View Full Version : Graduation Briskets (Pron)

06-05-2017, 03:26 PM
I had a friend contact me, she had eaten some of my brisket at the bar when we had a memorial for her father after he had passed away. She said my brisket was the best she had ever tasted. I thanked her and politely told her that she need to try more places, as I am sure mine is not the best in Texas. She was wondering if I would cook some briskets for her son's graduation party and that she would pay me. I said sure and we discussed that she wanted three and wouldn't mind if there were leftovers that she could seal and freeze. No probs. She asked how much I would charge her and I said I'll buy the meat, you cover that and then give me what you think it's worth.

I was at HEB a week later (5/13) and found three primes that were really good, so I got them and sent her a picture of the receipt. It was $156 for three Primes that averaged 17 pounds ($2.99 per pound). I didn't have freezer space (need to work on that soon), so I decided they could wet age for that long. This ended up causing me to panic, as they smelled a little odd when I opened them, but after rinsing and trimming, and a LOT of talks with fellow Brethren, I stepped away from the ledge. Later, as I pulled them out to rub down, they smelled fine and I was good to go.

Rubbed them with SPOG and a little Paprika for color, and into my cabinet at 1:30 AM running around 225* with some pecan chunk scraps and four big chunks of cherry. Checked them every couple of hours. Around 7 AM, I kicked the Guru up to 275*. I started probing them around 9 AM and pulled them at noon. Rested on the counter for 20 mins, and then wrapped in foil and into a warm oven until I sliced them at 3:30 PM. Two of them were perfect except for the ever elusive smoke ring, which was barely noticeable. The third was slightly over done. It had a couple of edges I needed to trim off and crumbled a little at the ends. Other than that, it was pretty good too. Sliced them all up, separated all the Flats in one pan and the Points in another.

When I got over there, she and her friend asked if they could split a piece before everyone was ready to eat. I said it's yours, so they quickly pulled a slice in half, ate it and made sounds like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Everyone loved the brisket. As I was leaving, she gave me a check and asked if that was enough. I didn't look, told it her was, folded it in half and put it in my wallet. I wasn't expecting much, did it more as a gift for a friend, and I am not a professional yet. I looked later, she gave me $200. Could have been more. If I start doing it as a side business, I'll have to come up with my rates.













Thanks for looking!

06-05-2017, 03:50 PM
That looks incredible. Good job.

06-05-2017, 04:03 PM
Man that is really good looking brisket. Regarding your pricing....I know it's hard to charge people you know what you should charge, but if I'm reading this correctly you got $44 to cook? I've told a lot of my friends how long things like brisket take to cook. They usually have no idea how long good BBQ can take. Did you let her know the time commitment? If not, then you need to make it known next time you're cooking for friends, young Jeddi warrior.....

***If however, the $200 was on top of the $156 please disregard my comments....or at least know $200 for cooking that long is a lot more reasonable than $44

06-05-2017, 04:04 PM
But, your time and the job you did is worth more than $200. That puts you in a hard spot and most people don't understand the labor of cooking. But when you consider your gas going and getting the meat. The fuel you used and your time of cooking. It's worth considerably more.

06-05-2017, 04:23 PM
Yes, that was total including the price of the meat. By "could have been more", I expected at least $100 on top of the costs, but then again, this was for a friend (not close, just a friend), I probably would have done it once for cost alone.

I have another BBQ friend that says "I'll buy the brisket and cook it for you for $100". That's probably closer to what I would expect. I think Bill Miller's charges $10 a pound cooked. Even if I got 50% yield after trim and cook, there had to be around 25 pounds of cooked meat.

Again, I am not complaining about what she paid me. This time. Next time, I will probably establish a rate...

06-05-2017, 04:44 PM
Looks like you nailed it! Nicely done :)

06-05-2017, 05:08 PM
briskets look like they are tender and juicy. as far as pricing i typically charge $25 per brisket plus the cost of the brisket for friends. for really good friends they don't get charged as i typically owe them for something else they have done for me. i am not a caterer and never really plan to be either. i just like to cook briskets.

06-05-2017, 05:45 PM
Reminds me of my woodworking days, folks wanted custom bookcases and used Walmart $88 particle board POS as a reference. I just smiled and said I could not start my saws for that price.

tom b
06-05-2017, 05:50 PM
Nice work Terry. It would be practically impossible to put a price to all that work and time spent.

06-05-2017, 06:04 PM
The briskets look great. Maybe down the road, it will be"paid forward" to you.

06-05-2017, 06:18 PM
Good job Terry, yes most people don't understand the cost and time involved in smoking a brisket you have your Charcoal, Smoking wood, rubs, foil pans and your time and let's not forget the $3000.00 dollar smoker you used.

What you got out of it was a good felling helping out a friend and another Brisket cook under your belt so a little more experience that didn't cost you much.

06-05-2017, 07:17 PM
Man, I sure miss my HEB at I10 and De Zavala. I bet they have live crawfish right now

northeast bbqer
06-05-2017, 07:33 PM
That's some great looking brisket Terry! Awesome job.

Notorious Q.U.E.
06-05-2017, 08:44 PM
Reminds me of my woodworking days, folks wanted custom bookcases and used Walmart $88 particle board POS as a reference. I just smiled and said I could not start my saws for that price.

Love the comment HouseDoc! I feel like there's a race to the bottom where the lowest bidder is thought of as the going rate. People start confusing maximum vs minimum. Hats off to you for holding firm and protecting the craft

06-05-2017, 09:15 PM
Those LSG cabinets seem to work well... :-D

Happy Hapgood
06-05-2017, 09:35 PM
Your a Super Nice Guy but that to me was not near enough to cover your time and materials. The brisket looks done to Perfection!

06-05-2017, 09:45 PM
looks great! the cook that I did last weekend, the guy bought the meat and gave me $60 on top of that for 3 briskets, chix and green beans.

06-06-2017, 12:35 AM
Good looking briskets. That is a tough situation. I sell residential building materials for a living and more often then not I don't make what I want when I sell and install for friends.

06-06-2017, 07:11 AM
Yessir you nailed those briskets as always Terry.

06-06-2017, 08:34 AM
Terry, I apologize for not knowing who Bill Miller is, but have you seen what Arron Franklin is charging per pound for his brisket? By the look of your cook it seems comparable considering how most commercialized BBQ joints are. I've tried Franklins, and honestly, it was good, but that is comparing it to the others out there. Our "labor of love" is often underrated even by ourselves.

06-06-2017, 10:52 AM
I have read all this thread and I have to disagree with most of what was written.
This is all IMHO and I don't wish to offend anyone. Especially not the OP THoey1963 who has produced what I see as top rate brisket.
Our hobby, like every other hobby, costs us money.
When we cook for ourselves, family or friends we do it for our own fun and their enjoyment. The praise we receive, the looks on people's faces and the sounds they make while taking a bite is all we need to keep us going.

This has nothing to do with business thinking. And you never mix hobby with business.
Business is about one thing - you all know it.
If I employ a cost analysis to the brisket producing process I'll take into consideration a lot of what was written here:
Raw materials - meat
Other consumables - charcoal, wood, disposable pans, aluminum foil, cleaning materials etc.
Transportation - buying the meat and delivering the finished product.
Depreciation - the cooker has a finite # of cooks before it must be replaced. Take the cost of the cooker and divide it by this #. You came one cook closer to having to replace it.
Cooker maintenance - I have no idea what's required to maintain this cooker. But it probably needs to be protected from the elements, oiled, painted and so on. Also some portion of these expenses is to be appropriated to this cook.
Labour - or more accurately - the alternative cost of labour. What would THoey1963 have done instead of cooking for his friend. And how much has he lost by not doing that. Even if he had done nothing instead of cooking - not resting is also a financial lost.
On top of all that add a reasonable profit for the food business say 15-20%. And that would be the price of the cook going bottom up.
The other way would be to aggregate smoked brisket prices from local restaurants. Find an average or half point. Reduce a discount for a non professional caterer (No offence). And that would be the price top down.
All this goes out the window after THoey1963 said to his friend "give me what you think it's worth."
No business would say that. No one can expect a fair amount after saying that. It could be either the friend had no idea about the smoking process. Or they didn't plan to spend more then $200 on food and thought this would be a way to go. Or they thought this was a friendly cook and no need to pay for your time. Like if they went to your house for dinner. Or anything else.

THoey1963 I'm sure you'll keep making wonderful brisket. Next time someone asks you to cater for them, take one of these roads for your own ease of mind:
Have them pay for the meat alone or even buy it themselves. Don't charge anything else. Do it for fun and friendship.
- or -
Ask for a restaurant delivery price less 15-10%. Make it pure business.
Don't mix. :grin:

06-06-2017, 11:27 AM
Good cook Terry, I think OferL ^ brings up some good points. I think most people who don't understand what's involved when cooking a piece of meat like a brisket grossly underestimate the labor and effort that it takes to put out a quality product. Obviously I don't know the person at all, but I would hate to think someone would take advantage of your willingness to help them. These people (and we all know people like this) are just flat out cheap. If it was me I would give them a one time pass, but going forward...

06-06-2017, 11:30 AM
Good lookin' brisket Terry!

06-06-2017, 12:04 PM
Again, one day, BBQ may become a small side business for myself. They say if you love what you do, it won't feel like work. But at this time, this was cooking for just a (not close) friend. She offered to pay for the meat and my services, but since I am not there yet, I was the one that left the fee up in the air. What she gave is fine, and she did ask me if it was enough, but I didn't even look at it. Would I do that much again for that rate? Probably not. But, by then, I'll establish a rate and go from there.

Thanks for all your comments. We all know it wasn't enough if you factor in all the items OferL mentioned (Nice write up Sir!). But that was my fault / choice / option. :wink:

06-06-2017, 12:18 PM
Good looking brisket. My thoughts on how much to charge; you won't get what it's worth. If I were to cook a brisket for a group of people I'd try to get them to agree that I'd also provide sides. Sides are cheap and I can prepare them while I'm smoking the meat. And providing a whole meal seems like a better deal to the participants than just a couple slices of meat.

06-06-2017, 12:44 PM
Reminds me of my woodworking days, folks wanted custom bookcases and used Walmart $88 particle board POS as a reference. I just smiled and said I could not start my saws for that price.

One of my obsession/side jobs is woodworking and I can't tell you how many times dumb people have asked me to build a custom cabinet or entertainment center, murphy bed, etc and, after I spend two hours sourcing lumber, hardware, drawing it all out and letting them know what it'll cost, they come back and say "Really??? I can go to Ikea and..." by then I've already hung up.


That, sir, is how food pron is done. Outstanding!