There are different types of cuts available in the deli section, but how does one cut differ from another?
Beef navel and brisket are two very similar cuts of beef, however, they come from different parts of the cow and have distinct flavors when cooked.
In this blog post, we will explain what is special about each cut and their typical differences so you can make an informed decision next time you are at the store.
What is beef navel?
Beef navel is a cut of beef that comes from the stomach area of the cow, right below the lower ribs.
In other words, it is exactly like pork belly but comes from beef.
It can be sold as an individual cut or in combination with other cuts such as short plate, brisket, and flank steak.
Since beef navel has more fat than other cuts, it has a very rich flavor and is best used for smoking or curing to make bacon.
It can also be ground into hamburger meat, which is a great way to use it if you don’t want any leftovers.
The long cooking time will help tenderize this tough cut of meat while maintaining its rich flavor.
This is an inexpensive cut so it is great for feeding your family without having to spend too much money.
What is beef brisket?
The brisket, also known as the cow’s breast, is a cut of meat from beef cattle.
And as the name implies, it comes from the breast of the cow and is one of the nine primal beef cuts.
It is typically used to make corned beef, pastrami, or slow-cooking recipes.
Since this is one of the tougher cuts that contain many connective tissues, it is recommended to cook this muscle for extended periods of time at low temperatures.
This process creates a tender texture with an intense flavor that many people enjoy.
By cooking whole pieces in liquid or by separating them into smaller sections before cooking, you can find your own perfect way to enjoy this delicious piece of meat.
What are the differences between beef navel vs brisket?
Beef brisket and beef navel have long been considered two similar cuts of a cow.
However, they actually differ in many ways.
This comparison table below will show you details:
|Beef navel||Beef brisket|
|Animal’s part||The cow’s belly||The cow’s chest|
|Texture and fat content||Have more fat so it is tender||Have less fat (but more marbling) and more connective tissue so it is tougher, but can reach the most tender and juicy texture if properly cooked|
|Taste||Fattier and flavorful||Richer and more fragrant|
|Cooking time||Quicker because it has more fat and less lean meat||Longer to break down the connective tissue and tenderize the meat|
|Use||Perfect to smoke, cure to make bacon, or pastrami Can also be roasted or grilled||Typically used to make corned beef Also perfect for slow-cooking methods like roasting or braising|
|Price||Usually cheaper||A bit higher|
What are the similarities between beef navel vs brisket?
The fact is many people substitute beef navel for brisket because it is more economical.
So let’s figure out what are the similarities between these two cuts of beef in this part.
1. They can be easily found at any grocery store at the deli section
Beef navel and beef brisket are not rare cuts, therefore, it is easy for you to access these beef cuts at any grocery store or supermarket, at the deli section.
They are sold fresh in tight-sealed packages, which you can store in the cool compartment of your fridge for two to three days.
Or you can also buy the frozen versions if not intended to cook them right away.
2. They can be used interchangeably
Both brisket and beef navel are great to make pastrami.
Even in slow-cooking recipes or cooking over high heat like grilling or roasting.
Since the differences between beef brisket and beef navel are not significant, feel free to alter one for another when cooking.
Can I substitute beef brisket for beef navel?
It’s definitely possible to substitute beef brisket for beef navel.
Beef navel is the traditional cut of meat used in pot roast, so if you don’t have it on hand and want to make a pot roast, you can use brisket.
However, there are some things to keep in mind when substituting your meat:
Pot roasts usually require long cooking times (4+ hours), so you’ll want to make sure that whatever cut of meat you’re using is suitable for slow cooking.
Brisket is great for this because it’s a relatively tough cut of meat that can stand up to the long cooking time without getting dry or tough.
If you’re substituting brisket for navel and want a meal that’s similar in flavor and texture, try using cubed stew meat instead of cubed chuck roast.
Stew meat has a lot of connective tissue that will break down during cooking and give your dish a similar texture and flavor profile as pot roast made with navel.
Which one is better?
Beef navel and beef brisket are both great for your family’s meals.
Therefore, there is no clear-cut answer to which one is better because it really depends on what flavor profile that you are looking for in your dish.
If you want a tender cut with a little more fat, beef navel seems to be a better choice.
On the other hand, stick with the brisket counterpart if you want something with a firmer texture but rich in flavor.
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