Next round with Brisket. What a difference there is between Select and Choice (qview)

Discussion in 'Beef' started by catz-cradle, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. catz-cradle

    catz-cradle Newbie

    Last month I posted pix of the 3 USDA choice Briskets I smoked in my MES.  They were amazing.  Last weekend I had another three to do, and was a bit disappointed that I couldn't find the Choice level I had found last month, as Smart and Final only had Select.  Good price at $2.19/lb, but I'd of rather had the 2.99/lb for the choice I had before.  Well, I was running out of options so I bought the select.  Same smoking method.  Flats seperated before smoking, and went for about 12 hrs to about 197 before pulling and wrapping.  Points went in at the half-way mark and went for 6.5 hrs.  Wrapped, cubed, and back in for another 2 hrs for the burnt ends with some bbq, extra rub, and some of the drippings from the smoke. 

    Well, the leaner flats were a tad dry, and definatly not nearly as tender as the choice packers I had last month.  I sliced them, ladeled a few cups of the drippings broth, and it helped immensly, but was still not as good.  The burnt ends still came out great, due to the higher fat content of the points, but I'll be avoiding Select packers from now on I believe.


  2. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks good Catz,

    I've found all briskets are different.I've smoked some very nice Angus briskets and they were tough, even after 15 hrs. I've also smoked Excel briskets and had the most tender and flavorful beef ever. And vise verse.

    From my experience, they are all different. And I have learned not to go by temp.

    I use the toothpick test, Some are done at IT of 189º and some were at 214º IT and were tough.

    But I will say that the best brisket 80% of the time will be smoked as the whole packer.

    Just my 2¢, Hope this helps[​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  3. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is a great thread guys. Let's keep it going!!
  4. catz-cradle

    catz-cradle Newbie

    I'll try that test next time, usually I double check the temp with my dial therm, and I can usually tell by that if they are tender.  I wish I could fit the whole packer on those tiny racks :)  What I've done lately is I put an extra drip pan under the flats to catch the liquid and use that for adding moistness later when I wrap and cut.  Someday I may graduate to a bigger system that gives a better smoke ring, but if I follow the MES directions, I'm getting a lot of smoke flavor even if I get very little ring.

    I did read someone who said to test the briskets in the wrapper by trying to bend them.  The more flexible, the better.  I am glad to know that there can be that much variation, it was just a dissapointment when the first trio was just spoon tender, and these require a bit of chew.  However, I'm feeding about 50 or so Model Shop guys, so they'll be happy regardless.  And three points worth of burnt ends will be gone within minutes if my last event was any indicator :)

  5. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've tried the "bend test" and it seems to work.

    It does s**k when you think you have it all timed out and can't duplicate it again.

    I've spent a lot of $$$ at comps to figure out...................... a brisket is done,when it's done!
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I agree with Rap on the toothpick test.

    I've had the same experience.

    Some are done at a lower temp than others.
  7. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The Grades assigned are Prime, usually going to restaurants, Choice and Select. There are others but you won't see them in the stores. They are based on several factors but the main grading determination is made by the amount of Marbling, fat content within the muscle. Prime has the highest amount of marbling and Choice has less with Select having the least. Price is highest with Prime and so on. Certified Black Angus comes from that breed of animal and usually is raised to fall somewhere between Choice and Prime. Of course this is within a perfect world and I can personally attest that I have purchased Select Rib Eye Roasts that would absolutely melt in your mouth and have had the much more expense Black Angus that was just OK. I hope this helps...JJ

    BTW...If you want a guaranteed awsome Brisket...You can pickup Kobe Wagyu A5 grade at about $100.00 per pound. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  9. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    What is the "toothpick test" ????????
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you need a TOOTHPICK to dig the Brisket out of your TEETH, it ain't Done!!!!

    No, just kidding...With practice, you can feel how tender and done your Brisket is by the ease with which the Toothpick penetrates the meat...JJ
  11. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    [quote name="Chef JimmyJ" url="/forum/thread/110356/next-round-with-brisket-what-a-difference-there-is-between-select-and-choice-qview#post_678734"]
    If you need a TOOTHPICK to dig the Brisket out of your TEETH, it ain't Done!!!!

    No, just kidding...With practice, you can feel how tender and done your Brisket is by the ease with which the Toothpick penetrates the meat...JJ
    that funny :biggrin:

    Thanks for info. Will try that on next brisket .
    I learn something new everyday on here
  12. catzcradle

    catzcradle ImpEx - Users Awaiting Email Confirmation

    Well, well, the brisket was served today at work for lunch.  We reheated in the oven for an hour at about 300.  This is of course after I had put about 3-4 cups of the de-fatted drippings over the  20lbs+ of sliced brisket and foiled it over to cool, and then chilled in the fridge till today.

    All the worries melted away as the meat was perfectly fork tender, and the only part of the lunch that disappeared faster was the burnt ends, though I expected that :)  And while I served it with a big mason jar of a modified Jeff's BBQ sauce, the sauce was barely touched.  Those drippings were just heaven itself.

    So here's to more smokey goodness, but damned, no leftovers.  (cept the yummy bbq sauce)
  13. If not yet tender, is the right answer just more time, and/or a higher internal temp, and/or cranking up the cooking temp?  Is it always safe to wait for the tender moment, or is there risk that some briskets just won't tender up, and too much time and/or heat will just make matters worse?

    I owe a newbie qview, but I recently did 2 Safeway "select" briskets. In a steady 220-225 WSM, I foiled at 165-172 IT (at various points in the meat), then went into a 250 oven until 187-199 IT, and then rested for 2 hours. The "selects" came out far better than I would have imagined. I'm sold that choice would be better, but convinced life is still good with select.

  14. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Congrats Catz, 

    Sounds like you did a fine job [​IMG]

    Did you happen to get us some Qview?
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The answer is...YES...To your first question...More Time, most likely... Higher IT, up to 190ish, foiling as desired... Crank up the Cooking Temp, not necessarily...If you are using an Accurate Thermometer, measuring Temp at the cooking Surface and all else is good...Let it ride!

    Things Can and Do go wrong even following time tested procedure. As you are here, you are educating your self, make your plan, stick to it and 99% of the time Great Q will happen.

    As I and others mentioned, you can get very good results with Select...Grass Fed Beef and Bison rarely have high Marbling but make great Q.

    Your procedure for Brisket is A GOOD ONE and short of a sample, trust it was EXCELLENT! Keep up the good work and get the PICS posted...JJ
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  16. uhmgood

    uhmgood Smoke Blower

    yo catz , i have a MES30 and the only question i have is how do you get that bark , mine never come out looking like that
  17. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Chef JJ I agree with your first like you nailed the brisket....
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  18. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would add to JJ's comment which was right on.  The grading involves many factors, but the marble and the estimated age at slaughter are the main factors.  These grades have moved all over the landscape over the years.  What we now call "Select" was once graded as "Good".  The "Good" grade of meat was so good that it was mostly sold to schools, prisons, the military, and budget minded shoppers.  LOL  Select is an important grade to note, as most supermarket meat is select. Select has been promoted more as the people have been programmed to expect leaner beef.  If they sell Choice, they usually proudly mark it as such, along with the price they are happy to receive.  Prime was once very hard to find.  Only about 1 to 2% of carcasses will grade prime because it is more expensive to raise prime beef, and our beef comes from an industry.  Prime was once available mostly to fine restaurants which consumed nearly all of it.  Because of the economic downturn and its effect on the hospitality industry, some prime meat is now available at Costco and some upscale meat markets.  You will look long and hard to find prime in a supermarket.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  19. You're saying it's best when you cook a packer without separating it, or by buying a packer you are guaranteed the two pieces belong to each other?
  20. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Packers will remove the Points and grind them, they are a bit small and not recognized by the average consumer even though they are tasty.  The Flats get a complete removal of fat and either go to processing for Corned Beef or to Stores as Lean Beef Brisket.

    The whole Packer Brisket gives you both and at a better price, Pound for Pound, because there is less Processing at the plant...JJ

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