Beef Navel vs Brisket: Which Cut Reigns Supreme for Meat Lovers?

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You may have heard of two popular flavors and versatile cuts: beef navel and brisket. While both cuts come from the lower part of the cow, they have their own unique characteristics that set them apart.

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In this article, we’ll explore the differences between beef navel vs brisket in terms of taste, texture, cooking methods, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a newbie in the kitchen, read on to learn more about these two delicious cuts and how to incorporate them into your meals.

CriteriaBeef NavelBrisket
CutLower chest areaBreast area
Fat ContentLeanerHigher
Nutrient Value (per 3.5 oz serving)213 calories, 17g protein, 16g fat, 0g carbs, 0g fiber290 calories, 33g protein, 20g fat, 0g carbs, 0g fiber
TextureTenderJuicy and melt-in-your-mouth
Cooking MethodsLow and slowSmoked for several hours
SubstitutabilityNot recommendedNot recommended

What is Beef Navel?

Beef navel, also known as the navel cut, is a type of beef that comes from the cow’s abdomen. It’s a relatively inexpensive meat cut known for its tenderness and juiciness when cooked properly. The navel cut is also used to make pastrami and corned beef.

What is Brisket?

Brisket is a cut of beef from the cow’s lower chest. It’s a popular cut of meat known for its smoky flavor and tenderness when cooked low and slow. Brisket is a staple of Texas-style BBQ and is also commonly used to make pastrami and corned beef.

Beef Navel vs. Brisket: Taste and Texture

Beef navel and brisket have different tastes and textures that make them unique. The beef navel is a tender and juicy cut of meat with a mild flavor often described as beefy or meaty. It’s also relatively lean compared to other cuts of meat, with a good amount of marbling that adds to its tenderness.

On the other hand, brisket has a distinct smoky flavor and a rich, beefy taste enhanced by its fat content. When cooked low and slow, the fat in brisket renders down, creating a melt-in-your-mouth texture that’s hard to resist.

Beef Navel vs. Brisket: Fat Content and Nutritional Value

Regarding fat content and nutritional value, beef navel and brisket differ. The beef navel is a relatively lean cut of meat with about 5-10% fat content. The fat in the beef navel is primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which are considered healthy fats.

On the other hand, brisket is a fattier meat cut with about 30-40% fat content. The fat in brisket is primarily saturated fat, considered less healthy than monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. However, brisket contains a good amount of protein and other nutrients, making it a nutritious choice in moderation.

Cooking Tips and Recipes

There are several cooking methods and recipes if you’re looking to cook beef navel or brisket. For beef navel, some popular recipes include smoked beef navel burnt ends, slow cooker corned beef and cabbage, and Korean beef navel soup. To achieve the best results when cooking beef navel, trim off any excess fat and cook it low and slow to ensure maximum tenderness.

For brisket, some popular recipes include Texas-style smoked brisket, oven-braised beef brisket, and slow cooker BBQ beef brisket. When cooking brisket, it’s important to trim off any excess fat and cook it low and slow for several hours to allow the fat to render down and create a tender, juicy texture.


In conclusion, understanding the differences between beef navel, brisket, and beef belly can help you choose the right cut of meat for your recipes and cooking methods. Whether you’re smoking brisket for hours or slow-cooking beef navel to perfection, these cuts offer unique flavors and textures that can elevate your meals.

And if you’re curious about trying navel pastrami or other variations of these cuts, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what delicious creations you can come up with!


To help you better understand the topic of beef navel vs. brisket, here are some frequently asked questions and their answers:

What is the difference between the beef navel and beef belly?

Beef belly refers to the entire belly section of the cow, while beef navel specifically refers to the portion of the belly between the brisket and the flank.

Can you substitute beef navel for brisket in recipes?

While beef navel and brisket have some similarities, they have distinct differences in taste and texture, so it’s not recommended to substitute one for the other in recipes.

Is beef navel healthier than brisket?

The beef navel is a leaner cut of meat with less fat content than brisket, but both cuts can be part of a healthy, balanced diet in moderation.

How do you know when beef navel or brisket is done cooking?

Both cuts of meat should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the recipe and cooking method.

Is beef belly the same as brisket?

The beef belly is not the same as brisket, although they are both cuts of beef that come from the lower chest area of the cow. The beef belly is a broader term that includes several cuts of meat, including beef navel, while brisket specifically refers to the flat and point cuts from the breast area.

What is the difference between beef belly and brisket?

The beef belly is a broader term encompassing several cuts of meat, including beef navel, while brisket specifically refers to the flat and point cuts from the breast area. Beef belly tends to have a higher fat content than brisket and may be cooked and served differently depending on the cut.

What is the difference between navel pastrami and regular pastrami?

Navel pastrami and regular pastrami are made from different cuts of beef. Navel pastrami is made from the beef navel, a leaner meat cut with less fat content than brisket. Regular pastrami, on the other hand, is typically made from brisket. The different cuts of meat result in different flavors and textures in the final product.