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selecting a brisket

2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
edited 6:54PM in EggHead Forum
Cindy and I were out grocery shopping yesterday at our super wal-mart and I found them having a packer brisket USDA 14 pounds at $1.86 per pound. I asked what grade of meat the packer is and was told Choice. I was also told be a person who works there in the meat department that a steak is a steak and the grade of meat makes no difference. I smiled and went on my way.

Is there a prime cut for a whole packer brisket because I have not checked into this? :ermm: Tim


  • boehmerboehmer Posts: 23
    that sounds like something a wal-mart employee would say.. i wont buy any meat from there anymore i got some ribs one time and opened the package and they stunk so i tossed them out.
  • On the cryovac plastic, it should say USDA Choice, or USDA Select. At least, they do at the places I shop.

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious

  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    I don't get much meat at wal-mart and I do have to go 40 miles out of town for premium cuts of beef.

    I could not find where it said what grade of meat it was unless the sticker was over that place on the cryovac bag. I will have to look closer next time.

    I did find it humorous and somewhat common for a $5.50 an hour employee to know so much! :lol:
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,171
    Wal-Mart briskets here are almost always select grade.

    There is nothing wrong with a choice brisket. You can get prime, but the price difference may make you change your mind.
  • bullbull Posts: 64
    There are packer briskets called Waygu and they are very expensive.

    Google will be your friend here.
  • DSC03099.jpg

    Sure you can find prime brisket, but it's harder to come by. I don't know how all the packing houses box it, but the cases I get through Sam's are marked "Choice or Higher" .... and once in a blue moon a prime one slips in. (The 9/UP means that that box contains 9 pounders and above)

    Hey, you know we just had a blue moon, maybe I should go to Sam's. Hehehee.
  • ClamClam Posts: 117
    I went to my butcher who is a probably the most respected butcher in this area and he said that there is no such thing as a "prime" brisket"

    I sure would like some clarity as I respect both Fidel"s and Thirdeye's knowledge and opinions, but also my local butchers?
  • There are quality grades and yield grades of beef. Quality grades of beef are based on the amount of marbling in the ribeye and the age of the animal. A quick cut at the 12th rib, and a visual examination by a trained Grader is how it's done. Although grading takes less than a minute per carcass, the entire carcass receives a grade... in other words it's not done on a cut-by-cut basis. There can be some sorting as the primals are broken down.

    So if the carcass receives a prime grade, the brisket gets that grade too.

    Real meatcutters are a dying breed. It's just a fact. Economics play a big factor and they normally get boxed meats to work with. Just for laughs, I'll bet you a nickel your butcher cant' tell a left brisket from a right one.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Thank you. Tim :)
  • ClamClam Posts: 117
    Thanks for the info. Thirdeye. It now makes sense to me. I'm gonna read the info after work today.

    Yes, probably very, very few folks around here could tell the difference between a L and R handed brisket.

    I am thankful to have such a good meat shop (with whole briskets, hanger steaks, etc.) close by.

    Here is a Pic of their cooler, I couldn't do better at the time, but next time I'll use a camera and get in the pic also. Again thank you for sharing your knowledge, it is appreciated.IMG_0054.jpg
  • Keep a good relationship with those folks!
  • CrimsongatorCrimsongator Posts: 5,768
    Tim, the marking on the cryovac should indicate if the packer is choice or prime. The CAB prime briskets I can get have red stampings and the CAB choice are black.

    Here is a picture of another type of CAB prime from a different packing house, it is all black markings.
  • CrimsongatorCrimsongator Posts: 5,768
    Sure you can. All you have to do is look through any case of briskets, it should be evident with little effort which are L and which are R
  • CrimsongatorCrimsongator Posts: 5,768
    This was one of my professors in the animal science dept at Florida. Helped develop the flat iron in cunjunction with Nebraska.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    As long as we are having this dicussion how can I know if the brisket that I am looking at is one I would want to buy and eat?

    Does it have a look like marbling ect...
  • nothing wrong with choice brisket. If you cook it right it will taste good. Wal-Mart in those smaller towns sell briskets and at least around here they are the come from the same packing plant that Sam's Club sells.

    I always go full packer brisket to get burnt ends from the point. I really like the 12-15lb ones.
  • CrimsongatorCrimsongator Posts: 5,768
    You will want to watch the grain in the flat portion of the brisket. It it changes direction, it will be more difficult to slice and be sure you are going across it.

    I would also look for a flat portion that is more uniform in thickness and is actually thick on the smallest end.

    Just a few things that come to mind
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Thanks Gene. :) Tim
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