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Where to buy inexpensive brisket to make corned beef?

I thought I'd corn my own beef this year since I can't have nitrates or dyes and actually remembered in time for St. Patrick's for a change! But so far the only briskets I've seen for sale are going for $5.99/lb. Considering I can buy it pre-brined from Whole Foods for that price, and the whole point of corning was to make edible a cheap cut, it seems quite steep. I've gotten ribeyes on sale for cheaper. Anyone know of any good sales or stores? Preferably somewhere between Pasadena and Van Nuys as the 134/101 are my (horribly long) commuting grounds.

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    1. re: raizans

      $4.99/lb at the one in Burbank - and a 10 lb cut! Is that considered inexpensive for brisket? Or are my expectations way too high...er, low...?

    2. Smart & Final usually has packer cut (whole) briskets. Last year I paid about $2 a pound.

      1 Reply
      1. Smart & Final. Usually runs about $2.50 a pound. The pieces are about 10 to 15 pounds each, cryovac packed. Unless you're buying a case, I've found this to be the best bargain. I buy it for my restaurant sometimes when I need just a piece, and the price is actually comparable to Restaurant Depot.

        9 Replies
        1. re: JimmyK

          Be aware that Smart & Final's Brisket is USDA Select while Costco's meat is USDA Choice or USDA Prime..

          1. re: Norm Man

            Costco brisket might be Choice or Prime, but Costco only sells flats, not the whole brisket. I like to smoke whole briskets.

            1. re: elbuey

              Costco will sell you a whole brisket. Just ask at the window. I, too, prefer to smoke either a whole brisket, or the point which is fattier. However the OP is going to boil the meat so the fat content isn't as important. My local Ralphs will cut me a point when asked. A further note on Smart and Final; while their prices are great I have had problems with an off flavor in both briskets and pork shoulders I have purchased there.

            2. re: Norm Man

              Yep, I've never been happy with the quality of Smart & Final's brisket - though I've only slow smoked it. I'd rather spend a bit more and get a higher quality brisket.

              1. re: Norm Man

                Why pay for choice in a brisket. It won't be any more tender, just better marbling. Who needs more fat in a brisket? Go to Cash and Carry (Smart and Final).

                1. re: jmikey

                  Doesn't the marbling have something to do with how tender it is? When I've bought brisket from Smart and Final it was nowhere near as tender after many hours of rub and smoking, than similar sized briskets of higher quality from Costco or other places.

                  1. re: estone888

                    "Doesn't the marbling have something to do with how tender it is"?

                    Marbling has everything to do with the flavor of the beef. I believe the grade of the beef has to do with tenderness and also how it's prepared.

                    1. re: latindancer

                      Grading is all about the marbling and maturity of the steer. More marbling=more fat and fat is flavor. Tenderness depends on the cut and the amount of aging it has received. If you really want tender, leave the brisket in the bag for a month before you use it. This only works for product in cryovac, not supermarket wrap. I always make sure my Christmas prime rib has at least 30 days on it. Takes up room in the frig but it's worth it.
                      Here's what the smart guys say.
                      http://meat.tamu.edu/beefgrading.html

                      1. re: jmikey

                        USDA select is leaner than choice or prime and will lack the flavor.

                        I will eat only prime, corn-fed, dry aged steaks with alot of marbling.
                        My brisket, even though on a very slow, low heat, is never less than choice and I've never left it in a bag. I've been doing it that way since I learned how to cook...
                        I the beef I braise is either choice or prime...even though it's braised I want the flavor.
                        My hamburger must have at least 25% fat content, high grade, because it's the flavor I'm going for.
                        I guess if I didn't have the ability to purchase these grades of beef I liked I wouldn't eat meat.

            3. Super A Foods sometimes has them on sale for 2.99/lb.

                1. re: Willly

                  dont you need an account for Restaurant Depot?

                  1. re: Johnny L

                    Yeah - a commercial tax ID. My CT tax ID for my catering company works for CA purposes. The membership is free.