The Best Brisket Alternative For Budget Bbqs And Summer Smokes

There's nothing better than a long-smoked beef brisket on a summer day. But brisket has become a little pricey due to increasing demand. So, if you're looking for a more economical alternative without sacrificing the flavor of a brisket, don't worry, there is a great alternative.

Brisket is a tough primal cut of beef that typically needs to be cooked for several hours in order to tenderize and infuse it with that excellent BBQ flavor. When looking for a substitute for beef brisket, you want to choose one that mimics the brisket's toughness and flavor. While there are several options out there, we have chosen the best option based on taste, and its ability to withstand long cooking times. There is one clear winner: chuck roast.

Of all the brisket alternatives you could choose, chuck roast is the best option. It's affordable, it can withstand long cooking times, and it closely mimics the marbling and outstanding flavor of beef brisket.

Why chuck roast is the best beef brisket alternative

There are eight primal cuts of beef, each with its own distinctive characteristics and different flavors. Primal cuts that come from the legs, chest, and shoulders are the toughest cuts because these muscles are used the most in natural movement. Brisket, a long, tough cut of meat, comes from the chest of the cow and carries the bulk of the cow's weight, which is what makes the cut so tough.

Chuck roast comes from the shoulder, just above the pectoral muscle, and is the closest resemblance to brisket than all the other primal cuts. It carries more fat than brisket, which makes for better marbling, but the overall flavor isn't as tangy. The fat in chuck roast is located in between the connective tissues, which has the same effect as the exterior fat on a brisket, just more subtle. Brisket fat (known as a fat cap) is on the outside of the meat and contributes a fatty flavor as it melts during the cooking process.

Both of these cuts benefit from long cooking times, which helps to break down the connective tissues and tenderize the meat. Smoking is a great cooking method for either one because it infuses flavors that complement the rich beefy taste.

Best way to cook a chuck roast

One of the best ways to cook a chuck roast is low and slow on a smoker. At an average price of five dollars per pound, this is an economical and delicious smoking option. Since chuck roasts have such rich marbling, they become more flavorful and tender the longer they cook. For the best smoky flavor use a fruit wood like apple or cherry. For a more full-bodied flavor, use mesquite.

An alternate cooking method is grilling the chuck roast. This adds a nice sear and char flavor, which pairs well with the marbleized beef. If you choose to grill the chuck roast, it's a good idea to marinate it overnight — that way, it won't dry out while grilling and will be packed with even more flavor. Acidic ingredients like balsamic vinegar or orange juice will help tenderize the meat and ingredients like garlic, olive oil, and sugar can help lock in the juices during grilling.

Smoked chuck roast pairs well with a lot of different side dishes, which is why this is such a fun summer BBQ idea. And hey, since you have the grill fired up, why not try some beer can cabbage or a grilled vegetable pasta recipe to go with that smoked chuck roast?