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May 3, 2012 02:35 PM

Need quality beef brisket for smoking and for chili

I need to pick up 30lbs+ of good quality beef brisket for a cookout in the next few weeks and I'm reaching out to my fellow NYC CHers for their opinions and recommendations.

Costco has very good prices on brisket, WF sells it for at least 2-3X as much per lb. I have heard Stew Leonards has some of the best quality beef for a relatively good price (although I did find an article to the contrary here on CH). I guess the first thing is, when smoking brisket low and slow for so long and putting it in chili, I'm guessing the difference between Costco vs a high end cut costing 2-5X as much won't make too much of a difference. Where would you CHers recommend I try to get this amount of brisket without breaking the bank?


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  1. Brisket is a classic garbage in garbage out meat. Choice or higher is what I recommend. I can get a cryovac whole choice brisket at Sam's Club/Costco for under $1.25/lb. and never a bad one in the lot. I have smoked or cooked close to 200 briskets and here is the best set of instructions/rules/advice I have read for a Texas-Style Brisket:

    6 Replies
    1. re: hawkeyeui93

      I can get a cryovac whole choice brisket at Sam's Club/Costco for under $1.25/lb

      are you sure about that price?

      1. re: fourunder

        Two problems with your Costco link. First, it is a trimmed brisket. Second, it is only the flat. I bought a choice whole packer cut brisket in a cyrovac package at Sam's Club earlier this week with both the flat and the point and most importantly the untrimmed fat cap [and spprox. 15 pounds was less that $20.00]. And to the OP, do not buy a partial cut and trimmed brisket like fourunder showed if you want a good result smoking it slow and low. It will be akin to eating the soles of your Cole Haan Tassel Loafers.

        1. re: hawkeyeui93

          Two problems with your Costco link..

          there are two links.....and that's what shown to be offered on the Costco Wholesale Business Delivery Product List for meats.

          1. re: fourunder

            fourunder: I looked at your second link and it is missing the fat cap. The more processing done by IBP/Tyson/National et al. the higher the price. The one I recommending literally has an inch-plus cap of fat on the top and are generally in the 12-17 pound range.

            1. re: hawkeyeui93

              For the record........I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, but rather, I am simply trying to ask you to verify the price for the OP's sake...and mine. I don't purchase Brisket generally, so I do not know what the price is at most places..... I am a member of Costco, but not at Sam's, so I am not familiar with their actual prices and products. In the past, I have been a member at BJ's and Costco simultaneously, and although the labels/manufacturers were different, the products and pricing were similar for comparative purposes. I do have access to the Restaurant Depot though, and as Woddburner notes below the price is around $2. This would seem more likely to me as to the actual cost for inexpensive bulk beef.

              On other threads I stated that I do not find Brisket to very good for anything other than smoking and BBQ....But for $1.25/lb.....I would change my tune....or start experimenting with Brisket for my BBQ experience.

              1. re: fourunder

                four: I have this same issue when people on the coasts tell me that they can buy wine and liquor for less than half of what it cost me. I'm not looking for a fight either, but the two links you have shown me were partial and further trimmed briskets. I have never paid more than $2.00/pound for the "choice" whole packer untrimmed brisket I am talking about and I just purchased a fifteen pound one for just under $20. I have bought my last twenty or so at my area Sam's Club. Although I cannot recall the last time I bought one at Costco, I am certain that I have and it was comparable to Sam's Club. Two years ago, I was forced to find one at a local butcher and was charged $1.79/pound. I would gladly pay up to $2/pound [so long as it has a fat cap, whole, and at least choice], but have not had been faced with this dilemma. I do live in the State of Iowa and maybe being near some of the nation's largest beef processing plants make this product cheaper for me than living elsewhere.

    2. Have you considered Western Beef? They have several locations throughout NYC, and I've always found their meat acceptable.

      1. Agreed on Costco. BJ's is good too. Just don't get one that's been trimmed of all its precious fat.

        1. I once made the mistake of buying brisket in a Prime Meat butcher. I paid triple for a piece of meat that just had less fat on it. Brisket is not a quality cut, you cook it for hours, you need some fat on it and i don't believe you need to seek out a good quality brisket. As long as the meat is stored properly you'll get good brisket.

          1 Reply
          1. re: foodwhisperer

            Don't go below Choice IMHO [and ensure that it has not been trimmed]. The problem with select and below is that there is not enough fat and insufficient marbling ...

          2. Agree with Hawkeye... just to be clear, there is select (ugh), choice (what you want) and prime (not called for here). Angus is just a marketing label. At my Sam's (Elmsford, NY) they only sell flats at about $4/lb, which is high. At Restaurant Depot I can get whole packer cuts (10-18 lbs) for around $2/lb. That would be ideal for you. Hopefully, you get whole packers (point and flat) for around $2/lb.

            I have smoked them for chili and they are great but, also, think about nice big ole chuck roasts(around 5 lbs ea. at my Sams) for about $3/lb. There will be less waste from fat compared to the briskets. Rub, smoke, then cut down for the chili. A very good outcome as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: woodburner

              And the brisket is so darn good on its own .... Now, leftover brisket would have a great second life in chili [and I fully agree with your advise to use chuck roasts instead].