Texas Style Barbecue Beef Brisket is well known in barbecuing circles. It’s almost always a required item in barbecue competitions. However, this great tasting cut is not just for barbecue.
Now there’s certainly nothing wrong with barbecue brisket. I love it! The long slow cooking in a smoker creates a brisket that is really something special.
Selecting The Best Brisket
The key to great tasting and tender brisket cooked by any method begins with selecting the brisket. You need to be a little picky and not just grab the first one you see.
Brisket is a primal beef cut and is a long fibered muscle A5 PREMIUM JAPANESE WAGYU BEEF from the chest area of the beef critter. It’s located just below the first five ribs.
The brisket muscle is used for walking and because it’s so heavily used it is naturally tough. However, some briskets are tougher than others.
Selecting the tenderest brisket is a combination of skill and luck.
Beef Brisket Cuts
The first step in selecting brisket begins with which cut.
Whole beef brisket is normally in the 8 to 12 pound range and has an inner fat layer between the muscles that will not render during cooking. They are usually sold in cry-o-vac packaging and are not trimmed of excess fat.
Unless you have a lot of people to feed and are prepared to deal with all the fat steer clear of whole brisket.
Whole brisket is further divided into point cut and flat cut brisket. These cuts are in the 4 to 6 pound range and have been trimmed of most excess fat.
The point cut has much more interior fat than the flat cut. It’s a great cut for shredded beef but because of all the fat it doesn’t slice very well.
For sliced brisket you would want to select the flat cut.
Beef is sometimes graded for eating quality. All beef is inspected for wholesomeness but quality grading is voluntary and the packinghouse has to pay for it.
Of all the grades there are only three that are available at the retail level. The three grades are prime, choice and select.
Unless you order online you will probably never see the prime grade.
That leaves choice and select grades. Of the two the choice grade will have the best fat marbling and will result in a more tender brisket.
If your brisket is not quality graded then you could be getting any of the three grades. It’s all a matter of luck.
If you can get a good view of the non-graded brisket try to select the one with the best marbling.
If you can’t get a good view then go with a smaller brisket. It’s likely that a small brisket is from a younger animal and will be tenderer.
You can also perform a flexibility test. Place your hand vertically under the center of the brisket and let the brisket droop over the edges of your hand.