Move over beef brisket, there’s a new cut in town! If you’re interested in learning how to smoke a pork brisket, you’re in the right place. This is the ultimate guide to smoking this cut of pork.
I’ve been in the BBQ industry for almost six years and have made my fair share of smoked beef brisket. In fact, I think it’s safe to say it’s a staple for any backyard grill enthusiast and pitmaster to want to perfect and enjoy.
But, have you heard of pork brisket?
Only recently did I stumble upon this cut of pork and I am not going to lie when I say that it may be some of the best BBQ I have made and eaten.
This technique is going to follow a similar process to standard brisket but factors in the flavor of pork and the best elements to create deliciously tender brisket.
What Is A Pork Brisket?
While pork brisket is not as widely known or used as beef brisket, it does indeed exist as a cut of pork (think of it as the beef counterpart of the same cut).
Pork brisket refers to a specific section of meat from the bottom half of the shoulder or pectoral muscle of the pig. It is similar to beef brisket in terms of location and texture but in this case clearly comes from a pig instead. The unique part about this cut is that it includes meat from the lower part of the shoulder (picnic ham) and the lower part of the belly (pork belly).
A general takeaway about this cut compared to other cuts of pork or cuts of beef would be:
- Pork brisket is a smaller cuts compared to beef brisket. Usually, they max out at around 4 lbs. However, most I have seen range in the 1.5-2 lb. range. This serves up a decent amount of meat but plan accordingly for both the time of the cook and the yield.
- Work with a local butcher or local farms to source this cut if needed because it is not a commonly found cut in grocery stores. I sourced this pork brisket from the online retailer Porter Road.
- Slow cooking at a steady temperature is important to help break down the connective tissue and intramuscular fat. This meat will be very tender and juicy when it is done (think of a combination of pork belly and Boston butt).
- While this is a much shorter cook time compared to smoking beef brisket, this did have a fairly long cook time based on the size of the meat (mine took about 6 hours to get to 195 degrees F.)
- Paper Towels
- Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
- Butcher Paper or Aluminum Foil
- Meat Thermometer
- 2-4 lb. Pork Brisket
- Dry Rub: I went with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. You can use your favorite brisket rub for this too.
- Binder: I prefer mustard or a neutral oil for this like olive oil or avocado oil.
- Apple Cider Vinegar or Apple Juice (for spritzing and building a bark)
Pork Brisket Preparation:
- Remove the pork brisket from the packaging and pat it dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture from the outside.
- These are fairly small cuts (mine was under 2 lbs.) and most likely will come pre-trimmed and won’t have a large amount of excess fat. Keep the fat cap that is there intact and only trim any silver skin off the pork brisket. This does not need the same type of aggressive trimming you see when you make a beef brisket.
- Add your chosen binder (I use yellow mustard). You will not taste the binder, it acts as the glue for the rub.
- I really prefer an SPG (salt pepper garlic powder) combo for this easy pork brisket recipe. Sprinkle an even layer of dry rub over the entire cut of pork and set it back into the fridge. I suggest keeping the brisket cold until placing it out onto the smoker to allow for as much bark formation and smoke flavor as possible.
- Build your spritzing mixture by adding a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water. You can also try 1/2 cup of diluted apple juice. This works well in general with pork cuts of meat.
How To Smoke A Pork Brisket:
- Preheat your pellet grill or charcoal smoker to 225 F. Keep the heat very low and slow for this cooking process for the best result.
- Place the pork brisket onto the smoker grill grates with the pork fat cap side facing your heat source; typically fat cap side down.
- Let the pork brisket smoke for 2-3 hours to help build a good bark. Use the spritzing mixture to spray the outside at each hour mark to help keep it moist and help with smoke adherence.
- Use an instant read thermometer to track the internal temperature. When it hits a temperature of 165-175 F. you can wrap it tightly in foil or butcher paper and place it back on the smoker.
- Finish smoking until the internal temperature reaches 195 F. Use a thermometer probe to poke and feel the tenderness of the meat. If it needs more time let it cook longer.
- When tender, remove from the smoker and let it rest for at minimum one hour if not longer. Keep it wrapped in towels and placed in a cooler for hot holding for best results.
- After resting slice down the middle and then slice into thin, servable bite-sized pieces.
Frequently Asked Questions:
More Smoked Pork Recipes To Try:
- Smoked Pork Steaks Recipe
- Smoked Pork Shank
- Smoked Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder
- Smoked Pork Loin Roast