Butchering 101: Pork Brisket

Ahh the pork brisket...here's one of the best slow roasting cuts of pork out there that you'll never see in your big-chain supermarket. You might not even be able to find this cut in your local butcher shop that doesn't cut from whole animal. Of course, we offer this cut through our online butcher shop! It's also called "Pork Breast" or it can be considered boneless Picnic Shoulder.

The brisket is pectoral muscle of the animal, often included on the Picnic Shoulder of the pig (more details on Picnic later). It's one of the larger muscles found on the Picnic, which is traditionally used for slow cooking or smoking, especially for pulled pork.

How to Butcher

Check out the video below to see how we cut the Pork Brisket from the Picnic. First of all, you have to split the whole pork shoulder, separating the Boston Butt (the half to the right) and the Picnic Shoulder (the half to the left). Pork Brisket is carefully seamed from the Picnic, peeling it off the breast plate between the arm and ribs, then removing the spare ribs from the top. For extra meat, you can leave the rib meat on the brisket! All you have to do from there is trim off any excess fat and dry-aged meat. You can either roast it flat or rolled.

Essentially, every four-legged animal (beef, pork, lamb, goat, etc) has the same muscular and skeletal structure, which means they all have the same cuts. The reason why you mostly see beef brisket and not much of pork or lamb brisket, is because the briskets on those animals are significantly smaller than beef. To compare, a whole, grass-fed beef brisket can weigh somewhere around 12-14lb while a pasture raised Pork Brisket weighs around 3lb.

Cooking and Preparation

Pork Brisket is a fantastic cut of pork perfect for slow roasting. It always has to be slow roasted or braised in order to become tender. Like the traditional beef brisket, most of the fat is found on the outside and is incredibly well marbled on the inside. You'll want to keep a nice layer of fat on the outside to help keep it moist and tender while cooking it. You can also stuff and roll it for something extra special (I suggest fennel and thyme!). Slow roast in the oven, grill, or smoker or braise at 300°F for about 2 hours minimum for a succulent and juicy pork roast. Give this recipe for Pork Brisket al Latte a try, it's an incredible Italian tradition where you braise the Pork Brisket in milk.

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