Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jan 6, 2010 11:28 AM

Where to buy brisket for smoking

I've recently started dipping my toes in the world of "low and slow" barbecue but am having trouble sourcing the cuts of meat in the appropriate sizes that would be right for cooking this way.

My first attempt yielded dry, leathery but sufficiently smokey results and I'm thinking that a larger cut (the brisket I used was just over three pounds) would help with this.

Can someone out there recommend a butcher or grocery in the eastern part of town (I'm in Silver Lake) that sells brisket with the fat cap intact in sizes over six pounds or so?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. since you are practicing, go to smart and final. their brisket is cheap and most typically have the fat cap intact.

    4 Replies
    1. re: wilafur

      Smart & Final seconded. Brisket requires 1 hr per pound at a temp of between 180 & 220.

      1. re: JAB

        Third Fart and Sminal, they have what is known in the trade as a packer cut brisket, 10 to 15 lbs with lots of fat left on. I smoke mine in a Cookshack Amerique with chunks of either oak or hickory, a 15 pound I cook at 225f to an internal temp of 190-195, very tender, takes about 18 to 24 hours. The 3 to 4 pound briskets you see are called flat cut and have most of the fat cut off, if you use these and smoke for a long period of time you need to drape bacon over the top to keep moist.

        1. re: malibumike

          I bought a 9.25 lb brisket at Smart & Final to smoke for New Years Eve. The price was great - $1.79 per lb. I'm not so sure about the quality of the meat. I cooked it on a grill with smoke at just about 205 degrees for 1-1/2 hours per lb and it was still pretty tough by the time I was done. I've cooked several briskets the same way before - but they were all USDA Choice, which I don't think the brisket from Smart & Final was - and they all came out great. Much as I hate to say it, next time I buy a brisket for smoking, I'm going to spend more on it for better quality meat.

          1. re: estone888

            i'd recommend at least 16-18hrs (if not longer) for a brisket that size.

    2. Does Smart & Final sell smaller briskets (say around 5 lb) with the fat cap intact? If not, any other sources for that would be great to have too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bigipps

        The only briskets I've seen at S&F are packer cut (flat & point muscles left intact), usually in the 9-12 pound range. If you want flats only, Costco sells those in the +/- 5 pound range.

      2. Order one from snake river farms online. The best brisket we have smoked by far.

        1 Reply
        1. re: budlit

          WSM smoker here, I get great cuts of meat from the Stater Bros. on Spring in Long Beach. Also some great butchers in some of the mexican mrkts. I will check out the Smart and Final brisket.

        2. you could also order from Harvey's Guss Meat Company. Just call a day before you need but they can get you anything (Olympic and Ogden...not that far)

          1. Smart and Final all the way. I've smoked brisket from various other places including high end butchers and the difference in taste is minimal considering the bulk of the flavor is coming from your rub and smoke. Also, as wilafur said, it's cheap for practicing and I think you'll find it to be your main source of brisket in the future. BTW, after the volume and times that I smoked brisket, I found that leaving a generous portion of fat on will do you right in the end, especially with the flat part of the brisket which may tend to slightly overcook if it's too lean. Also, remember to smoke with fat side down. Here's a great resource for more information on smoking meats...


            If you don't have one yet, I recommend getting the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker... great smoker that does the best job in maintaining temps and cooking your meats evenly.

            Keep practicing and enjoy the trip into BBQ bliss!!!

            3 Replies
            1. re: mrshankly

              Let me add another vote for the Weber Smokey Mountain.

              1. re: mrshankly

                I have to diasagree with fat side down. Fat side up provides self basting. I use a Hasty - Bake.

                1. re: JAB

                  Thanks for all the suggestions! At this point, I'm thinking of going the S&F route until I can fine tune the process.

                  I'm currently using a Brinkman electric smoker with the water pan. I regretted the purchase the moment I started cooking - no real means of temp control, no vents, no built in thermometer - but it's what I'm stuck with for a while, as I can't justify going out and purchasing something else quite so soon.