A brisket primal cut is derived from a forequarter and is more or less a cow breast, that located immediately below a chuck primal cut. It initially includes a segment of breast (sternum) bone and in some cases, of rib and/or arm bone. However, bones are (nearly) always removed from a brisket primal cut.

Retail cuts from a brisket primal cut are tough and noted for being particularly good for use in the curing applications of smoking (pastrami), corning (corned beef) and pickling.

Some consider the brisket and shank primal cuts as hand-in-hand, as though to refer to a brisket is to (also) refer to a foreshank and visa-versa.

Pastrami is regularly prepared also from plate primal cuts.

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