Quality of Brisket concerning purchase

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
OTBS Member
Feb 6, 2006

So I normally pay around $3.00 per pound for brisket at two different butcher shops. This is for choice packers cut (point/flat/fat cap). I went with a friend to Sam's club out of curiosity and they had choice for $1.58 per pound.

So they both are choice cut, not on sale. Is there any difference in quality? Anyone buy from Sam's club?


Once it's marked I don't think they could reclassifiy it without the USDA approval!

I haven't bought briskets from them that only had little ones went I went but they're ribs and chops were really nice. I got double packs of ribs for the same price I pay at WalMart for the same price.
I have bought many a briskets at Sams Club, mostly 7-9 pound flats with a bit of the point still on. Some have been great, others not so much.....I think it's hit or miss with them. Also when buying a brisket look for a nice WHITE fat cap, not yellowish...means it's old. Also balance the brisket in the middle of your hand, you want it to have bend (flexability) to it.

As far as choice being all the same, maybe not. Alot depends on what that "choice cow ate while he was alive.....allways better to have a cow that was grain fed verses grass fed.
I've bought several briskets from SAM's. I've had varied results also. May be the cow, might have been something else (aka Me). I've also read that the left side of the cow puts out a more tender brisket... can't say for sure if it's true or not. Also can't keep it straight in my head which way the point should turn when coming off the left side. But for the price difference I'd say go for it (unless you're wanting them for competitions).. while you're there get some ribs too.

Keep Smokin
Why would it matter which side it comes from ??
hey pigcicles maybe that depends on wether the cow was left handed or right handed like us , a right handed person is more developed on the right hand side, which would mean more muscle less fat on the favoured side.need to find out from the butcher which hand the cow waved with as it was leaving the farm.
all jokes aside cows do favour one side when they are in a laying position so mabe this has some thing to do with it . there would be less circulation on the side they lay on
Local grocery stores sellen whole brisket for 4-5$ ,Sams is 1.60-70. Have never tried the high dollar ones, both same grade.I did get box of 5 briskets at a local wholesale market last summer for 1.38/#, my girls really liked them.
Problem i have is i don't like brisket that well, don't matter who cooks it, i could eat pork butt every day and the girls could eat brisket everyday.
Yeah yeah.. funny stuff... I didn't make that statement as gospel truth and I did state that I didn't know if it was true or not... maybe (just maybe) there's some truth to it, or at least some room for debate... look at the fat cap up or down debates... If you think it needs aired out in the pasture then be careful enough not to step in it.

But still it boils back to the question of quality and price... if you don't want to pay $3/ lb then check out Sam's for quality vs. price
So I'm reading through this thread and chuckling to myself......through the years I have heard the same left sided brisket story and have wondered if it was internet BBQ lore (there's alot of it
) or if there was actually somthing to it. I came across this story and decided to share it because it made me get to chuckling again....I can almost get a mental image of these good ole boys sitting around getting well watered and this gut thinking to himself let me really yank there chains.....or is he????

Just remember, YOU asked for it!
A few year back at the Texas State Finals, lovingly know as the "Meridian", several of us early birds would arrive on Thursday to get in line for the first come first serve pick of the best cook sites, to chosen on Friday.
Thursday night was devoted to serious drinking hoping to pry secret tips out of other cooks.
One of the better cooks there was ole Connie Baker of team "Li'l Pit Of Heaven". He was throwing back quite a few of those Mexican beers with a chunk of lime stuck in the neck of the bottle.
Connie had so many of them lime aid beers that he was starting to smile with a pucker. As a matter of fact some of the strangers started to scook away and look at him kind of funny.
This was when I figured that ole Connie was ripe for the prying of secrets. One of us asked him how come his brisket was so tender and always placed in the top three.
I thought to myself, boy oh boy, if loose lips sink ships then Ole Connie is going down tonight. All got quiet as he stuffed another lime in a long neck and said that he only cooks left handed briskets.
He explained that most, but not all, steers rest on their left side, which means when they get up they have to push harder with their right legs.
At this point about half of the bunch mummered something to the effect of Bull Hockey and went back to their 4 or 5 different conversations.
A few of us noticed that ole Connie wasn't smirking. Hmmm, was he onto something? Two or three of us moved closer and I told him you can't stop there. What does pushing up with their right legs have to do with the left brisket.
Ole Connie stuffed another lime and told us that when they push up with the right legs it flexes the right brisket muscle more so than the left. Therefore the right handed brisket will be tougher and less marbled than the left, not always but usually.
Most everyone had written Connie off as a bull sheeter and not paying much attention to me and Connie. I had to know more and asked him how the heck do you tell a left handed brisket from the right.
As expected he stuffed another lime and I mixed another Makers. He then told me that with the fat side down, on a left handed brisket, the point will curve to the right.
Saturday awards time rolled around and Connie took 1st brisket and Grand Champ over 180+ of the best cooks in Texas. His next stop was gonna be the American Royal.
I think that I came in 19th with my right handed brisket. I just could not get this left handed brisket thing off my mind. When we got home Sunday afternoon I stopped to look at the cows. Four were laying down and 3 were on their left side.
Welp, I have been raising a few head of cattle for 24 years and this got me to thinking about what ole Connie had spilled out to us that night. I phoned the kin folk in LaGrange, Texas and told them the story and asked if they would check out their herd.
Yep, you guessed it. Only 3 out of 37 consistently rested on their right side.
Dangnation, Connie has got it going big time. I went to 5 different grocery stores and flexed briskets to see which sides were more limber and which ones were more marbled.
I have found that there are exceptions to every rule. There are some right handed briskets that are more limber and marbled than the lefties but for the most part I find that the majority of the best pick comes from the left handed pile of briskets.
Another exception to the rule is that you can find a Prime Grade quality brisket that is marked Select and a Select grade marked Choice.
My rule of thumb is Flexibility and Marbleing. Evenness on the flat end is a plus. I'm going to inspect the lefties before I move on to the right handed ones.
Welp, there it is folks. Take it or leave it. As Jack used to say in the 1950's Drag Net T-V Detective Show, "only the facts mam". Shingleman
Sometimes I buy briskets from Sams and sometimes I get them from a wholesaler. While both may be USDA grade choice, IMHO the better briskets come from the wholesaler. They seem to be more even and not so fat. They cost a little more, but they are worth it. There is not as much waste in the end, I can choose the weight of briskets that I want, and also choose the USDA grade. There is a reason why grocery store chains and Sams can sell their briskets cheaper. Part of it is a drawing card, but part of it is quality. They sell you a USDA choice brisket, but it probably came from a yield grade 4 (FAT) carcass, where as the ones I but from a wholesaler come from a yield grade 2(less fat) carcass. I try to stay around that 10 lb mark and sure do not want to cook one of those 14-16 pounders that was on sale for .88/lb.
I hate to admit it but I buy brisket at Sam's almost exclusively. Well unless HEB has them on sale for 90 cents again that is. You can't beat the price and I have never had a bad one. But I always pick the most flexible one to start with, and usually I'm making corned beef, pastrami or slicing jerky. I just pulled a corned beef from a 4 hour simmer last night and it's the best I've made yet. The brisket was from Sam's at $1.50 a pound I'm too cheap to buy anywhere else.
He then told me that with the fat side down, on a left handed brisket, the point will curve to the right.

At the risk of biting the hook, you have to tell me which end of the brisket are you looking at it from? Do you mean the fat cap is flat on the table or the fat narrow side is? are you standing on the thick end or at the tip? Call me a sucker, this may be a bull story but it has a certain ring of truth to it too.
Wheteher one believes it or not! ... that is a great story

Here in Ontario ... we are at the mercy of the butcher ... no selection at all at any store here ... just hasn't caught on yet!
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