Beef brisket is the breast area of the cow, located just above the front leg. As cows do not have collarbones, the brisket serves an important function of supporting at least 60% of the cow’s weight. This result in brisket having tough muscles with a significant amount of connective tissue. In fact, brisket comes from the Old English word “brushk” which means tough.
Demand for brisket surged in the 1980s after it was served as a barbeque dish in the restaurants. Smoked brisket barbeque is a hugely popular dish especially in Texas, and has become a “must-have” dish across barbeque restaurants in the US.
Typically, brisket comes in a whole packer with a layer of fat covering the top. It is a huge chunk of meat, weighing around 6 to 8kg. The main part of the brisket is the Flat. It is the long, thin part of the brisket and has low fat content. The thick, rounded portion of the brisket is the Point. It sits ‘outside’ and above the front leg of the cow.
In Asia, the brisket is typically found in soup dishes. The Vietnamese use beef brisket in pho soup. In Hong Kong, beef brisket is boiled together with spices in a soup over low heat. In Korea, brisket is served as the main ingredient in a spicy soup called yuk ke jang.
In the US, brisket is a wildly popular barbeque dish, especially in Texas. The most famous one is the Franklin Barbecue‘s BBQ Brisket with long lines of queue daily. Here, the beef brisket is smoked for hours inside large propane tanks. This allows the tough brisket meat to be well grilled and the collagen to be broken down after long exposure to heat.