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View Full Version : The brisjket source debate...


jasonjax
07-03-2013, 11:24 AM
Hey folks,


I'm hopefully getting more serious into the competition side of my BBQ and starting to educate myself a bit more on subjects that should be important to doing well, and in reading a couple of threads I couldn't help but wonder...


I have difficulty wrapping my head around how Wagyu and Choice cooked side by side can possibly turn out a better product on the Choice side.
I'm FAR from a brisket expert or even a meat expert, but I have had my share of steaks and done some side by side testing of my own, and on the flavorful ribeye, NY strip type steaks there is simply no comparison to the taste of a quality piece of meat and a lesser piece.

I obviously realize a brisket is not in the same league, but ceteris paribus (I really wanted to work that into this post somehow) HOW do the lesser quality cuts come out better?

I'm genuinely interested in the thoughts on this subject. IE: random act of meat, one stayed in the stall phase longer, one was happier before slaughter etc. What do you guys think accounts for this seemingly contradicting outcome?

smokeisgood
07-03-2013, 12:09 PM
Just to throw some more crap into the argument, there is a certain top cook out there who in his class says he has cooked them all, and has won more with "select" than anything else. Personally, I think the whole thing is a crapshoot.....but it's fun...

Swamp Donkeyz BBQ
07-03-2013, 12:21 PM
Back when we used to cook two briskets at comps, I've had a select brisket turn out better than a choice cooked side by side.

landarc
07-03-2013, 12:33 PM
With the exception of Wagyu, grade means very little in brisket cooking, in that they do not consider the brisket at all when applying a grade. Now, the odds are that a brisket from a Choice grade steer will be better than that from a Select or No-Roll steer, those are a little higher. But, if you can select your briskets, and handle them in loose cryos. you are going to be money ahead. In the end, it all comes down to choosing your meat well.

Ron_L
07-03-2013, 12:36 PM
I have difficulty wrapping my head around how Wagyu and Choice cooked side by side can possibly turn out a better product on the Choice side

I'm confused by this. Has someone implied that cooking a choice in the same cooker with a Wagyu will make the choice brisket better? That would have to be true brisket magic!

jasonjax
07-03-2013, 12:38 PM
You guys aren't really helping..... :razz:

It is starting to sound like the quality of the brisket simply doesn't matter, yet that is contradicted by folks who say they were getting lots of calls and then something changed in the quality of their brisket and they stopped getting calls even though their process was identical.

There seems to be no logical explanation here.

I could understand if we simply agreed that due to the nature of the cut of brisket a select, choice, CAB, prime, kobe, wagyu, whatever could turn out better than the other just from luck of the draw, but again that seems contradicted from what folks are saying elsewhere.

Damn my logical brain for wanting to understand!

jasonjax
07-03-2013, 12:40 PM
I'm confused by this. Has someone implied that cooking a choice in the same cooker with a Wagyu will make the choice brisket better? That would have to be true brisket magic!


No Ron, what has been said is that the Choice may come out better than the Wagyu not that the Wagyu being next to it is responsible for the Choice being better.... or maybe it is. Hahaha.

Ron_L
07-03-2013, 12:43 PM
No Ron, what has been said is that the Choice may come out better than the Wagyu not that the Wagyu being next to it is responsible for the Choice being better.... or maybe it is. Hahaha.

Not that I can believe :) Remember that the whole carcass is graded, not the brisket itself, so it is possible for a brisket off of a select carcass to have better marbling that a brisket off of a prime carcass. We've scored well with choice, CAB and Prime. I'm pretty sure that our 180 brisket in 2011 was a choice.

landarc
07-03-2013, 12:48 PM
Quality in a brisket goes far beyond grade. Thickness of flat, aging, shape of flat, marbling, etc... I am still a believer in bendy briskets as well. Don't care what experts say, a bendy brisket works better in my experience.

Hot Wachulas
07-03-2013, 12:53 PM
Each brisket is different. Your rub and injection might taste better on a more marbleized brisket or worse. Fat contest might make the rub flavor stronger or lighter. You might need more injection or less. Just stick with one grade of meat that way you can tweek the process for that grade it until is perfect.
I do better just cooking one. I can focus on it and baby it thru the process. If the ajous is good everything else is fixable.

Podge
07-03-2013, 01:17 PM
Cooking a great brisket is going to take experience until you develop an intuition and feel. You'll then figure out what kind of brisket works best for you. I don't think that a judge (maybe I'm wrong here) knows the difference between a SRF wagyu and a choice brisket bought from Super WalMart, as long as they are the perfect tenderness and great flavor.

To me, I assume you've not cooked many briskets. You're going to have to, because no matter what we all tell you, these are just little tips and some rules of thumb, but you won't really know what it takes for Jasonjax to cook a great brisket until you do it enough.

Sawdustguy
07-03-2013, 01:28 PM
Cooking a great brisket is going to take experience until you develop an intuition and feel. You'll then figure out what kind of brisket works best for you. I don't think that a judge (maybe I'm wrong here) knows the difference between a SRF wagyu and a choice brisket bought from Super WalMart, as long as they are the perfect tenderness and great flavor.

To me, I assume you've not cooked many briskets. You're going to have to, because no matter what we all tell you, these are just little tips and some rules of thumb, but you won't really know what it takes for Jasonjax to cook a great brisket until you do it enough.

Right on Target.....Perfectly cooked meat wins no matter whether it is Wagu, CAB, Choice etc.

gmag
07-03-2013, 01:33 PM
One brisket. Prime. Restaurant Depot. Enough said.

jasonjax
07-03-2013, 01:34 PM
To me, I assume you've not cooked many briskets. You're going to have to, because no matter what we all tell you, these are just little tips and some rules of thumb, but you won't really know what it takes for Jasonjax to cook a great brisket until you do it enough.

I've probably cooked about 50-60 briskets if I had to guess, so no I have not cooked a lot of briskets by many standards, but I really was trying to keep that out of this discussion. Again, my assumptions are all things being equal why doesn't it appear based on many comments that grade of beef makes much difference in scoring outcomes for brisket.

One of the posts above talking about interactions between rubs, injections etc. playing out differently based on the cut sounds like a slightly possible explanation, but still seems a bit far reaching.

The other discussion that due to the way meat is graded the quality not correlating directly with the brisket also make some sense to me.

As I work more on perfecting my personal technique I will definitely be using less expensive grades, but I will also likely try some of the more expensive versions and do some side-by-side testing.

This thread was mostly meant to be academic based on some of my observations in reading about other's experiences.

One of the coolest things about BBQ is there is no "right way" as we all know, but I do find some of the seemingly contradictory things we hear/see/read very interesting, and want to explore them.

jasonjax
07-03-2013, 01:43 PM
Right on Target.....Perfectly cooked meat wins no matter whether it is Wagu, CAB, Choice etc.

Sigh ... I understand this cerebrally... we can cook all kinds of lesser cuts of meat using the BBQ techniques we know to create a high quality product... BUT....

If you were able to magically cook each of the grades all perfectly should not the best quality meat stand above the others thus meaning if you were able to perfect your cooking of each grade your Wagyu would always be best and your select would always be the worse?

Podge
07-03-2013, 02:37 PM
The other discussion that due to the way meat is graded the quality not correlating directly with the brisket also make some sense to me.

As I work more on perfecting my personal technique I will definitely be using less expensive grades, but I will also likely try some of the more expensive versions and do some side-by-side testing.

I've think this is the best idea for you. You seem to be on the right track. Remember, the end justifies the means.

Hot Wachulas
07-03-2013, 03:12 PM
Sigh ... I understand this cerebrally... we can cook all kinds of lesser cuts of meat using the BBQ techniques we know to create a high quality product... BUT....

If you were able to magically cook each of the grades all perfectly should not the best quality meat stand above the others thus meaning if you were able to perfect your cooking of each grade your Wagyu would always be best and your select would always be the worse?

Yes, more than likely the waygu cooked perfect would be better than a choice grade cooked perfect. But a perfectly cooked choice can easily beat an average/good waygu.

The hard part is cooking the perfect brisket no matter what grade.

Dont waste money doing side by sides. Stick with one grade and master it, then experiment. And measure and write everything down, everything.

Balls Casten
07-03-2013, 03:16 PM
If you were able to magically cook each of the grades all perfectly should not the best quality meat stand above the others

Disagree, it is about getting 9's or 8's and 9's from the judges and you can get 9's from judges with choice briskets. A judge giving you a 9 for a perfectly cooked choice .. scores the same as a judge giving you a 9 for a perfectly cooked wagyu.

Quality meat to us is consistancy

JD McGee
07-03-2013, 03:45 PM
We have cooked them all...and done well with them all. We usually cook choice Angus that we wet age for 35 days. Cook what you can find locally...or afford to ship in. Good luck!

jasonjax
07-03-2013, 04:34 PM
Disagree, it is about getting 9's or 8's and 9's from the judges and you can get 9's from judges with choice briskets. A judge giving you a 9 for a perfectly cooked choice .. scores the same as a judge giving you a 9 for a perfectly cooked wagyu.

Quality meat to us is consistancy

This makes some sense. I wonder how often a table of judges gets to sample the gambit of grades of brisket...

gettinbasted
07-03-2013, 04:52 PM
Sigh ... I understand this cerebrally... we can cook all kinds of lesser cuts of meat using the BBQ techniques we know to create a high quality product... BUT....

If you were able to magically cook each of the grades all perfectly should not the best quality meat stand above the others thus meaning if you were able to perfect your cooking of each grade your Wagyu would always be best and your select would always be the worse?

Yes, in theory. However, the qualities that make a great brisket are subjective and each cut of meat brings a different set of these qualities to the party. Some people don't like wagyu because it has a rich taste and a different texture. Others prefer it for this very reason. In this case a perfectly cooked wagyu brisket might lose to the perfectly cooked CAB or prime if it hits the right (or wrong) table.

dwfisk
07-03-2013, 04:59 PM
I think there might be a magic answer here.
Not that I can believe :) Remember that the whole carcass is graded, not the brisket itself, so it is possible for a brisket off of a select carcass to have better marbling that a brisket off of a prime carcass. We've scored well with choice, CAB and Prime. I'm pretty sure that our 180 brisket in 2011 was a choice.

Quality in a brisket goes far beyond grade. Thickness of flat, aging, shape of flat, marbling, etc... I am still a believer in bendy briskets as well. Don't care what experts say, a bendy brisket works better in my experience.
If I put these thoughts together with my recent experience I think I can see the light. I've been buying brisket by the case (mostly driven by cost & convenience) from Florida Food Service in Gainesville, Fl. They are an institutional supplier catering to restaurants and independent groceries. The standard case lot is 5@15 pound (nominal) briskets, "angus choice". Out of habit I inspect and bend test each and I trim, season and cook everything the same. I do find the briskets that are more pliable with less "hard" fat (remember they are all the same "grade") cook up better that those that are stiff. Recently I cooked three out of the same case together for a family & friends gathering (same grade, same trim, same seasoning & same cooking parameters): one was OK, one was was really damn good and one was the best brisket I've ever had (mine or anyone else's). Go figure :doh:

jasonjax
07-03-2013, 05:02 PM
I think there might be a magic answer here.



If I put these thoughts together with my recent experience I think I can see the light. I've been buying brisket by the case (mostly driven by cost & convenience) from Florida Food Service in Gainesville, Fl. They are an institutional supplier catering to restaurants and independent groceries. The standard case lot is 5@15 pound (nominal) briskets, "angus choice". Out of habit I inspect and bend test each and I trim, season and cook everything the same. I do find the briskets that are more pliable with less "hard" fat (remember they are all the same "grade") cook up better that those that are stiff. Recently I cooked three out of the same case together for a family & friends gathering (same grade, same trim, same seasoning & same cooking parameters): one was OK, one was was really damn good and one was the best brisket I've ever had (mine or anyone else's). Go figure :doh:

Interesting stuff there. I could give your thoughts more credence if your avatar was different... sorry FSU grad here. :wacko:

You know what would be really curious there is if you knew the pack date on those different briskies.

Hawg Father of Seoul
07-03-2013, 05:14 PM
Interesting stuff there. I could give your thoughts more credence if your avatar was different... sorry FSU grad here. :wacko:

You know what would be really curious there is if you knew the pack date on those different briskies.

Same case equals same kill date.

dwfisk
07-03-2013, 05:35 PM
Interesting stuff there. I could give your thoughts more credence if your avatar was different... sorry FSU grad here. :wacko:

You know what would be really curious there is if you knew the pack date on those different briskies.
^ Been a Gator long enough to be humble and respectful, even to them who went to the women's college.:boxing:

Same case equals same kill date.
^ Didn't know that! Damn, learned something again!

jasonjax
07-03-2013, 07:07 PM
^ Been a Gator long enough to be humble and respectful, even to them who went to the women's college.:boxing:




You say that like it is a bad thing. ;)

jmoney7269
07-03-2013, 07:31 PM
I'm confused by this. Has someone implied that cooking a choice in the same cooker with a Wagyu will make the choice brisket better? That would have to be true brisket magic!

I have had way better luck cooking choice than wagyu. I prefer a really thick fatty packer with soft fat and a really large point, pliable and wet age 50 days. The recent comp we just won, last year i cooked a Strube and a national and turned in the Strube against my better judgement and only got 4th. The national choice was better. Price aint everything. It's learning how to pick em. I have cooked several hand selected briskets that were select grade and wished I could have had that brisket for a Cookoff.

Ron_L
07-03-2013, 07:36 PM
One brisket. Prime. Restaurant Depot. Enough said.

Your RD has prime? All I can find at the RDs around here is choice and Superior brand angus.

Q-Dat
07-03-2013, 11:54 PM
I believe that having access to higher grades of beef will increase you odds of finding a good brisket, but here's another thought.

Ever notice how different folks seem to gain weight in different areas? Some get it all around their midsection. Some get bigger in their lower body. Some gain it more up top. I think we all know at least one person with a big belly and skinny legs.

My point is that this is probably also the case with cattle. Obviously not to the same extremes as humans due to generations of selective breeding, but I'm certain that there are differences between cows of the same breed in where they deposit fat.

buttburnersbbq
07-04-2013, 06:39 AM
I use to cook Wagyu brisket at comps from SRF. I like the taste and the way it comes out . You don't have to inject due to the marbling in the meat . But one Brisket would cost about $190. Now we cook 2 choice briskets which cost about $70 for both. What a difference in price. But we inject and I am very picky when I go and pick out the briskets . I look for more marbling and want to get a constant thickness in the flat . I do inject the choice briskets. They do come out good , but I can taste the difference in the meat . But that being said the judges usually can not taste the difference and all comes down to personal taste and flavor. When we would cook the Wagyu brisket be would not place . Now we cook the choice brisket , we have been placing every time . It comes down to what the judges are use to eating . Any where you go no one serves Wagyu brisket . Most of the time it is choice or once in a while you may get a prime . Also it come down to how you prepare and cook your meat. Some cook hot and fast . I am a low and slow guy. There is so many factors and every time you cook it will never be the exact same .

JD McGee
07-04-2013, 08:51 AM
Your RD has prime? All I can find at the RDs around here is choice and Superior brand angus.
Same here Ron...