What Should I Look For When Buying A Brisket [Shopping Tips]

There is nothing as delicious as a well-cooked brisket. Unfortunately, the art of properly cooking a brisket is a skill that not many people have learned, and even fewer have learned to do well. Regardless of what brisket cut you buy or how you cook your briskets, the first step in any good brisket is purchasing the right brisket. This is as important as the cooking process itself.

When buying a brisket, the meat should contain a high level of marbling; the brisket should be well-trimmed with as little fat as possible and a ¼ inch fat cap on the flat. The brisket should be uniformly thick and not be discolored in any way. Always buy the best brisket you can afford.

what should I look for when buying a brisket

When buying a brisket, there are several characteristics to look out for. It is easy to buy an inferior brisket that will always be disappointing no matter how well it is cooked. 

The best briskets come from the best quality meat. So let’s look at some tips on buying the best brisket possible for your budget.

What To Look For When Buying A Brisket

The brisket you buy ultimately determines how good the brisket will be when cooked. The better the brisket, the better the eating will be. A poor-quality brisket will never be as good as a high-quality brisket, regardless of how it’s cooked or how experienced the chef who cooks it is.

Buying the best quality brisket that you can afford is vital for preparing the best possible brisket. There are several cooking methods for briskets, all of which are rendered moot if the brisket itself is not good.

Let’s learn what to look for when buying a brisket to get the best possible quality from the meat. Regardless of how well you cook the meat or which cut of brisket you buy.

Here is a shortlist of the most important characteristics of any brisket and what to look for when buying your next brisket.

The Size, Shape, And Uniformity Of The Brisket

The first thing to look out for when buying a brisket is probably the first thing you will notice when purchasing any meat: the overall size of the brisket, the shape of the brisket, and how uniform the brisket is.

It is important that the brisket be a good size, regardless of the cut that you buy. This is because all briskets will shrink somewhat during the cooking process, and the ultimate size of the meat at the end of the smoking process will be much smaller than the size of the meat when raw.

The shape of the brisket is essential as the meat should cook as evenly as possible. If the meat is too square, it won’t be easy to place the meat over the heat evenly.

The overall uniformity of the brisket is vital. The brisket must not have too much of a taper toward one end, particularly the flat cut end of the brisket. The flat should be at least one inch thick and as uniform in size as possible to ensure that the meat cooks evenly.

The Fat On The Meat

The fat on a brisket plays a vital role in how the meat cooks. Therefore, it is important to choose a brisket that does not have too much untrimmed fat when buying a brisket. 

Most of the fat on a brisket will be removed before cooking, so buying a brisket with a lot of fat is a waste of money.

The ideal brisket has a ¼ inch thick fat cap on the flat of the brisket and almost no hard fat on the point of the brisket. The fat should be as white as possible with no yellow or green discoloration.

Fat is vital for flavor in brisket. But too much fat is bad. While the hard fat on a brisket is inedible and should be entirely removed before cooking. If the butcher has removed this fat from the brisket, it’s a plus since it reduces the cost of the meat.

The Marbling Within The Meat

Marbling is the most critical characteristic to look for in a good brisket. 

Marbling is not the layers of fat on the outside of the meat but rather narrow fat channels within the meat itself. This fat will render and melt into the meat. The majority of the brisket flavor comes from the marbling in the meat.

Without marbling, the meat will dry out very quickly. It will not become tender and juicy, and it will be challenging to cook and tough to eat.

Always buy the best brisket that you can afford with as much marbling as possible. Regardless of the meat’s cut or quality.

The Overall Quality Of The Brisket

The USDA grades all briskets. The best briskets to buy according to this grading are prime briskets. Choice grade briskets are good too, but they are not as good as prime. 

Select grade brisket is not worth buying, especially for long cooking processes such as smoking. However, even the best cooks cannot get much from a bad quality brisket.

The overall best quality brisket to buy is Wagyu. But this brisket is very expensive. So if you are working to a budget, rather but the best quality over the size.

Buying A Brisket Cut

Most butchers sell three cuts of brisket: the pointcut, the flat cut, and a packer cut or a full brisket. These cuts refer to the sections of the brisket.

If the brisket is sold as a flat cut, only the flat section of the brisket is sold. The point cut is only the point section of the brisket, and the packer brisket cut is the whole brisket.

The packer is the best value for money as there is typically more meat, and buying in bulk offers more value. In addition, buying a packer is more versatile as it can be cooked in more ways than one of the single cuts of briskets.

However, the most commonly used and best single cut of brisket is the flat cut. This cut is very easy to cook, is very tasty, and is typically the least expensive brisket cut.

Final Word

When buying a brisket. The best overall brisket will be one that is uniform in size, contains plenty of marbling, is well trimmed, has as little fat on it as possible, has a ¼ inch fat cap, and is the full packer brisket cut.

These are the most important characteristics to look for in brisket. But the best practice is to always buy the best brisket that you can afford within your budget. Poor quality briskets produce poor quality eating.

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