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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 04-24-2012, 08:19 PM   #1
va92bronco
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Default Grass fed and finished brisket

I'm looking for some packer briskets for comps. The only supplier in my area is Wal Mart. Sam's, BJ's, Costco, and everywhere else around me only have flats. Restaurant Depot is about two hours away(and I have never tried them since I just recently just got my KCBS membership). I have found a local farmer who sells his meat to local butchers and suppliers. He has grass fed and finished beef. I have been talking to him about supplying me with meat(he also has pork and chicken) but his prices are not cheap. With a discount, I am still looking at about $6/pound for packer briskets. Thats about $80 for one packer.

I haven't tried his brisket yet, but think I might try it atleast once. Has anyone used this type of beef for comps or just to cook? He raves about the quality and leanness of the beef, but $6/pound is still pretty high.

Anybody have any experience I can draw from. thanks for any info.
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Unread 04-24-2012, 08:26 PM   #2
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Grass fed is a different flavor profile. I have a guy near me that raises grass fed Black Angus cattle and I have tried it, one good thing is it is wsell marbled. The only downsize was that the flats were very thin.
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Unread 04-24-2012, 08:28 PM   #3
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I love thast kind of beef, I buy mine from a rancher in Humboldt County. But, I would not compete with it. It has a distinct taste, unless you can get stuff from Oregon, it is not at all like what most folks expect from beef.

Yes, you can get it tender, it will even be juicy, but, it will not be a winner unless you live where folks don't like corn-finished beef. I assume there is such a place. Man, $6 a poung for a packer is gonna run into some money. I gotta believe if you plan the trip right and make sure there are packers, RD is a better bet.
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Unread 04-24-2012, 08:37 PM   #4
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If your lookin at droppin $80 on a brisket... Might as well take a look at some proven briskets at snake river farms... http://store.snakeriverfarms.com/com...bq-collection/
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Unread 04-24-2012, 08:41 PM   #5
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I don't do comp, but I go to RD (in Kansas City) for my butts. Their briskets never looked that good to me.
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Unread 04-24-2012, 09:00 PM   #6
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i second snake river farms
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Unread 04-24-2012, 09:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain P.J. View Post
If your lookin at droppin $80 on a brisket... Might as well take a look at some proven briskets at snake river farms... http://store.snakeriverfarms.com/com...bq-collection/
Ya I looked at snake river too. Would be more with shipping, but it is established. Guy was really pumped about us using him. Almost feel guilty not to use him.
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Unread 04-24-2012, 11:42 PM   #8
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I would go to RD with a big cooler, pick the ones you like (they will open cases for you), age them and learn to cook them. RD briskets can and do win all the time. Mail order briskets are a gamble since you have no clue what you are going to get. I purchased 10 SRF briskets and will never do so again unless they sponsored us with free briskets.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 05:37 AM   #9
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Why not ask a local grocer to get you some packers. Or a local BBQ joint. I live a hour from any city instead of driving I get my ribs from a local BBQ and a week before a contest till the manager at the grocery I need brisket and butts. I get there when they come in pick what I want and even get a discount. I even have him get me a case of parsley while I'm at it.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 05:54 AM   #10
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Grain-fed briskets all the way, 100% of the time for comps. That's just my opinion. Grass fed usually equals less fat in my experience. Fat is flavor in brisket and especially in a competition setting.

I've never personally cooked Wagyu, but have heard some great things from competitors that have used it on the West Coast.

Oh yeah, on another note. There are some really good teams out there only using the flat. It's pricier than the whole packer per lb, but apparently it works.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 07:23 AM   #11
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Im pretty sure pure grass fed beef results in less marbling not more. I know a couple farmers who raise cattle and and they usually grassfeed then they introduce a little grain into their diets toward the end to get a little more fat and marbling. Im no cattle farmer so im just going by what they said
I will say this though..I buy beef from them regularly and its near prime
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Unread 04-25-2012, 08:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitnfat View Post
Why not ask a local grocer to get you some packers. Or a local BBQ joint. I live a hour from any city instead of driving I get my ribs from a local BBQ and a week before a contest till the manager at the grocery I need brisket and butts. I get there when they come in pick what I want and even get a discount. I even have him get me a case of parsley while I'm at it.
I've asked, but most say they can only get flats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash View Post
Oh yeah, on another note. There are some really good teams out there only using the flat. It's pricier than the whole packer per lb, but apparently it works.
I've only done packers, and only one at that. With my limited experience, I feel alittle more comfortable with the packer since the margin of error are larger. From what I have read, the larger mass and more fat allows for more room for mistakes. Minor mistakes in timing at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billm View Post
Im pretty sure pure grass fed beef results in less marbling not more. I know a couple farmers who raise cattle and and they usually grassfeed then they introduce a little grain into their diets toward the end to get a little more fat and marbling. Im no cattle farmer so im just going by what they said
I will say this though..I buy beef from them regularly and its near prime
I need to do some more research on this grass fed and finish beef. I might have walked into a situation where it will not work for my application. I'm sure it is great for steaks, but for brisket it might not be worth it. I will still try it atleast once.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 12:31 PM   #13
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Nothing wrong with flats I cook 6lb ones
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Unread 04-25-2012, 03:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitnfat View Post
Nothing wrong with flats I cook 6lb ones
Oh I know lots of teams win with just cooking flats. I am just not confident enough to try it in a comp yet.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 04:12 PM   #15
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Grass fed is a leaner beef. That's great if you are making filet migon, but not so great when you are trying to keep a big piece of meat moist for 12 hours in smoker.

Frankly, a lot of people rave about grass fed because it implies a more naturally raised product. Mass market beef is "finished" in large grain feed lots just before slaughtering, and that rubs some people the wrong way. The meat producers do that because grain feeding adds more marbling to the meat, and USDA grading is based strictly upon marbling.

As a competition cook, you should be concerned about taste. Many people think grain fed or grain finished simply tastes better.

Premium brands like Snake River Farms and Niman Ranch use grain finishing, which should tell you something. It's not just a trick the mass market producers use, there is a benefit to the final product.

The RD "Superior" brand states one of it's requirements is that the beef be grain finished.
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