How do you choose the cut for brisket?

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
May 5, 2007
North Shore - Boston, MA
Hey all,

Still pretty much a newbie, I have had moderate success with pork over the last few months and now I want to try my hand at beef brisket!

I went to BJ's Wholesale Club yesterday to start looking at meat for the weekend. When I got to the meat section I immediately became confused at all of the different cuts of beef. Not one of them was actually labeled "brisket".....some were loin, shoulder, shank etc.

My question is, does brisket go by other names in the supermarket? Also, what is the average range of sizes for a typical brisket? I'm looking to cook for no more than six people on Sunday so I don't want to be buying 10+ lbs. of meat. Can one get a piece of brisket that is only 4-5 lbs. big or is that too small? I don't mind leftovers but I feel like I would be eating them for weeks after if I get something that big.

Thanks all!!
i'm not sure about where you live but wally world is about it here. we usually get a "packer" brisket-thats the meat in a shrink wrap bag. you can tell brisket by the fat side and sheer size of the package,it will say brisket or ask the meat guys. usually a brisket is 10-15lbs unless you get a trimmed cut 1. my advice-get a 12-15lb one, portion & freeze what you don't use.also save the drippings,the sauce goes great on burgers & other stuff.
Look or ask for "Brisket". I never heard of any other name it goes by. Also, don't get one of those "trimmed", piece of a brisket that will weight 2 -3 lbs and be on styrofoam.
it will say brisket on the package. get a packer cut, 8-10lbs. you will not have alot of leftovers. you will lose about 40-50% of the total weight as it cooks. six people can easily eat what there will be after you smoke a 10lb brisket. like was said, do not buy those trimmed ones, on the styrofoam or in the cryovac bag- they come both ways here. get a packer cut. that will be the cheapest brisket you will find, per pound.
I bought one this week at Sobey's Grocery store.(Canadian,eh?)
They advertised it as "pot roast brisket".{if it says corned,don't buy it}
It was a whole one but only 7 lbs. (must of been a young cow)
I smoked it yesterday and it took about 12 hrs.
But,MAN it was worth the wait!
It was my first brisket as well.
Good luck in your hunt.( do you have a butcher in town? If so,go talk to him,he'll be able to help you)

Keep on smokin'!
also try your local meat packers. i have about 5 or 6 local meat packing houses. they have them for about $0.10 more per pound, but they have more to pick from. i think my next brisket will come from one of them.
about the corned briskets. smoke one of them and you have pastrami.
Hey Boston

I just got back from BJ's over in Dartmouth and I picked up a brisket. I was actually surprised to find it. I went in there looking for two racks of baby backs but they were out. I just wanted to give you a heads up and let you know that yes, we do have them up this way, lol. Sunday will be my first brisket smoked. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.