Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Kosher >
Mar 4, 2013 05:58 PM

Brisket questions

I plan to order brisket for Pesach after being really disappointed with the kosher brisket I got at Trader Joe's last year.

I plan to order from Grow and Behold unless someone convinces me that I really should reconsider getting it from Kol Foods instead.

I am trying to decide between first cut brisket, whole brisket, or top of the rib (supposedly similar to brisket, but less expensive).

Any guidance? FWIW, what I disliked about the Trader Joe's brisket was how fatty it was - there were pieces that were huge chunks of fat with a little beef.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. First,
    If you love brisket, don't buy top of the rib. Growing up, my mother made this at least once a month. She always referred to it as brisket. Finally when I was about 10 I had 'real' brisket at my aunt's house and there was no way I'd eat mom's top of the rib again. Dad convinced her to buy brisket from then on. It wasn't mom's cooking, but the cut that mattered.

    As to whether to get first cut or whole brisket it depends on how lean you like your meat and how you will cook it.

    If you smoke your brisket, or cook it for 5+ hours, all that fat should render out from whole brisket and it will still be moist.

    If you 'pot' your brisket, cook it covered in liquid, then first cut may be more to your liking. The liquid will keep it moist without depending on the fat.

    For Pesach, I smoke whole brisket, but I also make brisket in a gantzeh thimmes. Most people would find the fruit and vegetables would be far too fatty to eat, if I used a whole untrimmed brisket. Since I like the second cut for flavor as well as the first cut, I use a whole brisket, but trim away the external fat, not the fat that's under the flap.

    No matter how you make a brisket (if not smoking it) you should refrigerate the brisket overnight after cooking and remove the hardened fat from the pan and gravy/drippings before reheating and serving.

    ALSO: First cut brisket yields prettier and more uniform slices than whole brisket.

    BTW> I do not care for the quality of any of the Trader Joe's kosher beef

    This might be more than you asked for.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      This is really helpful. I will use my mom's recipe which I need to get from her, but my memory is onions and carrots under the meat, some liquid but not covering the meat, and onion soup mix on top. It will bake a while, though my memory is less than 5 hours. If I'm organized, I will do it the day before to remove surface fat as well.

      Perhaps I'll choose another occasion to experiment with top of the rib or other roasts - perhaps in a slow cooker for a Shabbat dinner.

      1. re: JamRowZ

        A word of caution about top of the rib. Because this is such a small cut (much thinner than a brisket) it is very stringy when sliced

        1. re: bagelman01

          If you cut top of the rib (or brisket) against the grain, it will not be stringy.

          1. re: skipper

            cutting against the grain is the ONLY way to slice brisket or top of the rib, but top of the rib will still be stringy and separate into short needle like pieces.

            A whole brisket has to be separated (1st and 2nd cuts) in oirder to cut against the grain as the grain runs in different directions.

          2. re: bagelman01

            I make "BBQ brisket" using top of the rib for my husband. Basically top of the rib, homemade or store bought BBQ sauce, cooked till tender, and shredded. Eaten on slider buns.

            I guess stringy is good, when you're gonna end up shredding it!

          3. re: JamRowZ

            Do try to be organized enough to do it the day before. Not only does it give you a chance to skim fat, but if you cook it, slice it and then let the slices sit in the liquid overnight and reheat in the liquid you will have moist brisket. Straight out of the oven, it is dry.

            (I cook mine with onions underneath and a wine/brown sugar/tomato paste/cider vinegar mixture poured over the top to cover. cover the pan with foil and bake 3 hours at 325. comes out distressingly dry when sliced. and then, presto, moist and falling apart for the next day.)

        2. i would go with a top of the rib -

          1. Second cut brisket, always. First cut is always too dry. As bagelman says, cook it the day before, refrigerate, and then remove the congealed fat.
            Now will someone tell me what deckel is? And there is something they sell around here which is called a brick (or square) roast. Any idea what that could be? How would you use these cuts?

            5 Replies
            1. re: helou

              The deckel is actually the 2nd cut (th flap that overhangs the first cut brisket)

              Brick or square cut roasts are actually not cuts, but retailers' names for various chcuk roasts that are often potted and are cheaper than brisket. They tend to be leaner than brisket and do not hold up as well to the long slow cooking as brisket does.

              1. re: bagelman01

                I'm not sure deckel is necessarily second cut brisket. Grow and Behold sells both deckel and second cut brisket and they are different prices.

                1. re: JamRowZ

                  Brust Deckel=breast (brisket) deckel (the flap that covers the mammary glands
                  some butchers call a cheap cut of chuck that needs a long slow braise a deckel roast

                2. re: bagelman01

                  I grew up with brust deckel, and have continued with that tradition in my home for many years. I use it in all recipes calling for brisket.
                  Years ago, I tried to "upgrade"
                  to first cut brisket, and went right back to the deckel, which I found to be a much moister cut of meat.

                3. re: helou

                  I cook a brick roast like brisket- lots of onions (whole and sliced), garlic, onion soup mix. It's leaner, like bagelman said, but not necessarily a bad thing

                4. ive had really good experiences with chicken from grow and behold, but none with beef

                  when you buy it, if you go with grow and behold, please share your impressions

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: shoelace

                    I've had the exact opposite experience. Beef has been excellent and easily worth the modest premium. While chicken has been better but not a significant enough improvement to be worth the higher markup.

                    1. re: avitrek

                      I've had ground beef from Grow and Behold before and it was the best ground beef I've ever had which is what is inspiring me to order my brisket from them. They have a pre-Pesach coupon good through midnight tonight EARLY500 for $50 off $500 or EARLY300 for $25 off $300 which will at least cancel out the shipping costs.

                      I like their chicken as well. When I first tasted it, I thought I couldn't tell the difference but recently tried both Empire and Kosher Valley (Whole Foods) and was really disappointed in comparison to the Grow and Behold chicken.

                      I will definitely report back on how the brisket turns out.

                      1. re: avitrek

                        i didnt say i had a bad experience with the beef, but that i had no experience with the beef

                        sorry if i gave off the wrong impression/misspoke

                        avitrek- i think youre in my area- do u buy grow and behold locally?

                        1. re: shoelace

                          I think they are still online only, but at least it's free delivery.

                    2. Seasons in Lawrence was selling brisket 1st cut for $6.99/lb last week. I don't see it this week for that price but they still have Brick Roast and Flanken for $6.99/lb as well as Top of the Rib for $4.99/lb


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MartyB

                        seasons in queens has 1st cut for 5.99 and 2nd for 4.99