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Thread: Where can I buy a good brisket in Austin?

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    Where can I buy a good brisket in Austin?

    Want something that's a little higher quality than my neighborhood HEB can provide. Any help is appreciated.

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    Define "higher quality"

    Choice? Prime? Wagyu?

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    I guess prime or choice. Wagyu seems overkill.

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    What part of Austin are you located?

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    despite several "grades" of brisket I have bought in the past, and some people telling me that they can tell a difference, I have repeatedly failed to find a correlation between the grade given to the side of beef and brisket quality that is cut from it. I have not ventured into the lower grades of meat - just prime, choice and select - and select seems hard to find.

    Now, there are qualities of the brisket itself to look for: I like not too large, not too small (I guess its around >14 < 19 lbs from personal experience, anyone else have a favorite range?), some reasonable marbling in the meat, tip of the flat is at least an inch thick, and I am not sure how to describe the shape of the brisket - but some are clearly "dysmorphic" - narrow with a very thick junction of point/flat or the junction seems wrapped around at a funny angle.

    Also, if a really great looking brisket has an odd cooking temperature profile then it is at risk of not turning out well - luckily this does not seem to happen very often.

    I remember cooking more than one "funny looking" briskets that gave me mixed results - I either couldnt get the flat & point done at the same time, or it was simultaneously overdone and tough. One of them with a bizarre temperature I cooked last month got to 170's and stayed there way too long, then hung in the 185 range before suddenly shooting to 200. I expected it to be crumbly but it was still kinda tough.

    I wish I could tell by looking too, but my primes taste like select, awesome.

  6. #6
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    Prime or Choice = Central Market
    You might have to order in advance, especially for Prime.

    Choice is always available at Restaurant Depot if you know anyone with a membership.

    Albertsons always has Choice, but I don't think they have stores in Austin.

    Other Choice options are an independent butcher or just getting lucky at a normal grocery store.

    Sam's has only carried Select for the past couple of years (at least in Austin and Dallas). I don't know about Costco.

  7. #7
    I think CostCo claims to only sell Choice or better. This begs the question -- is all the beef sourced from a given cow graded the same, or do they just grade indivual cuts?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alamo_Jake View Post
    What part of Austin are you located?
    Located in Oak Hill

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    You should try the Meat House on Bee Cave Road & Walsh-Tarlton Road. I have never purchased their brisket, but have tried several other cuts from there and been very pleased. It's an old school butcher shop with all the modern conveniences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyjazz View Post
    I think CostCo claims to only sell Choice or better. This begs the question -- is all the beef sourced from a given cow graded the same, or do they just grade indivual cuts?
    If this is better grade than what i can get at HEB this might be my best option.

  11. #11
    Call and ask first. I don't recall if their briskets are labeled as being Choice (or Prime, for that matter). Their steaks are clearly labeled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyjazz View Post
    I think CostCo claims to only sell Choice or better. This begs the question -- is all the beef sourced from a given cow graded the same, or do they just grade individual cuts?
    the scoring system only refers to qualities of the carcass that apply to grade....seems to me that means the whole thing gets the grade using the USDA system.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyjazz View Post
    Call and ask first. I don't recall if their briskets are labeled as being Choice (or Prime, for that matter). Their steaks are clearly labeled.
    look on the back (fat) side - should have a roller-inked marking indicating grade
    Last edited by beer; 09-29-2011 at 01:06 PM.

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    I have been happy with all of Costco's meats. Especially their briskets and pork shoulders.

  14. #14
    They have Choice All Natural Angus packers all the time at Central Market. They'll run you $35-45. If they're not out, just ask for them, they have a lot in the back.

    I won't use anything else (though I've never tried Prime). My last few briskets have been fantastic and I think one of the keys is the change to these briskets. I previously used Costco choice briskets and the CM briskets have always turned out a far superior final product.

    A friend has a theory that a lot of flavor and good fat distribution is lost by rushing the cattle to market size by using growth hormones so the CM briskets are better since they are growth hormone free. That could've been the beer talking.

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    Super HEB in Round Rock usually has prime brisket (or so the label says). I get my briskets from Lee's Meat Market when I want the good stuff.


  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by CooterBrown View Post
    They have Choice All Natural Angus packers all the time at Central Market. They'll run you $35-45. If they're not out, just ask for them, they have a lot in the back.

    I won't use anything else (though I've never tried Prime). My last few briskets have been fantastic and I think one of the keys is the change to these briskets. I previously used Costco choice briskets and the CM briskets have always turned out a far superior final product.

    What's the price per pound on these flavor-packed packers at CM?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyjazz View Post
    is all the beef sourced from a given cow graded the same, or do they just grade indivual cuts?
    All beef from a given cow is graded the same.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyjazz View Post
    What's the price per pound on these flavor-packed packers at CM?
    Usually $3.49 - $3.99/pound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Duke View Post
    All beef from a given cow is graded the same.
    Yeah, "yum".

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    Not always, but typically the ones at Randall's are USDA Choice by Excel. I have one in my fridge right now from the last time they were on sale.

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    Ok, along the same lines, from where and what kind of temperature probe should I buy? Thanks for all the suggestions.

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    Where can I buy a good brisket in Austin?
    LINK

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    Am still a brisket novice... But, for the most part, does the grade make that much of a difference? Hell, I would think if it's smoked properly, it's going to break down and turn into all sorts of deliciousness no matter the grade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DoobieWah View Post
    I don't know if it's still the case, but IIRC Aaron only uses Certified Angus, which would probably place it somewhere between Choice and Prime. Hard to say how much grading in brisket contributes to the final product. I'm also not sure how much I trust the "floppy" test (given that I've never heard a convincing explanation for what exactly it tests), but a lot of people swear by it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lidig8r View Post
    Am still a brisket novice... But, for the most part, does the grade make that much of a difference? Hell, I would think if it's smoked properly, it's going to break down and turn into all sorts of deliciousness no matter the grade.
    I would say yes.........the difference I hae seen (besides the taste) is I don't seem to get that rainbow shiny $#@! that shows up on ALL of my HEB briskets. Then again I could be smoking it wrong.

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    Ok, along the same lines, from where and what kind of temperature probe should I buy? Thanks for all the suggestions.
    I enjoy my thermapen. Not real cheap. Link

    If you are talking about a probe that you leave in it, they might sell those too, but I am not sure what the best ones are.

  27. #27
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    you can get one straight off the farm through Richardson Farms, but it'll be a hefty price

    http://richardsonfarms.com/Order_Form.htm

  28. #28
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    I'm also not sure how much I trust the "floppy" test
    I am not sure either, it seams to me that the plastic packer wrap can have a big bearing on that. If it is sealed nice and tight, it wont be as "floppy"...

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonestar3 View Post
    Ok, along the same lines, from where and what kind of temperature probe should I buy? Thanks for all the suggestions.
    Are you looking for an instant read thermometer or one that stays in the meat while you cook it with a remote display?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GringoSalado View Post
    Not always, but typically the ones at Randall's are USDA Choice by Excel. I have one in my fridge right now from the last time they were on sale.
    Yeah. I think they are the same thing as sold by costco

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Duke View Post
    Are you looking for an instant read thermometer or one that stays in the meat while you cook it with a remote display?
    got one at the bbq place off brodie with the two probes for the grill and the meat that has the alarm.

    picked up a 12lb'er from CM last night and a 1/4 cord of oak this morning. using my buddy's smoker which has a 3'x3' smoker box...not sure what i'm getting myself into.

  32. #32
    The briskets that Franklin uses are only 5 or 6 lbs each. I asked him about this and he said his supplier gives him beef that isn't fattened up like the cows that end up in places like HEB. They are grass fed without growth hormones and other yummies. Everyone thinks that it's his rub or smoking time/method (at that's part of it for sure), but I think the actual beef he uses is one of the main secrets to his success.
    Last edited by Craigcito; 09-30-2011 at 12:02 PM.

  33. #33
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    Omitting hormones alone won't give you a 7 lb brisket, but I have seen grass-fed mktg associations that ship 700-800 lb steers (vs 1,000-1,200 for fed cattle). The growth hormones do likely add to the total wt., but mostly they are used to increase the rate of gain. That is the holy grail the cattle feeding industry is ever pursuing.

    /nitpick

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonestar3 View Post
    got one at the bbq place off brodie with the two probes for the grill and the meat that has the alarm.

    picked up a 12lb'er from CM last night and a 1/4 cord of oak this morning. using my buddy's smoker which has a 3'x3' smoker box...not sure what i'm getting myself into.
    If you're firing up a smoker that large you need to cook a few more briskets. Assuming the pit is large enough, it's just as easy to cook 3-4 briskets as it is to cook 1.

  35. #35
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    No $#@!, was just trying to figure out what else I was going to throw on the pit. Is 1/4 cord even going to fuel that $#@!er for 12 hours?

  36. #36
    asshat BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall slams and goes hard. BattleHall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonestar3 View Post
    No $#@!, was just trying to figure out what else I was going to throw on the pit. Is 1/4 cord even going to fuel that $#@!er for 12 hours?
    With good fire control (and assuming it isn't super windy or raining), you can go a long way with not much wood; a 1/4 cord should be more than enough. Remember, a small hot fire running wide open is much better than a large, cool fire that has been damp'd back. You're looking for clean blue, almost clear smoke from the stack. It depends on the layout of the firebox, but sometimes you can bank the fire into the back corner to make it more contained. Also, an easy way to help control the heat without using the dampers is the "V-method" (only really works with a flat bottom firebox). Imagine an upside down V, with a small hot fire at the point and two logs as the legs at, say, a 90 degree angle. If you reduce the angle (bring the logs closer together), more radiant heat is trapped between the logs, causing them to burn faster and hotter. To cool it off a bit, you simply separate them a bit.

  37. #37
    asshat bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. bigbevo76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RR-Horn View Post
    Then again I could be smoking it wrong.
    You said it

  38. #38
    asshat Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84 can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. Rigo84's Avatar
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    For instaread I have this one, It's a quarter of the price it just doesnt bend and takes 2 to 3 seconds longer.
    http://www.amazon.com/RT600C-Super-f...7431924&sr=8-2


    For leave in, I this one. There is a new model though that is better for distance
    http://www.amazon.com/Maverick-Indus...7432083&sr=1-2

  39. #39
    asshat RR-Horn is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares? RR-Horn is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares? RR-Horn is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares? RR-Horn is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares? RR-Horn is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares? RR-Horn is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares? RR-Horn is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares? RR-Horn is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares? RR-Horn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbevo76 View Post
    You said it
    Just keeping cooking with me.......ready to see you place since your greatness was absent in Taylor!

  40. #40
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    furk...so at one point during my long night the temp dropped down to 130 :/ How much of an effect is that going to have on my brisket?

  41. #41
    None. Just get that smoker box back up to 225 F or so and keep on going.

  42. #42
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    There's also nothing wrong with cooking hotter than 225.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonestar3 View Post
    furk...so at one point during my long night the temp dropped down to 130 :/ How much of an effect is that going to have on my brisket?
    It'll be OK, better than cooking it too hot for a long period of time. That could lead to disaster and dry ass meat.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Duke View Post
    There's also nothing wrong with cooking hotter than 225.
    just started a new thread and have it @ 245 currently. not in any kind of hurry to get these done, so low and slow is on my side.

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