Brisket Vs. Pulled Pork – Which is Better?

Slicing A Portion Of Roast Beef Brisket With A Large Knife

Choosing the perfect meat to cook at your BBQ party is difficult. It’s not like there is a list of the best meats to smokeor BBQ.

Ideally, you should cook meat with an irresistibly delicious flavor and feed a crowd of people. Two types of meat fit the bill: brisket and pulled pork. But which one should you smoke in your offset smoker?

Is Pork Shoulder The Same As Brisket?

No, pork shoulder and brisket are not the same things. Brisket is beef. It is carved from the breast region of the cow.

On the other hand, as the name implies, pulled pork is pork. Typically, pulled pork is a pork shoulder that comes from the shoulder portion of the pig. 

The only thing these cuts have in common is their tough nature and inexpensive cost. Unfortunately, both cuts contain a lot of connective tissues. This means you cannot sear them like a Tomahawk steak, but you can cook them low and slow in a slow cooker or in your electric smoker.

In addition, since pork shoulder and brisket are not exquisite cuts like prime rib, they are usually inexpensive.

You prepare brisket and pulled pork using the same cooking methods. Both workreally well with low and slow cooking methods, especially smoking. However, they must be smoked until an infrared thermometer or a smoker thermometer registers 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brisket Vs. Pulled Pork

You may wonder why there is a brisket vs. pulled pork debate on earth even though these cuts come from two different animals. That would be like having a chicken vs. bacon debate.

However, this debate is valid since both pulled pork and brisket are such great cuts of meat, and it’s nearly impossible to decide.

Pork shoulder is more forgiving than brisket. Unfortunately, brisket can dry out very easily.

If your pulled pork is dry, you can pull it apart and allow it to soak in the cooking liquid. In contrast, if the brisket comes out dry, you will have to do even more work to correct your mistake. Saving brisket takes a lot of extra work. You will have to slice the brisket, place it in a pan, and submerge it in liquid. In addition to this, you will also have to bake it in the oven for 3-4 hours.

There is also a hefty price difference between brisket and pulled pork. Brisket is generally more expensive than pork shoulder.

The price of brisket can depend on the grade of beef and your location. For example, wagyu beef brisket will cost more than regular brisket. On average, brisket can cost triple or quadruple the price of pork shoulder.

You should also consider how much the meat will shrink. For example, if you make pulled pork from pork shoulder, it will shrink 30% during smoking. If you make pulled pork from pork butt, it will shrink 40%-50% percent. The same goes for beef brisket.

Alternatively, you can make pulled pork from pork loin, but it will not be as delicious as the shoulder or butt. But pork loin will have less shrinkage.

To access the costs of both brisket and pork shoulder, you should determine how much meat per person before you go to the grocery store.

Pulled pork is also much easier to prepare than brisket. All you have to do is massage your pork with a BBQ rub and set your propane smoker to a temperature between 250 °F-275°F. Next, place the pork into the smoker and cook it for 5-6 hours.

Wrap the pork tightly with foil or pink butcher paper and cook it for another 5 hours until it is tender.

On the other hand, brisket is more challenging to cook because it consists of 2 different muscles: the point and the flat. The point contains a lot of intramuscular marbling, while the flat is as lean as an eye of round steak.

Therefore, getting the flat nice and tender without drying it out is extremely difficult. Furthermore, you can smoke a brisket for up to 15 hours, but it still needs to rest for an hour before it is sliced.

One way to combat this is smoking the brisket until it literally falls apart. While it may not be the brisket experience you were looking for, pulled brisket is delicious on sandwiches.

While the meat is the star at the backyard BBQ, you should also pay attention to the side dishes. Both brisket and pulled pork have different sides. Although most people think these side dishes are interchangeable, what pairs well with brisket doesn’t necessarily pair well with pulled pork.

What Goes With Brisket

Brisket’s flavor is meaty and earthy. Therefore, it needs side dishes that can hold its own weight.

Brisket pairs well with mustard-based potato salads, pickles, onion slices, and pinto beans. In addition to this, you will want to serve brisket with a spicy BBQ sauce.

What Goes With Pulled Pork

Unlike brisket, pulled pork has a rich, fatty, sweet flavor that goes perfectly with sweet and creamy side dishes. These sweet, creamy side dishes include BBQ baked beans, BBQ coleslaw, mac and cheese, and sweet BBQ sauce. You can also use a vinegar-based BBQ sauce to offset the fatty, sweet flavor of the pork.

Does Brisket Or Pork Shoulder Taste Better

Brisket’s flavor content is more complex than pork shoulder. Even though both cuts are lean and fatty, pork shoulder has a sweeter and fattier texture.

Brisket is meatier and chewier. Depending on how it is cooked, brisket could also be crispy, smoky, and flavorful if it is smoked or barbecued.

How To Reheat Pulled Pork

If you’ve cooked pulled pork, you will likely have leftovers. Divide the leftover pulled pork in\to 8 oz portions and vacuum seal them. You can also place the pulled pork into freezer-safe airtight containers or ziplock bags. If you are storing your pork in a ziplock bag, press the air from it to create an airtight seal.

Store your leftover pulled pork in the fridge 4 days or in the freezer for 6 months.

The easiest and fastest way to reheat pulled pork is in the microwave or sous-vide style. However, you can also reheat pulled pork in the oven by adding it to a pan along with some of its cooking liquid, apple cider, or water. Wrap the pork with foil and heat it in a 225°F oven until it is heated through.

How To Reheat Brisket

Leftover brisket is harder to handle than pulled pork. It is better to slice the brisket as you are serving it. If you slice the entire brisket, the slices will dry out as they sit. In addition to this, it’s also hard to reheat sliced brisket without drying it out.

Therefore, it is better to vacuum seal the leftover brisket whole. If you do not have a vacuum sealer, place the brisket into a large freezer bag.

You can reheat the brisket in the microwave, slow cooker, or in the oven. However, the oven is the best way to reheat brisket. 

To reheat brisket in the oven, set it to 325°F. Let the leftover brisket come to room temperature. Place it into a baking dish and add a cup of the cooking liquid, beef broth, or water.

Double wrap the brisket and cook it for 20 minutes until thoroughly heated.

Instead of reheating brisket, you can also use it in other dishes such as eggs, twice-baked potatoes, chili, salads, and tacos.

Can I Smoke Brisket And Pulled Pork At The Same Time

Of course, you can cook brisket and pulled pork simultaneously. However, you must space them evenly apart in the smoker. This will ensure each meat gets an ample dose of smoky flavor.

It is best to monitor each meat’s internal temperature using a double probe smoker thermometer. This is the best way to tell if the pulled pork and brisket are done.

Even though it’s natural to think that the pork shoulder and brisket should be the same size if they are being smoked together. However, there is nothing extraordinary about smoking two types of meat together. They will be cooked when they reach 200°F.

You can also use the probe test to determine if your pork shoulder and brisket are done. The brisket’s and pork’s connective tissues, collagen, and fat will melt as it cooks.

If the meat is cooked, the probe should easily slide into the meat as though you were sticking it into a stick of softened cream cheese. Ultimately, if there is any resistance, your pork shoulder or brisket needs to go back in the smoker.

Final Thoughts

Selecting a good cut of meat to cook for your BBQ party is no easy feat. It should taste amazing and be able to feed all of your guests. These are the options you must examine when considering brisket vs. pulled pork.

Both brisket and pulled pork are delicious and flavorful. You could go with brisket or pulled pork, or you can serve both at your party.

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