Discussion in 'Beef' started by kc5tpy, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Your Costco is expensive, they were selling prime packers for 4/lb last I checked, but they were all pretty sorry, not even.
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    My Costco only sells flats. I had to go to a butcher shop to get a packer (and it was only a choice).
  3. Bummer,   Kinda like not being able to find Fresh Pork Bellies around here

  4. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Costco jacked their pork ribs and butt prices up by 40% two weeks ago.  WTF????  Why would they do this?
  5. Have you tried beef shoulder clods?  They're pretty good and maybe they'd be cheaper than brisket.  I can get them at smart and final for less than $4/lb.  They are select though.  
  6. aggie94

    aggie94 Smoking Fanatic

    I have never seen clods but listening to the old guys that ran the meat markets/barbecue shops in Lockhart the clods

    use to be real popular long ago.  From what they said brisket wasn't very popular back then.
  7. smocan

    smocan Fire Starter

    Brisket was regarded as UN eatable and that's why Cowboys used to cook it. You would put it on smoke early in the morning go do cowboy work all day and after 12-16hrs come back to camp and it was tender. It was a cut that most merchants couldn't sell. In K.C. Back in the day "burnt ends" were given away for free because they were deemed inferior. Now I think theyre the best thing going in bbq, personally.
  8. Here is an article Published in Texas Monthly Magazine by Daniel Vaughn    NOT MINE !!





    What you know about the history of smoked brisket in Texas is probably wrong. People have been eating brisket since the first pits were dug in the earth, but only by a sort of default: it was standard practice to cook whole animals for the big community celebrations, which means people ate that cut of meat as part of a smoked-meat meal where all the various cuts were served. These days, smoked brisket on its own is widely considered the king of the Texas barbecue menu, but it hasn’t always been that way, and contrary to some bold claims by certain barbecue joints, it didn’t start with Central Texas meat markets.

    Black’s BBQ in Lockhart credits themselves with being the first to use briskets exclusively on their barbecue menu. That was in the late fifties. By the sixties the beef purveyor IBP was shipping individual beef cuts in boxes, and the tradition of working with half carcasses saw a swift decline. It wasn’t until then that most of the barbecue joints around the state started adopting this inexpensive cut of meat. Joe Capello of City Market in Luling remembers when they would separate the forequarter away from the carcasses. The rib section and the sirloin would make it into the raw meat cases while the entirety of the front of the animal–the cross-cut chuck–would be separated and smoked. Back in those days you didn’t ask for brisket or clod at these Central Texas meat markets. As Capello explains, “Customers would just come in and ask for beef. If they wanted it fatty we’d give them the brisket. If they wanted lean then we’d do the shoulder clod.” The menu at Smitty’s Market in Lockhart is reminder of those options. “Lean” means shoulder clod and “Fat” means brisket.

    Smitty’s Market menu

    Allen Prine up in Wichita Falls remembers it the same way. His grandfather Harold Prine Sr. opened Prine’s Market in 1925. They sold hams and beef, but not specifically brisket. They would just get the whole forequarter and butcher it themselves. “We’d cut these big these big 110-pound pieces into about eleven different shaped pieces. We cooked them all exactly like we do the briskets now.” He doesn’t remember serving brisket on its own until about thirty years ago when they started ordering cryovaced ones. “It’s always been that way since.”

    Two things came together to create the brisket we know today. The Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications  (IMPS) for beef were first published in 1958, and boxed beef came onto the market in 1965. IMPS was a guide used in contracts for large meat purchases to ensure the buyer (read: at first, primarily the military) could get a predictable product when they ordered a thousand chuck rolls. These same specs are followed by meat packing plants for retail cuts, and customers as small as mom-and-pop barbecue joints order their meat based on IMPS. Whether they know it or not, that whole boneless brisket is really IMPS item #120. I wanted to know how much differently cattle were butchered before IMPS. Did briskets in the twenties look like they do today? I needed an expert.

    Steve Olson separating the brisket from the forequarter in a NAMP video

    Steve Olson is a cattle rancher in upstate New York, but he worked for USDA for decades. When he started his government job they needed someone to overhaul IMPS in 1983, and as he puts it “I was a lousy writer” and the specs didn’t require any flowery language. He took to the task. Today you can find him and his Jersey accent starring in the meat cutting videos provided by NAMP. I asked him to surmise how Texas meat markets might have cut a brisket from the forequarter. He said the location of the cross cut used today that creates the top edge of the brisket is probably where they cut it back then too. The end of the sternum where the brisket cut begins is what he called a “landmark” for meat cutters back before IMPS. But it would probably have been smoked with the bones still attached. It wasn’t until the mid-seventies when boneless briskets became standard. Steve traveled with some cryovac reps then as “they were trying to get the industry to make everything boneless so the cryovac wouldn’t leak.” Now you can’t find a bone-in brisket.

    I’m not sure what the briskets looked like back in the early twentieth century, but the earliest mention I can find of smoked brisket isn’t from the fifties, and it wasn’t at a barbecue joint. Rather it is from newspaper advertisements from two grocery stores in 1910. Naud Burnett in Greenville and Watson’s Grocery in El Paso were both serving smoked brisket from their deli counter along with other traditionally Jewish food items like smoked white fish and Kosher sausage. I’m not certain of the religion of these grocers, but their menu is geared toward a Jewish clientele.

    A few years later in 1916 the Weil Brothers in Corpus Christi advertised their smoked brisket. The store was owned by Alex and Moise Weil. Their father Charles Weil was a Jew who emigrated to Texas from Alsace, France, in 1867. Pastrami (cured and smoked brisket) is a common item on Jewish menus, but in their store they sold pastrami (pastromie in the ad) along with smoked brisket. It probably wasn’t served hot on butcher paper like the Central Texas meat markets, but those meat markets wouldn’t be listing brisket on their menu for another forty years. 

    If you know the requirements of Kosher food, it makes sense that Jewish immigrants would be the first ones to smoke specifically brisket in the States. The hind quarter of beef isn’t Kosher unless the sciatic nerve is removed, and that is rarely done by butchers. That leaves the forequarter including the brisket, which is revered as the  cut of meat to enjoy for Passover. Evidently, it was also popular enough for the smoked version to make it into Jewish grocery stores in Texas long before it became the darling of our barbecue joints.
  9. My brand new Costco does not sell packers and will not order it for me. All their other meat looks great. Much better than SAMS.
  10. Sometimes when the fat cap is too thin, I smoke beef bacon above it so it gets a constant drip of fat!. That helps too.


    Hampton, VA
  11. texasslowsmoker

    texasslowsmoker Fire Starter

    So the general agreement of SMF is that you can't get the same tender juicy brisket from a flat only cook vs whole packer?
  12. Hello.  OH NO!  Yes I live in England but born and raised 41 yrs. in so. Tx. before I moved here.  I see where you are going here my Texas Brother.  What I THINK we are saying ( what I am saying ) is that for new folks trying their FIRST or second brisket they MAY have more luck trying a packer versus a flat.  If "you got skills, then all bets are off.  Not trying to teach Grandma to suck eggs.  I started this thread to try to find out why some folks can smoke a brisket easily and others just seem to have NO luck.  Also to try and help folks having trouble.  Been smoking brisket a while; so could I produce a GOOD smoked flat?  [​IMG]   I'd like to think so.  Personally;  I would not waste my time with a flat.  Just a personal preference.  If you like them and have good luck with them then WELL DONE!  For my taste I think the fat on the point adds flavor.  I use no rubs.  I use no "BBQ sauce".  S&P ( well, maybe sometimes cayenne pepper )!  The flavor of the meat and smoke MUST stand on it's own IMHO.  YES!  I am still working on my first heart attack.  If you have the skills and LIKE rubs and sauces and can make a good flat, then GO FOR IT!  To each his own.  Nothing wrong there.  I am not trying to promote my way.  Trying to help others out.  Have FUN!  Keep Smokin!

  13. texasslowsmoker

    texasslowsmoker Fire Starter

    Right on brother, I read the entire thread. I've only ever done whole packers, but this weekend I'm cooking a rather large one and had been debating on splitting and cooking individually (partially for time and partially because of my smoker size), but not at the risk of a lowered quality of the end product.
  14. HEY!  If you are sure about what you are doing then splitting is an option.  What I would do ( not that you asked ) is cut that packer in half.  Do you NEED that much meat for this function?  Freeze the other half.  That way you get to smoke TWO briskets!  BONUS!! I shouldn't say it on a smoking site but many times I half the brisket.  Then half one piece.  I smoke the half and then BRAISE the other pieces.  OH! MAN!  Fall apart braised brisket??  FANTASTIC!  I am going to try smoking it for a time and THEN braising it in the oven.  On the "to do list".  Just an idea.  Have FUN!  Keep Smokin!

  15. texasslowsmoker

    texasslowsmoker Fire Starter

    I'm intrigued! When you say you half it, how do you mean? I definitely don't need 15lbs of brisket, as I'm only cooking for my family. Wife and 2 kids, as my youngest is still on the bottle. She may get a few bites of the tater salad. :)
  16. Hello. Rectangle.   Longer than wider .  As you look down at a packer.  In your case  I would cut in thirds length wise.  Just "whack" it up into 3 equalish " size pieces,  Cook one and freeze the rest.  OR smoke it all and then cut and freeze.  Or smoke two and oven cook one.  OR-  And so on.  For ME I would save a piece for low and slow oven cooking.  Brown all sides WELL, S&P, throw in a half onion cut in chunks, big chunks of celery, big chunks of carrot, Chilli peppers if you like them.   Add liquid.  And then braise low and slow in the oven.  OR! Smoke the piece of brisket for maybe 1-2 hours and then continue as above.  Keep Smokin!

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  17. jcbigler

    jcbigler Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I've been smoking brisket since I was about 12. I don't think I have ever once cut the flat and point apart. Don't think I've ever even thought about it until I started reading up on BBQ and smoking a few years ago. I know that's how most of the restaurants around here cook theirs. And I think it really affects the over all flavor and texture of the brisket. I prefer them smoked whole. 

    I just don't think I could bring myself to do it. 
  18. texasslowsmoker

    texasslowsmoker Fire Starter

    it's not going to be without great sadness. This beaut is 15 lbs.
  19. jcbigler

    jcbigler Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    That looks like a nice brisket [​IMG]

    Saw a 19.5lb one at Wal-Mart the other day. And at only $2.96/lb I would have bought it if I didn't already have one in the freezer waiting to be smoked. 
  20. smokinnewb9085

    smokinnewb9085 Fire Starter

    Heyllo, attempting a brisket this weekend, new to smoking..just started using a homemade smoke shed, failed miserably at summer sausage the other day. Turned out like meatloaf. My smoker holds 180 to 200 degrees steady its lp powered n I burn applewood in a seperate pan. Any tips on not meeting my demise on a brisket. Ive grilled at least fifty over charcoal in my old grill..I figured if I could grill I could smoke too lol...but it seems to be a different ballpark

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