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Brisket vs. Steak: Taste, Cooking, and Nutritional Differences

Brisket vs Steak Comparison

Brisket vs. Steak: Taste, Cooking, and Nutritional Differences

Do you enjoy a tender, juicy steak? Maybe you have walked into a kitchen and smelled the appealing aroma of a mouthwatering brisket. If you are a meat eater, these two types of meat might sound familiar to you. But do you know what the difference is? In this post, we will discuss brisket vs. steak and what the difference is. Let's get straight to it.

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Brisket vs. Steak What Is the Difference?

The primary difference between brisket and steak is that brisket is often cooked “low and slow” while steak is most commonly grilled or pan-seared. This leads to flavor differences. Brisket is known for its rich, robust flavor and tender texture when cooked low and slow, primarily due to its high-fat content and connective tissue. Steak, specifically flank steak, features a distinct grain-like texture and leaner profile, requiring careful slicing against the grain to prevent chewiness.

It's worth noting that steak is an all-encompassing term that describes various cuts of meat. It includes filet mignon, t-bone, ribeye, and sirloin. These are just a few of the many different cuts of steak. Often when we mention steak, we think of a cow. However, steak can also come from other animals, including pigs, deer, and even sheep. The most popular cuts of steak do, in fact, come from cows. One of the most popular cooking methods for steak is to cook on the stovetop or BBQ grill.

A brisket, on the other hand, is not a steak. Brisket comes from one specific place, the breast of a cow or another animal. It typically is very tough. However, when cooked the right way, it can deliver one of the most delicious and tender cuts of meat you have ever tasted, with a flavor that is satisfying to your very core. 

Sliced grilled meat steak Rib eye medium rare set, on wooden serving board, with white beans and rosemary in cast iron pan, on black wooden table background
Steak and brisket may seem similar, but many differences set these two delicious types of meat apart.

©Chatham172/Shutterstock.com

Are Steak and Brisket the Same Thing?

The quick answer to this question is no, steak and brisket are different. Although these two cuts of meat may seem very similar, and both can come from the same animal, typically a cow, many differences set them apart.

The first difference is what part of the animal they come from. As described before, steak is an all-encompassing term. This means it covers many different cuts of meat. In addition, the term means that it's a cut of meat from the muscle. Some of the cuts of meat that steak includes are: 

  • Ribeye steak – comes from around the ribs of a cow. 
  • Strip steak – comes from the short loin of a cow.
  • Tenderloin steak – comes from the muscle between the hip and spine, the major psoas muscle. 
  • Sirloin steak – comes from the lower back of a cow.

These are just a few of the cuts of steak that can come from an animal. There are many more not discussed in this post. If you enjoy a good steak, it is worth trying all the different cuts to find your favorite! There are also different varieties of steak, from lean cuts to fatty cuts, different types of flavors, cooking methods, and more! 

On the other hand, brisket comes from a specific area of the animal, typically a cow. That area is the breast. So, because the brisket comes from the breast of an animal, it contains many connective tissues. Connective tissues are tough, and when the brisket cooks fast, the meat will be dry. This brings us to the next difference between steak and brisket; cooking methods. 

How Is Brisket Cooked? 

Brisket on plate
Brisket is often served with sauces that can accentuate its flavor.

©hlphoto/Shutterstock.com

Brisket cooks best slowly and methodically. How you cook the brisket is important because it becomes dry and tough if it cooks too quickly. There are many different recipes out there for brisket, but the most basic way to cook a perfect brisket is like this: 

  • Take care to pat your brisket dry and then season it with your desired seasoning. Sometimes pepper and salt are all you need; brisket is flavorful! 
  • Next, sear it on each side in oil for a minute or two on the stove. This seals in the flavor!
  • Braise your brisket with liquid while it cooks. The liquid you choose can vary depending on the recipe, and many people use chicken or beef stock. When you choose your liquid, you'll want at least three or four cups per four pounds of brisket. 
  • Cover your brisket with the liquid while in the pan. You can also use a Dutch oven. 
  • Next, cover your brisket and place it in the oven. Most recipes require a temperature of 325 degrees. Sometimes it's even less.  
  • You will want to cook the brisket for thirty minutes to an hour for each pound. For example, if it's a three-pound brisket, it may only take around three hours. Check your recipe for specific instructions. 

The slow cooking of a brisket produces a juicy, succulent, and mouthwatering flavor. Briskets, when cooked right, are packed full of flavor. 

Beef navel, raw beef brisket meat set,with ingredients for smoking making barbecue, pastrami, cure, on white stone background
When cooked for several hours, brisket produces a juicy, delectable dish.

©Chatham172/Shutterstock.com

How Is Steak Cooked?

Steak, on the other hand, is cooked differently than brisket. Steak cooks best at high temperatures. This is because when grilled at a high temperature, the steak sears, trapping all the flavor inside. You can eat your steak in many different forms of doneness, from rare, meaning it's only cooked for a short time, and the center is not hot and red. Up to well done when there is no red anywhere on the steak and the outside is charred. 

When cooking steak, the steak's doneness will play a part in how high the temperature is. If you are cooking your steak well, you will want to cook on a lower heat; this will prevent the steak from becoming too tough. 

Strip steak, marbled beef meat, on black wooden table
When looking for the perfect steak, you have many options and varying ways of cooking it to perfection!

©Chatham172/Shutterstock.com

What Are the Characteristics of Brisket and Steak?

Brisket is savory with a beefy flavor. The flavor can change depending on the seasoning and cooking liquid. However, the facts remain, brisket can produce an irresistibly delicious taste. 

The flavor of a steak will differ depending on how it cooks and its seasoning. However, the beefy taste will stay the same. Steaks will vary in degrees of flavor and tenderness depending on doneness and the location of the cut. A steak with more fat content will typically be more tender than a lean steak. Filet mignon and ribeye are some of the most tender cuts of steak. The more marbled a cut of meat, the more fat content it has. 

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Brisket vs. Steak Nutrition: Calories, Fats, Protein, and More

Smoked Beef Brisket vs Flank Steak Nutrition Comparison
All nutritional information from the USDA.

©

Flank steak and brisket have relatively comparable nutrition. Keep in mind that these values will change depending on the amount of fat marbling and other variables. In general, the amount of saturated fat relative to calories will be a bit higher in brisket than in flank steak.

Brisket vs. Steak Which Type Should You Choose? 

Pros of Brisket Cons of Brisket
It can feed a large crowd. It can be pricey if you are
not feeding a lot of people.
It can be braised, smoked, or even barbequed.Only one way to cook it, at low temperatures and for several hours.
The flavor is rich and meaty.It takes a long time to cook.
Pros of SteakCons of Steak
Packed with protein.It may be high in saturated fats.
Several different types of steak give many options.The meat cut can become tough if cooked too high or too long.
It can be cooked to varying degrees of doneness.It can be overwhelming with all the choices.

Brisket Recipes

Take a look at these delicious brisket recipes straight from Moms Who Think:

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Beef Brisket with Herbed Tomato Sauce


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  • Author: Moms Who Think

Ingredients

Scale

1 beef brisket (4½ pounds)
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup beef broth
1 can (14½ ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 pound carrots, cut into ½ inch slices


Instructions

1. Season brisket with salt and pepper.

2. In a large saucepan, brown brisket in oil over medium high heat (this seals in the juices). Remove from pan and place into a 3 quart glass or ceramic baking dish.

3. In the same saucepan, sauté onions and garlic until tender.

4. Add the beef broth, tomatoes, red pepper, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Stir well to combine ingredients, heat through.

5. Pour mixture over brisket in baking dish.

6. Cover tightly and bake at 325° for 2 hours, basting occasionally.

7. Add carrots; bake 1 hour longer or until meat is tender. Discard bay leaf.

8. Let stand for 10 minutes, then slice beef across the grain. Serve with sauce over brisket slices.

Steak Recipes

Are you looking for flavorful steak recipes? Look no further. We have got you covered! 

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In Conclusion

Infographic comparing brisket and steak.
What's your favorite cut of steak?
  • Brisket is usually cooked low and slow, which is necessary to give it a tender texture. Steak is usually grilled or pan-seared, meaning it takes a lot less time to cook.
  • Steak can vary in flavor depending on the cut, from beefy to rich. Brisket, on the other hand, has a rich and robust flavor when cooked right.
  • The texture of steak can range from tough to tender, depending on the cut. Brisket is generally tender.

Steak and brisket are delicious, packed with flavor, and can turn an ordinary dinner into a delectable meal that stays with your taste buds long after it ends. However, there are many differences to consider when choosing between steak and brisket. For starters, it's important to assess how much time you have. Brisket requires several hours of cook time at low temperatures to reach the rich flavor that makes it memorable. On the other hand, if you have less time to cook your dinner, it may be best to go with a type of steak.

Also, the cuts of meat come from different parts of the animal and have varying textures, flavors, cooking methods, sizes, and prices. For example, a brisket cut can feed a large family or several people, while steak may be more pricey if you want to feed more people.

So, brisket vs. steak, which one do you choose? They are both rich in meaty taste and delicious if cooked correctly, only you can decide which is best for your family, but the consensus is you can't go wrong with either one!  

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