It's that time of year. Well, for me, it's brisket time 365 days a year. I love making brisket. Grew up in Texas, where we had it at least once a week. One of the main reasons we ate it so often is because it was cheap. Grilled, baked, stewed, whatever. Now I move out to LA, and don't find brisket much. When I do, I have to do a double take at the price, and make sure I'm not looking at rib eye or something. I just can't pay 40 bucks for a brisket. Don't need it to be kosher, or hormone free, or whatever--I just need a brisket that won't break my bank. Any ideas?
I just bought 3 whole packers (I'm cooking a fundraiser) from Jim's Fallbrook Market 5947 Fallbrook Avenue, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 (818) 347-5525 for 3.49 a pound. USDA Choice, untrimmed and excellent quality. Smart and Final is cheaper, but lesser grade and I have had off flavors and odors in their meat before.
My source for inexpensive, whole briskets is Smart & Final. They sell them in a cryovac bag for about $1.99 per pound. These are untrimmed, which I prefer -- the supermarket trim does not leave enough fat to moisten the meat during smoking, and they are even too lean for braising the way I like. Note that there was another thread on this board two or three weeks ago, and another poster recommended Costco and another thought that Smart & Final's were select rather than choice. (I think I recall getting choice there, but it has been a very long while.) I agree with you -- $4.99 or more for a small square of flat cut is ridiculous.