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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:22 PM   #1
CarlWayne
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Default Need some advice regarding grades of brisket.

Recently I learned the HEB in my hometown is beginning to carry prime brisket. They normally only carry select grade and that's what I have been buying. From time to time I can make it to Fort Worth to costco to get a choice grade brisket. I talked to the meat market man at HEB and he said they would order some prime briskets and they would be in by Wednesday and I could come choose a brisket. The only problem is they are already pre trimmed..... Now, when I cook briskets I don't trim hardly any off the fat cap because I use a UDS and use the fat cap as a deflector. Would it be worth buying a prime brisket and paying the money for pre trimmed and hope for the best? Or should I just continue doing what I normally do and buy select and choice when I can? Does the extra trimming make a difference. What do you guys think?
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:27 PM   #2
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I couldn't tell you the difference in taste between a choice and a prime brisket after it's smoked, but I spell BBQ p-o-r-k.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:35 PM   #3
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Not a simple question. Largely because brisket grades are only references, as they do not look at the brisket to determine it's grade. So, when you pick them out, you will have to look for the ones with the best fat. There is a big difference between a well-marbled Prime brisket and a Select grade.

In terms of trimming, unless it is really unusual, there will still be some fat cap on the brisket, and you can always lay down either a diffuser or similar device under your brisket. I can tell you, that foil does not work, that was a mess.

I think it is worth it, if the budget number doesn't scare you too much. I can make a fine brisket from a Select grade packer, but, given the same amount of effort, a Prime packer will be just that much better.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:36 PM   #4
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They might be nice pre trimmed.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:37 PM   #5
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I'm just as confused as you are, I have smoked a choice brisket that was the best I ever tasted, and I have smoked a prime brisket that tasted like shoe leather. I'm sure user error had more to do with it than anything. I am curious to see how your cook comes out and what you think of the difference.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:39 PM   #6
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Save your money CW market trim is trimmed for a braise in the oven and won't stand up on a long cook nearly as well. Nothing wrong with Select or Choice grading has very little impact on a Brisket that muscle group gets exercised everytime the bovine takes a step. The meat is graded between the 4-5 rib that sees no movement.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:44 PM   #7
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What he just said. The animal makes the difference. I can cooked 2 prime angus briskets from Creekstone, in the same cooker, with the same rub, etc. and one will always be better than the other. That is why we always cook 2.

That said, my preference is choice or better and 100%Angus if I can get it. Keep in mind that prime can be any cow, as long as the ribeye grades prime. Could be some farmers downer milk cow, but I have cooked some great dairy cattle that have been grain fed most of their life.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:50 PM   #8
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There is no chance they trim it closer than I do or that you cook as hot as I do. It will be fine unless your grate is too close.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 04:25 PM   #9
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That is not true about age. The USDA requires that all Prime grade out below 40 months maturity. The cattle that come in as Prime carcasses may not be as abundantly fatty in the brisket as they are at the 6th rib joint, where the grade is taken, but, on average, they will still be in better condition, off of better pasture and feed, than most Select animals.

I do agree, that you have to take some care in selecting the brisket you end up cooking, as grade is just the first of several things to consider. But, if you ask me, and I have cooked all of the options, which I want, a Prime or a Select...I am going to take Prime every time.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 05:18 PM   #10
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I am fine with buying trimmed as long as the price after trim is about the same as the prorated price minus the fat.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 05:33 PM   #11
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Most likely more than anyone cares to know but this explains the grading process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn4upP79j2c
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Unread 02-17-2014, 05:50 PM   #12
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Gotta agree with Landarc here, the majority of the time a prime brisket will come out better if cooked just right. A select can also come out fine if care is taken when it's cooked. Not all primes are equal, the same way not all selects are equal. It's all about the marbling.. not gobs of fat on it or if it says CAB on it. Sometimes market trimmed briskets are over trimmed, sometimes they are not.. gotta check out each one.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 06:02 PM   #13
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All Angus means on the packaging is it came from a 100% black cow it may or may not have been a purebred Angus and most aren't. Lots of folk get caught up in a marketing ploy by the Beef Council designed to separate the Shopper from the hard earned dollar. All I care is it says Beef product of the USA on the label I'll take it from there.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 06:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JS-TX View Post
Gotta agree with Landarc here, the majority of the time a prime brisket will come out better if cooked just right. A select can also come out fine if care is taken when it's cooked. Not all primes are equal, the same way not all selects are equal. It's all about the marbling.. not gobs of fat on it or if it says CAB on it. Sometimes market trimmed briskets are over trimmed, sometimes they are not.. gotta check out each one.
I highlighted the most important part. There is a learning curve with prime briskets. If you put some heat in to a choice brisket it will not tighten back up on you. The prime will take a lot more heat.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 07:03 PM   #15
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The best brisket is the one you choose out of what is available to you. If you know what to look for in a brisket, and stick to what you know, and pass on the ones you are skeptical about, then a select can be as good as a prime. You need to practice on picking out the best available.

I stop at any meat department I go into and look at the available Briskets just to see what they have that looks good to me. Most of the time I am not shopping for a brisket, but if I find one that really jumps out at me, then I have to explain to the wife that I couldn't pass it up, and brisket is on the menu sometimes soon. Look for good marbling, and one that is flexible and will bend easily, and a good thick and even flat. I also like a fairly even fat cap if all else is good, as I don't trim my fat cap until the brisket is done and ready to serve. Some say to find a right hand brisket, but I haven't been able to tell any difference with the finished product with a right verses left.

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