Beef Brisket

Alfredo the Butcher vignette

Our Manager, Alfredo Lopez, talks about Beef Brisket which is popular this time of year:

“All cuts of beef start with nine basic areas of the steer. These areas are called primal cuts, though the precise definition of each cut differs internationally. Piedmont Grocery buys the primal cuts of beef from our vendors and then we break them down into sub-primal cuts here at the store. Other markets will buy them already broken down. We prefer to have more control over the cuts to make sure we get the best quality.

The Brisket is the cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of Beef or Veal, sometimes referred to as the foreleg or foreshank. The brisket is made up of two parts. The “flat” section is the meatier part of the brisket. The “Deckle” or “Point” of the brisket has more fat.

Because of it’s location on the steer, the brisket is a tougher cut of meat and requires moist, slow heat to cook it to perfection. Brisket is also fantastic when cooked in a smoker.”

Brisket is probably most known as the cut of choice for making corned beef and Pastrami. Both are easy to make yourself but require time, as you are essentially pickling or preserving the meat before cooking it. If you are interested in corning your own beef, check out our What’s For Dinner Wednesday post on Corned Beef

Here’s a recipe for Smoked BBQ Brisket by Bobby Flay. And if you are looking for a traditional barbecue, here is a recipe where your brisket will come out smokey, moist, and tender with plenty for leftovers.

Barbecue Brisket—Texas Style
Adapted from Epicurious
Yields 10 to 12 servings

Choose a cut that is untrimmed, with a thick sheath of fat. This brisket is cooked in a shallow pan. The pan keeps the juices from dripping onto the fire and the meat from drying out, while allowing for the maximum smoke penetration from the top. You will need to smoke the brisket in a traditional charcoal BBQ and not a gas grill.

Note: You will need 4 to 8 hours to cure the meat and 6 hours to cook the brisket.

Special Equipment
6 cups hickory or mesquite chips or chunks
Charcoal Grill

1 beef brisket (5 to 6 pounds), with a layer of fat at least 1/4 inch thick, preferably 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Optional condiment
Texas-style BBQ sauce


Cure the brisket
Rinse the brisket under cold running water and blot it dry with paper towels.

Combine the salt, chili powder, sugar, pepper, and cumin in a bowl and toss to mix. Rub the spice mixture on the brisket on all sides. Wrap the brisket in plastic, place it in the fridge, and allow it to cure for 4 to 8 hours (or overnight).

Grill the brisket
Soak the wood chips in cold water for one hour, covered. Drain.

Set up a charcoal grill for indirect grilling and preheat it to low. No drip pan is necessary for this recipe.

When the grill has come to temperature, toss 1-1/2 cups of the wood chips on the coals (3/4 cup per side). Place the brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum foil pan. Place the pan in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat. Cover the grill.

Smoke cook the brisket until it is tender enough to shred with your fingers (about 6 to 8 hours). The cooking time will depend on the size of the brisket and the heat of the grill. Baste the brisket occasionally with the fat and juices that accumulate in the pan.

You will need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side every hour and toss more soaked wood chips on the fresh coals. Add about 3/4 cup chips on each side every time you replenish the coals during the first 3 hours.

Remove the brisket pan from the grill and allot it to rest for 15 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and thinly slice it across the grain, using a sharp knife. Transfer the sliced meat to a platter, pour the pan juices on top, and serve at once.



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