is trimmed and cleaned, you can dust it with a smoked BBQ pork rub of your choice. Pat the rub onto the meat with your hands.
Let the meat sit and reach room temperature for about 30-60 minutes before cooking it.
Smoke the pork brisket
You may start setting up the smoker while the meat is resting. The setting should be 250 degrees Fahrenheit. You should adjust the smoker in order to hold this temperature consistent throughout the cooking.
Smaller portions of brisket may just need to reach a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit, whilst bigger cuts may tolerate considerable variation.
You can add the coal and cooking wood after the temperature has settled.
You can use any wood of your choice, but our recommendation is to use Royal Oak for the pork brisket. You can add a few chunks of hickory wood which will add to the smoky taste of the pork.
If you have a charcoal smoker, you can add the wood chunks using the Minion Method.
If you are using an offset smoker and are using wood as the primary fuel, then you don’t need to add more wood. Just make sure you keep the fire and temperature steady.
After the smoker has reached a steady temperature, you can add the pork brisket on the grate and close the door.
Do not touch it, or open the smoker for at least a couple of hours. The larger the piece of meat is, the longer you should wait before opening the smoker’s door.
Should you wrap the smoked pork brisket?
When you open the door to check on the meat, inspect it for bark. The ideal bark on the pork brisket should be dark red, as the fat renders inside the meat.
You should check the internal temperature of the meat with a reliable meat thermometer. Place the probe into the thickest part of the cut. The goal is to reach an internal temperature of 195 degrees Fahrenheit before pulling it off.
If the cut is larger, you may need to wrap it in foil for the remainder of the cooking until it reaches the target temperature or with pink butcher paper to reach the right bark color and texture.
Leave it unwrapped if the bark has not formed.
Serve and eat the pork brisket
When the pork has reached the desired internal temperature of 195 degrees, take it out of the smoker and let it rest for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. This will help redistribute the juices in the meat and will allow the brisket to keep cooking until it reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since the pork brisket muscles are harder to separate than those in the beef brisket, it is advisable that you slice the pork brisket against the grain.
Related: Best Knife for Slicing Brisket
Use a sharp knife, slice it into slices that are ½ inch thick, and then rotate and slice against the grain again.
It should be served warm with the sauces and sides of your choice.
A properly smoked pork brisket has a hearty, juicy flavor. While the leaner meat from the shoulder is similar to that of pork chops or loin, the belly side’s end has an added juiciness and the flavor of pulled pork.
The pork brisket is undoubtedly a novel cut that you should try if you are a pitmaster, a fan of pork, or if you appreciate the concept of whole animal butchery, even though it is not the most remarkable hog cut to smoke and taste.