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Apr 15, 2007 10:05 AM

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.