How to pick the best beef brisket
I'm making French dip sandwiches for company, my recipe is to brown it then braise it at 250 or 300 for several hours with the au juice (from the packages by French's).
Chill over night, defat it and slice it as thin as possible.
Is there a way to be sure of getting the best cut so it isn't so full of fat and is tender?
Any suggestions on improving my usual recipe/method?
French dip isn't made with brisket. It's completely the wrong cut.
A brisket cooked that way will just shred. Not saying it won't be delicious, but it's not a french dip. French dip is roast beef, usually Prime Rib or NY Strip, but it could be a whole Steamship Round, cooked Rare to Med Rare and sliced thinly. A dip in the hot jus moves the meat to Medium if you like it more cooked. I've never, ever seen it done with Brisket.
However, if you want to use Brisket, just remove the fat layer from the Flat cut, which has very little marbling. But then it won't be very tender and it will likely dry out and crumble when you try to slice it. More Fat = More Tender.
Brisket is delicious precisely because it is filled with fat and connective tissue and collagen, which melt when you braise and steam it for a long time, particularly in the point cut. Using the part that has neither defeats the purpose.
You might want to consider roasting a Top Round to no more than Medium rare. Pretty lean and very flavorful and juicy without much fat and will stay tender if you keep it to less than medium.
Roast with the fat on it, fat side up, low and slow. The fat melts into the meat (and you can cut off the part that doesn't). I've never had it become tough, and it will slice nicely the next day.
I don't like rare meat, so I like the brisket cut. I look for a large piece of meat.
If you google French dip brisket, you will find LOTS of recipes.
Just for info, "au jus" means "with the juice". Knowing this helps people use the term well. You can say "with the jus" or just "beef au jus", but "with the au jus (juice)" doesn't work, because it translates to "with the with the juice".
Since you're going to defat it the day after cooking, why look for a brisket without fat? Brisket needs the fat while it's cooking for flavor and tenderness. I get really annoyed that the only briskets I find in my local grocery store have almost all the fat trimmed off.
Our friends who bbq competitively say to get one that isn't stiff in the package. Get one that will bend over your forearm loosely. They are talking big packer cuts with both the point and the flat, and that has worked for us too. Haven't had a bad one since we started doing this. Sounds kind of silly doesn't it??