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Whole brisket

A post last month noted the passing of P&F Meat Market Inc. in Wheaton. I grew to really love this place because they sold big 10-15 lb. whole briskets, the kind used for Texas barbecue (as opposed to the ``first cut'' briskets commonly found in supermarket meat sections.)

The people next door to P&F said they had moved to a new location. I can't find it anywhere & the old phone number, as noted in last month's post, has been disconnected with no forwarding info.

Question: Does anyone know a good source for whole brisket? I guess it could be any specialty meat store that sells more than just the usual sirloin or ribeye. I used to get whole briskets at Wagschal's on Mass. Ave. but they stopped carrying them. Also used to special order it from my local Giant but they stopped as well. Kosher marts carry them but at $8.99 a pound, a full brisket can cost well over $100. (P&F charged the wholesale price, a real bargain.)

Any leads (or if anyone knows whether P&F is open somewhere else under some other name) would be appreciated.

Dan. F

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  1. I wish! I can only add that I got one at Magruder's a couple of years ago and thought I had the problem solved, then they couldn't help me out when I went back a few months later.

    This is especially frustrating because I moved up here from Texas, where whole briskets are piled up in every grocery store the way you see country hams in the stores in Virginia.

    1. Sysco Foods ( the big restaurant wholesaler) has a retail outlet store which is open to the public on Rt 1 in Jessup. I know they always have whole briskets...and you'll pay about $2.50 .lb. They have lots of good stuff usually available to restaurants but hard to get in Supermarkets.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MDicecreamguy

        Just left Sysco on Washington Blvd in Elkridge...beef brisket $1.89 lb
        Big hunk of meat with lots of fat (cryovac'd)

        1. re: Hue

          Well, the search for the holy grail (my version) is over, thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions here. Went to Sysco over the weekend. Brisket was as described, the real deal, first cut plus ``deckle'' (deckel?), the tender mound at the end. Would've checked out El Grande but Sysco is closer to me in MD. Will save EG as Plan B in case Sysco discontinues (altho checkout guy says they always have it.) Saw nice-looking top round, also in cyovac, for $2.09 a pound. Decent amount of fat on it (on one side, at least). Wonder what that would be like after 12-18 hours in a smoker. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

          1. re: dan f.

            The fats on top, but not inside. It'll get dried out on the smoker. It'll work for pit beef, though. Cook it direct over the fire, and don't let it go much past rare. Slice very thin with a deli slicer.

            1. re: Jason1

              Thanks! I'll try this sometime, for sure. Would you keep the grill lid on or off while cooking the pit beef?

              1. re: dan f.

                I'd leave the top off if you're doing this on a Weber kettle. I've done pit beef using eye of round cooked rare in my kamado, (salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper) but the coals are a good two-feet from the meat. If you've got a water smoker, just remove the water pan and cook over two full chimneys of charcoal. Pull at an internal temp of 140, slather with horseradish mayo and raw onion on a kaiser roll.

      2. I don't know if they have it, but my first thought on queries of this kind is to call Union Meat Company in Eastern Market. Another option (probably out of your way) might be the Laurel Meat Market.

        1. I just checked the Restaurant Depot (Alexandria) web site and they have several listings for brisket, only one being more than two bucks a pound. Nothing about sizes, but I'm pretty sure I've seen the full armful size there. You need a membership card to buy at Restaurant Depot, but it's free and not difficult to qualify. If you have a business (doesn't everybody?) or maybe your church or some charitable organization you work with will give you a letter authorizing you to purchase goods for their events.

          8 Replies
          1. re: MikeR

            These are all worthwhile suggestions. I'll investigate further and report back any findings. Antepiedmont, you and I are in the same boat, sort of. (We moved up here 20 years ago after spending 5 years in Texas). Some years ago I went over to Eastern Market and neither Union meat market nor the other main butcher there (Canales, I think) had it.
            If anyone else has any other ideas, bring them on, please.

            1. re: dan f.

              order one to two weeks in advance from the Amish Market in Burtonsville Md. I order at least one whole brisket every summer.

              1. re: cabrahamso

                That's kind of amazing . . . I went there a few years ago, Beiler's I think it's called, and they told me all their brisket comes cryo-vac from Witchita and they don't do special orders. Things must've changed. Thanks for the tip on this.

            2. re: MikeR

              can anyone shop at the restaurant depot? I've gone in to sign up and they wanted a tax ID what ever that is.

              BTW, I was at El Grande and they had cryo vac brisket (whole) for about $2 per pound.

              1. re: Soup

                A tax ID is a license to collect sales tax. But a business license will do. In general not "everyone" can buy at Restaurant Depot, but if you're creative, you can get a card.

                The deal at El Grande sounds reasonable.

                1. re: MikeR

                  I hadn't heard of El Grande & just Googled them. Are they any place else in D.C. area besides Springfield?

                  1. re: dan f.

                    El Grande is owned by the same people that own Grand Mart. I'm not sure of the MD side but in virginia, Grand Mart is located near duke and 395 and on Rt. 50 near 7 corners. However, the biggest and the cleanest is El Grande on Backlick in sprinfield.

                    1. re: dan f.

                      I can vouch for El Grande in Springfield. After dealing with poorly trimmed (i.e., zero fat cap) briskets, I scored an 16 lb full brisket (point and flat) at El Grande for $1.89 a pound. 18 hours on the WSM smoker and it was fall-apart tender. While their meat department isn't as large and varied as Super H, their deals on slow-cook cuts (beef shortribs, pork spareribs, etc) are much better than the chain groceries. Their leaner cuts (whole ribeyes, sirloins, etc) are competitively priced as well.

              2. I finally went into the little Korean carniceria that I have been driving past for two years and sure enough, they have whole briskets, $3-4/lb. Can't believe it did not occur to me sooner. I have bought three of them this summer and now the guy recognizes me when I come in and waves me back to the walk-in where I can pick my choice out of a case or two of packer-trimmed briskets.

                2 Replies
                1. re: antepiedmont

                  This is amazing news. Where is this place???

                  1. re: dan f.

                    It is in Gainesville where Linton Hall Rd deadends into the Lee Highway, but its brothers are all over the place -- usually a nondescript storefront in an old strip mall in an immigrant neighborhood. The place in Gainesville is unusual for its location practically on top of a big new strip-mall complex. The price will be higher than in a big immigrant grocery like El Grande (see monkey, above) but it saves a lot of driving and boy is that guy glad to see me.

                2. My Butcher and More in Gambrills/Crofton currently lists



                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tfbrennan

                    Good to know, thanks. Can't have too many of these places in the DC area.

                    1. re: tfbrennan

                      i second this place. it is the only place i buy meat. the butcher is a cia grad and one of his butchers is in culinary school now. they know their meat and provide excellent cooking tips, too. also, you can call them and ask for something - if they don't have it, they try to get it. and they sell organic.

                    2. I normally get my whole briskets at Sams Club. I don't recall the exact price, but I think they are about $2 per pound. They are normally nice pieces, that smoke just fine (12 hours in my Webber Smoker--Yum).

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: pgreen

                        It's good to know that there are so many sources for whole briskets (and I'll probably use one here in the next few days as I 'meat up' for a BBQ for 30 next weekend), but unless you like burnt ends/chopped brisket, I'd argue that a flat will serve you just fine as long as it has a fat cap. Properly selected and prepared, they DO NOT dry out in a smoker -- in fact, most competition briskets are just flats.

                        For convenience's sake, I buy my flats at Shopper's. They usually have several of them sitting around in a cryo packs, but the prices are nowhere near as good as what I'm seeing here.

                        1. re: Frobozz

                          ...and, thanks to this thread, I stopped by a recently opened Hispanic grocery in Alexandria: The Bestway store a couple of blocks south of the Beltway on Telegraph Road. I think it used to be an arts/crafts store, but the entire interior has been refinished and it's a nice, clean store. They had half a dozen whole briskets in the meat case along with some really nice pork (although the ribs weren't so hot -- nice pork butts and shoulders though, and amazing chops). The stunner was the seafood case. Lots of very fresh-looking seafood in ice, including great-looking shrimp and some wonderful-looking red snapper, among other fish. Good-looking whole briskets in cryo-packs were $1.99/pound.

                          1. re: Frobozz

                            I've been meaning to try this place out. It's much closer than El Grande in Springfield. Although, El Grande seems to be one of the few places that carries pompano.

                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                              The Bestway in Alexandria, Falls Church , Silver Spring, Hyattsville & Herndon usually carry White, Silver and Golden Pompano

                            2. re: Frobozz

                              I have to agree with this post about Bestway on Telegraph Rd. Think its exit 7a off 495. It has a big sign that hard to miss off the exit. This store has exotic fish like Barracuda.

                              Meat prices are rock bottom.

                              1. re: EthnicFood

                                Be careful around their frozen seafood section. I almost picked up some baby octopus that had a Best If Used Before date that was a month-and-a-half old.

                                They also have large pillow packs of frozen crawfish in the shell.

                                1. re: EthnicFood

                                  I just realized that there's a Bestway near me, in the shopping center at Arlington Blvd and Graham Road, around the corner from DC Sandwich. I've never been in there. I should do at least a little window shopping next time I pass there. I get their flyers in the mail every few weeks, mostly in Spanish, so I guess I know in general what to expect.

                            3. re: pgreen

                              You are talking about flats, or "first cut" or "navel end" brisket. A whole brisket includes that piece plus the deckle or point end, which is highly prized by many. A whole brisket is too big to fit in a Weber smoker.

                              My very favorite slices from a barbecued brisket are where the flat starts to go under the point muscle. The slic is still of a uniform texture, like the slices from the flat end, but the vein of fat between the two layers is still close to the surface and picks up a lot of smoke flavor and seasoning from the rub. It also bastes the meat underneath for an amazing, melting juicy texture.

                              1. re: antepiedmont

                                Ahem. No, most people here are talking about whole briskets. That's the point (unintentional pun) of this thread -- they can be hard to find in this area. And most of them under, say, 12 pounds probably will fit in a Weber smoker. You can always curl under one end if it won't fit...once it shrinks a bit in cooking, it'll fit anyway.

                                1. re: Frobozz

                                  Two 13 pound whole briskets in my Weber Smokey Mountain. So yes, it can be done.


                            4. Actually smoked a brisket I bought at Sysco in Elkridge, MD (close to Jessup on Rt. 1, only about 15-20 minutes or so from where the Beltway joins up with I-95). 12.3 lbs for $23 and change @ $1.89 a pound. Smoked up nicely, was a big hit with guests . . . Texas butcher-paper quality meat (IMHO). Another Chowhound success story; wouldn't have known about this place absent posting here.

                              1. You might try contacting Snyders Market, Silver Spring, Maryland.

                                It's right near the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Seminary Road, just inside the Beltway.

                                Not sure about "whole" brisket or price, but my mother has bought brisket there for probably 30 years or more. The meat there has always been very good.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: MDBBQFiend

                                  I've never seen whole briskets in 30+ years at Snider's, although I'm sure they can arrange it by special request. And many times, they don't have any briskets. When they do, they're typically flats around $5/lb. Around certain Jewish holidays, they're flush with cry-o-vacs, usually at a sale price of around $3.49/lb.

                                  The Magruder's stores I've been in have whole briskets (cry-o-vac) everyday for around $2.99/lb.

                                  1. re: tubman

                                    I asked Snider's about whole briskets awhile ago and they kind of blew me off, gave me a ``what you see is what you get'' response. The cry-o-vac flats, as noted by Tubman, are good for Jewish holiday dinners but are not on par with full brisket for bbq. For Marylanders, Sysco at this point is hard to beat in terms of quality, price, location.

                                2. I think I saw some at Grand Mart in Centerville today. THe place is worth a visit anyway, they have an awesome selection of fresh meats and stuff.

                                  1. P&F Meat Market has moved to 3904 Ironwood Place, Landover, MD 20785. Phone: 301-773-4009

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Sausagemaker

                                      Wow! I'm seeing this for the first time (only 3 months late). Do they have the same whole brisket at bargain-basement price?

                                      I felt like Sysco was a bit of a shlep for me and had settled on my local Latino grocer-butcher who has good-size whole slabs of short rib for something like $3.49 a pound. But a trip to Landover (as long as it's not a Redskins Sunday) would be a little more reasonable.

                                    2. heartbrandbeef is some of the best quality and they are $60


                                      1. i get them from super wal-mart, bjs, costco