whole brisket! so not worth it...
I've cooked dozens of briskets over the years but today was the first time I used the whole brisket and I was very disappointed. I started with 9 lbs and I am left with maybe 3 edible pounds. The whole "deckle" thing, and the whole point for that matter, is disgustingly fatty (and I love a little fat) and I really feel that I can't serve it. Unfortunately I bought two whole briskets for my seder for 16 on Sunday and I am going to cook the 2nd one tomorrow (saturday) but I am planning to lop the whole point off and just use the first cut. After buying 18 lbs and spending over $70, I going to have to go out and buy yet another piece (just the flat cut this time) so that I will have enough.
Has anybody else had this experience with a whole brisket. Maybe I had an unusually fatty piece but I just don't get why anyone would want to use the whole thing.
Also, Sara Moulton's recipe is a lot of fuss for a pretty bland gravy. I'm really going to have to work on the seasoning. I'm going to use Emeril's Passover Brisket for the one I'm cooking tomorrow.
I periodically buy packer briskets in the 13 lb range. I do cut away a lot of fat depending on how it's going to be cooked but usually the price is much cheaper that I don't mind the waste. The point can be very fatty and difficult to slice since the grain runs different from the flat. I cut this off and slice it separately. It is still very fatty internally but taste wise it's pretty good.
I feel your pain. I love brisket, and to be honest, the first cut (flat cut) sold in the supermarkets out here in L.A. are usually trimmed way too much for my taste -- need that fat for the long, slow cooking. It sounds like you were buying whole briskets for $4 per pound, which is what the flat cuts usually cost at the supers. If I were serving company, I would definitely want the long, attractive, consistent slices that the flat cut provides. But I don't buy my brisket at the supermarket. Out here there is a chain called Smart & Final which sells whole briskets in a cryovac package for $1.79 a pound. The point cut portion works well in long smoking and grilling, where a lot more of the fat can melt away. If I'm going to braise in my own Jewish version, I'll cut off the point cut, trim some of the fat, and use the rest for stew meat or grind it up for burgers or chili. Some of the big discount stores, like Costco or Sam's Club, may offer whole briskets in cryovac packages for similar prices, which makes it a lot less painful to trim.
I worked as a retail butcher for a while, and yes, what you describe is unusual, in that I have never seen it, even though we processed hundreds of pounds every Passover. The brisket is separated by a big layer of fat, which is typical. However, it sounds like you are describing a lot of fat internal in the flat and/or point. This is unusual, and, as I understand, not really possible. Brisket, once you cut out the middle fat layer, is renowned for being lean and not fatty. All of the flats and points I have ever seen are quite lean, and frankly, pretty tough cuts of meat unless you cook if for 2 or 3 hours.
If you just cut out the middle layer of fat, regardless of size; are you left with lean pieces of meat, or are there a lot of internal pockets of fat within the flat and point itself?
Humbly recommend you skip the celebrity chefs and use the brisket/saurkraut recipe from Joy Of Cooking (the original editions, not the newer ones edited and messed up by the grandson) or Cook Illustrated's braised brisket recipe in "Steak, Chops, Roasts and Ribs".
re: jerry i h
Yes I also have bought the Packer cut(whole brisket) from Fart & Sminal, oh I mean Smart and Final like nosh has. I bought a 15 lb and hand trimmed off 3 lbs of fat, put it in my cookshack amerique smoker with some hickory at 225 for an internal temp of 195 , took 18 hours and it was delish. I agree that the flat cut has too much fat trimmed off for long cooking.