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View Full Version : "USDA grade" of whole brisket


reeltor
08-22-2011, 09:36 PM
I'm a newguy to the site, and have been looking around the site for a little while. I've had my New Braunfels Bandera Smoker for 15-18 years used it very occasionally for ribs and butts. I want to use it more and smoked a whole brisket and it came out OK, not great, just OK. The "Excell" cryovac packages that they now have at Wal-Mart aren't marked USDA Choice like the first "Cargill" brisket did. I assume that "Choice" beef would be marked, are unmarked packages Select or Utility grade beef? Any ideas?

boogiesnap
08-22-2011, 09:46 PM
it was marked somewhere. it's strictly regulated i beleive.

could be wrong. a definite answer i'm sure is on it's way.

Frankbbq
08-22-2011, 10:13 PM
Not all meat is graded. "No Roll" is one term for non graded beef. Meaning it doesn't have a stamp on it.

reeltor
08-22-2011, 10:23 PM
I think I'll keep looking for a graded brisket. Thanks,

elchupahueso
08-22-2011, 10:38 PM
There's actually 7 accepted USDA grades when it comes to beef. The ones we know most about being Prime, select and choice. http://meat.tamu.edu/beefgrading.html Here's a link explaining the whole thing from Texas A&M's Department of Animal Science.
Believe it or not, the actual grading is done by slicing into the steer between the 12th and 13th rib and more or less scanning the ribeye section. (they actually have these cool little scanners that analyze the percentage of fat to muscle and assign the grading that way so it's no longer subjective.) If there's no grading info available for the meat, just walk away. If the rancher doesn't want to pay to have it graded it usually means they're hiding something. Yes, grading is costly, but because of it they can command a higher per head price.

El Ropo
08-22-2011, 11:16 PM
I look for a minimum of select, but won't usually buy unless it's choice at select price. I find these all the time at wallyworld, half the time they have choice excel packers for the price of select ($1.40-$1.89 / lb price range)

This is the only meat item I purchase from WM. Choice packers turn out much better than select. It may be a regional thing, but choice packers are pretty common in the local WMs.

All other meat items from WM are "enhanced" and I wouldn't touch them with Dennis Rodman's unit.

Jaberwabee
08-23-2011, 12:27 AM
Elropo is right. I have found a few briskets at Walmart in the last year that are stamped CAB on the cryogenic, and then CHOICE on the fat cap in that blue ink.

Chef Jim
08-23-2011, 09:46 AM
I would look for a Restaurant Depot in your area, their meat is great. Problem is that they are not open to the public. Stop in at the desk they might give you a day pass. Tell them you cook with a team, they might give you a membership, it's free!

reeltor
08-23-2011, 01:59 PM
I look for a minimum of select, but won't usually buy unless it's choice at select price. I find these all the time at wallyworld, half the time they have choice excel packers for the price of select ($1.40-$1.89 / lb price range)

This is the only meat item I purchase from WM. Choice packers turn out much better than select. It may be a regional thing, but choice packers are pretty common in the local WMs.

All other meat items from WM are "enhanced" and I wouldn't touch them with Dennis Rodman's unit.

The first packer I bought from Wallyworld was a Cargill, marked Choice both on the fatcap in blue ink and on the plastic cryovac. IIRC it was around $1.89/pound. The local stores only carry Excell brand now and there are not any markings at all; so I'm not interested. For the ungraded package the price was over $2 a pound. For the most part I buy meat from Costco but they don't carry brisket packers. Made the mistake of buying a top round that was "select" I wont make that mistake twice :doh:
thanks,