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Czarbecue
07-16-2017, 08:58 AM
Going to put this out there first... I am not talking about what Franklin Barbecue uses. He has access to some magical animal that we peasants do not have access to (and I am not paying $120 for a Creekstone brisket).

Yesterday I did my third cook with a prime brisket. I have done my briskets the same for the past year... so it has been about 3 primes and 4 choice. I notice marginal... MARGINAL differences in the end result. I opted to lose 4 pounds of brisket to get the prime cut and I am just not seeing any difference when I am paying 56% more from Choice to Prime. Maybe my palate is not refined enough.

What has been your experience?

kdub5
07-16-2017, 09:14 AM
I did a choice packer on Memorial Day, and I did a prime for the 4th. Same temps but the choice took much longer. The prime had nice marbling throughout the point and it rendered nicely. It melted in your mouth. The choice was much more tighter and that made me a believer in Prime. The prime flat was more dense and came out better than the choice. Cook time was almost 2 hours shorter

sudsandswine
07-16-2017, 09:15 AM
I would not pay for prime if I had to pay 50%+ more to do it. Here, thanks to Costco and Sam's, it's within 50 cents or so of choice, and until recently cost $3/lb. At $3.xx/lb I will buy prime because it's still cheap. I know there are some parts of the country where it's not possible to get any brisket at all for that price.

The briskets I did for the 4th were Angus choice from Sam's and they were fantastic. Couldn't really imagine them being any better.

ncmoose
07-16-2017, 09:18 AM
To me, choice to select is a big drop-off. My experience with prime is that they are somewhat juicier but they cook significantly quicker. My first one was not so juicy because I woke up anticipating it to be in the stall and it was quite past done

lastmajordude
07-16-2017, 09:18 AM
My local Sam’s NEVER has anything but select. On the other hand I’ve gotten 2 of my first 3 briskets from WAL MART !!......about every other load they get seems to have some.

Ron_L
07-16-2017, 09:20 AM
The thing to remember with brisket is that the carcass is graded based on a sample taken from the ribeye area (among other criteria), and mat not reflects the quality of the brisket. I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade.

toymaster
07-16-2017, 09:37 AM
What's stamped on the side of the meat doesn't always correlate to the meat inside. I've seen Choice briskets marbled like Prime and Prime briskets that looked worse than Choice. When they assign a grade to a beef carcass, they only see where they cut the beef carcass in half, between the 12th and 13th rib. Even the USDA will admit the marbling will change from the rib eye they look at for grading and the rest of the carcass.

That being said, the best thing you can do is inspect your brisket CAREFULLY. Spend some time to check your meat. See if you can bend the brisket in half (it matters). I will pull out every brisket at Restaurant Depot and separate them into 2 piles - good and bad. Then I reinspect the good pile and separate them into a good and bad pile. From that good pile, I'll pick the ones I will buy. Is it worth all that time and effort - YES. I cooked a Choice brisket last week that was closer to Prime than Choice. Starting off with a better piece of meat in the beginning with give you better odds of producing a better brisket in the end. Since I started doing this, I have been satisfied with most of my briskets (I screwed up some) and pleasantly surprised by a lot of them. So what if the people in Restaurant Depot think I'm crazy?:crazy: Brisket is 4 dollars a pound here :mad2:

m-fine
07-16-2017, 09:43 AM
USDA rating is ONLY based on marbling sample and ignores any other measures of quality. A higher fat but low flavor Holstein dairy cow may rank Prime but will offer a far inferior flavor to a 95%+ angus that rates Choice.

Prime at a big box store my be surplus dairy cow. Angus at these outlets may be less than 50% Angus. For quality meat you need to rely on third party certification or known ranches like CAB or the farmer down the road.

ClintHTX
07-16-2017, 09:44 AM
The thing to remember with brisket is that the carcass is graded based on a sample taken from the ribeye area (among other criteria), and mat not reflects the quality of the brisket. I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade.

The man speaks the truth. Also I could be wrong but from what I understand there is choice choice angus and prime. And choice angus would be dang near compared to prime where as just choice would be on the lower end of the spectrum near select.

m-fine
07-16-2017, 09:49 AM
The man speaks the truth. Also I could be wrong but from what I understand there is choice choice angus and prime. And choice angus would be dang near compared to prime where as just choice would be on the lower end of the spectrum near select.

There are sub grades of choice and Prime. CAB beef is high purity angus breed that rates in the higher end of Choice or Prime, plus passes other standards. A CAB brisket is very likely to be better than a low end Prime, but most meat labeled angus is not CAB.

Czarbecue
07-16-2017, 09:58 AM
The thing to remember with brisket is that the carcass is graded based on a sample taken from the ribeye area (among other criteria), and mat not reflects the quality of the brisket. I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade.



Yeah, my prime brisket was the last one at Costco and I panicked and took it. Looking back, the flat was a lot thinner than my normal choice cut I get from Walmart or Tom Thumb/Albertson's. The fat was more evenly distributed throughout the meat but it wasn't 56% "better" than what I would have gotten at Walmart.

Price point for reference is $2.56 vs 3.99 per pound.

EdF
07-16-2017, 09:58 AM
This article is pretty good: http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/05/beef-shopping-prime-high-choice-steak.html

pjtexas1
07-16-2017, 10:05 AM
There have been times where I couldn't find a prime in the case that I liked. If it's marked prime I expect it to be MARBLED. I also make the good and bad piles. :heh: first I look for marbling, then a thick flat, then floppyness. They are all floppy when you cut out that hard piece of fat and I can trim off the skinny end of the flat. If it's floppy you are not paying extra for something you are going to cut off anyway. I feel that if you cook enough briskets you can make any grade come out tender and juicy. I guess it's easier with a better cut though. I don't know if I can taste the difference anymore.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

sdpike
07-16-2017, 10:09 AM
Not all choice grade is the same and neither is prime. How's that for making it more difficult. The Prime restaurants get is superior to what us peasants can get. CAB choice is better and more expensive than other choice purchased at your super market. That's why you are seeing a lot of difference between the grades and not much at all other times
For me CAB choice is the go to brisket for family and friends

arclite
07-16-2017, 11:30 AM
At least I'm not the only guy at Costco that separates beef into piles, then subdivides into other piles, and if I'm not satisfied knocks on the window and asks if they have any more cryovac's in the back...

ClintHTX
07-16-2017, 11:42 AM
Yeah. I separate decent to sucky. Everyone looks at me like wow you must be cooking a lot. I tell them no I’m just trying to find the perfect one. Haha. It’s amazing how people just walk up there and grab on and on they go....

Jason TQ
07-16-2017, 11:47 AM
The thing to remember with brisket is that the carcass is graded based on a sample taken from the ribeye area (among other criteria), and mat not reflects the quality of the brisket. I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade.

Exactly this. And I also agree with ncmoose that I do see a drop off from choice to select. Prime to choice there may not be a huge difference. The 6 choices I cooked yesterday I'd put up against many primes I've cooked.

But the Prime I cooked last week on my drums was well marbled and I'd of put it up in a competition against wagyu.

All things being equal of course I'd rather have Prime most of the time if the price is the same.

16Adams
07-16-2017, 01:04 PM
The thing to remember with brisket is that the carcass is graded based on a sample taken from the ribeye area (among other criteria), and mat not reflects the quality of the brisket. I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade.

Ditto

smoke ninja
07-16-2017, 01:21 PM
I find prime to be consistently better choice as choice is consistently better than select. This may not always be the case but is true enough most of the time. As mentioned brisket can have several factors at play besides grade that affect potential. Id also agree that the difference from select to choice tends ti be greater than choice to prime.

The flat for primes i like better but sometimes the point is really fatty and needs more time than the flat to render.

ssv3
07-16-2017, 01:44 PM
What's stamped on the side of the meat doesn't always correlate to the meat inside. I've seen Choice briskets marbled like Prime and Prime briskets that looked worse than Choice. When they assign a grade to a beef carcass, they only see where they cut the beef carcass in half, between the 12th and 13th rib. Even the USDA will admit the marbling will change from the rib eye they look at for grading and the rest of the carcass.

That being said, the best thing you can do is inspect your brisket CAREFULLY. Spend some time to check your meat. See if you can bend the brisket in half (it matters). I will pull out every brisket at Restaurant Depot and separate them into 2 piles - good and bad. Then I reinspect the good pile and separate them into a good and bad pile. From that good pile, I'll pick the ones I will buy. Is it worth all that time and effort - YES. I cooked a Choice brisket last week that was closer to Prime than Choice. Starting off with a better piece of meat in the beginning with give you better odds of producing a better brisket in the end. Since I started doing this, I have been satisfied with most of my briskets (I screwed up some) and pleasantly surprised by a lot of them. So what if the people in Restaurant Depot think I'm crazy?:crazy: Brisket is 4 dollars a pound here :mad2:

The thing to remember with brisket is that the carcass is graded based on a sample taken from the ribeye area (among other criteria), and mat not reflects the quality of the brisket. I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade.

There have been times where I couldn't find a prime in the case that I liked. If it's marked prime I expect it to be MARBLED. I also make the good and bad piles. :heh: first I look for marbling, then a thick flat, then floppyness. They are all floppy when you cut out that hard piece of fat and I can trim off the skinny end of the flat. If it's floppy you are not paying extra for something you are going to cut off anyway. I feel that if you cook enough briskets you can make any grade come out tender and juicy. I guess it's easier with a better cut though. I don't know if I can taste the difference anymore.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk


What these guys said. I've had primes that were average but I've changed the way I shop for briskets and all the above guys have very valid points. I almost always get and cook a good brisket now regardless of the grade.

Now, the absolute best briskets I've ever had have been the SRF Gold Label Wagyu's hands down. Expensive yes but nothing comes close to it. Huuuge difference.

Floppy has always been a sure bet like Paul said.

http://i.imgur.com/eQAmtANh.jpg

Czarbecue
07-16-2017, 02:12 PM
Thanks everyone for the education today. Now I know I won't be escorted out of the store if I make a mess of their brisket case.

I've tried the floppy test but sometimes it's just too cold for it to bend. Talking about Costco since I presume most are being thawed out when they put them out the night before.

I drove to Walmart at 5 am this morning.. emergency milk run for the kids. Walked past a choice brisket that looked and handled great! But I still have about 3 pounds of leftover brisket and the wife would kill me if I came back from a milk run with more meat to cook. I hate freezing raw meat and I have 30 pounds of pork shoulder in my deep freeze.

Nuco59
07-16-2017, 03:17 PM
You might not be the only one to separate the briskets - but do you give a deep growl when someone ambles up and starts pawing thru your "possibles" pile?
/guilty
/so ashamed

Wife says I need to check that- I'm a work in progress.

Smoker34
07-16-2017, 03:17 PM
I've never even seen select meat anywhere; I wouldn't buy it anyway. In my experience, prime packers are exponentially better than any choice one I've ever made. The choice ones I've done always come out dry, especially the flat. I'm a big fan of Creekstone primes; this is what Aaron Franklin uses, I believe. Although mine don't come out like his (I've been there), they are always very tender, moist and flavorful. It's worth the extra expense, in my opinion.

ClintHTX
07-16-2017, 03:35 PM
You might not be the only one to separate the briskets - but do you give a deep growl when someone ambles up and starts pawing thru your "possibles" pile?
/guilty
/so ashamed

Wife says I need to check that- I'm a work in progress.

My possible pile goes into my cart until I determine which is best. Itís a crude world out there.

Macky
07-16-2017, 03:40 PM
"I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade"

Ron nailed it! I find the best price relative to these three variables and never look at the grade! 👍

JayQ
07-16-2017, 03:45 PM
The thing to remember with brisket is that the carcass is graded based on a sample taken from the ribeye area (among other criteria), and mat not reflects the quality of the brisket. I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade.

Absofarkinlutly....

Macky
07-16-2017, 03:47 PM
Deleted

Smokesignalsfromtx
07-16-2017, 04:00 PM
The thing to remember with brisket is that the carcass is graded based on a sample taken from the ribeye area (among other criteria), and mat not reflects the quality of the brisket. I look for a thick flat, large point and the best marbling. Those are more important to me than the quality grade.

^^^^^This

Almost every time I go to the store, I will scope out the briskets. I generally (almost never) impulse buy a brisket or cook one either. If I see one I can't refuse, I'll snag it, if not, I'll continue my search for the right one. I only cook Choice. I've tried prime, but I guess I'm not holding my tongue right or something, because it seems like the choice come out better for me. I ALWAYS get mine at Walmart as well......

BadkissonTT
07-16-2017, 11:12 PM
You know, i really don't understand you guys who aren't daily USDA meat inspectors saying the "grade" isn't something you look at...

Really ? Thumbing your nose to the man and his PRIME stamp ?

Well, go on with bad self !!!...LOL

Now that doesn't mean i'll just pick up a prime and throw it in and go...yeah, size thin/thickness matter

But....4' or 5' away from the camera, ok i get it....I'll take the man's word for it.....

Smok'n B&Q
07-17-2017, 12:52 AM
If I'm going to spend 24 hours preparing and smoking a brisket, .50 to $2 isn't an issue to me. I do not have much time to experiment, outside of the type of rub I may want to use/create. I know if I look through the prime that Costco has up front or in the back I have a good chance to pick up a quality chunk of meat. Then it's up to me to prepare and cook it correctly.

Czarbecue
07-17-2017, 01:00 AM
If I'm going to spend 24 hours preparing and smoking a brisket, .50 to $2 isn't an issue to me.

From my experience, prime reheats better... and probably because of the better marbling. But the goal is not to make leftovers when I que up.

I'm planning on making four good size briskets for the Mayweather/McConor shibacle next month and still deciding on choice or prime. The increase adds up, especially at $2 more a pound.

And yeah, the fight will probably last 2 minutes but that's another topic!

16Adams
07-17-2017, 06:47 AM
If I'm going to spend 24 hours preparing and smoking a brisket, .50 to $2 isn't an issue to me. I do not have much time to experiment, outside of the type of rub I may want to use/create. I know if I look through the prime that Costco has up front or in the back I have a good chance to pick up a quality chunk of meat. Then it's up to me to prepare and cook it correctly.

My brisket prep takes seconds;open cryo place in cooker to minutes light medium extreme trim season place in cooker. Please detail your 24 hour prep.
24 Hour QPrep I would be at the Betty Ford Clinic :-)

CentralOhioBBQ
07-18-2017, 11:01 AM
The thing is, My Costco only gets Prime packers. All the Choice Briskets are flats only. Does Walmart or Sams have Choice packers? I'd be interested to try a few, I've only done prime packers. I've only used choice flats to make corned beef and pastrami...

Czarbecue
07-18-2017, 12:37 PM
The thing is, My Costco only gets Prime packers. All the Choice Briskets are flats only. Does Walmart or Sams have Choice packers? I'd be interested to try a few, I've only done prime packers. I've only used choice flats to make corned beef and pastrami...



Walmarts are only Choice in my area. No prime whatsoever. They made the recent shift in their standard to Choice a few years ago when they were bragging about how good their steaks are.

sudsandswine
07-18-2017, 12:46 PM
The thing is, My Costco only gets Prime packers. All the Choice Briskets are flats only. Does Walmart or Sams have Choice packers? I'd be interested to try a few, I've only done prime packers. I've only used choice flats to make corned beef and pastrami...

Sam's in my area has carried packers of both in the past, though during my last 2 visits there was only choice packers.

arclite
07-18-2017, 01:29 PM
The thing is, My Costco only gets Prime packers. All the Choice Briskets are flats only. Does Walmart or Sams have Choice packers? I'd be interested to try a few, I've only done prime packers. I've only used choice flats to make corned beef and pastrami...

Stick with the Costco Prime packers. The value is still good, and like many things Costco, they could eventually go away.

pharp
07-18-2017, 08:15 PM
The thing is, My Costco only gets Prime packers. All the Choice Briskets are flats only. Does Walmart or Sams have Choice packers? I'd be interested to try a few, I've only done prime packers. I've only used choice flats to make corned beef and pastrami...

I always ask at WM. The ones here get select and choice..but they don't change price with the grade (I am sure some computer program tells them when to raise prices). Several times I have seen selects in cooler, asked if they had more in back and they have brought out choice. Nothing like grabbing them at $2.44/lb.

THoey1963
07-19-2017, 05:23 PM
I have made select, choice, and prime, and feel that at the lesser cost that we can get them in Texas, I won't even look at selects any more, and rarely even think about the choice. I feel that paying a little more per pound has made the meat a little more forgiving, and thus my end result turns out better.

I did have someone ask me to cook three briskets for them for a party. I told them I preferred Primes. They decided that was too expensive and went "another way". In total, we were talking the difference between $100 (three select) and $150 (three Primes). I was glad they walked away and smoked up a bunch of sausages as my donation to their party. Their friends thanked me for bringing the sausages as their other way was meh...

An excerpt from the brisket document I created from everything I learned here at the Brethren:

Shopping for the brisket:

- Here in SoTex, we have access to cheaper briskets. I watch for Primes to go on sale and buy a couple of them at around $3 a pound.
- I shoot for somewhere in the 14-16 pound range.
- I will go through every brisket they have, picking them out. I look for a brisket that has a thick flat and a thick point. It might make it more narrow, but less chance of drying out.
- I love a nice, floppy brisket. Grab it from one end and shake it up and down and see how "loose" the meat is. The last one I bought would easily fold over on itself and sit on the counter that way.