Texas Barbecue has a Brisket problem

The latest outlook from J.C.Reid:

Why the days of brisket as a Texas barbecue joint staple may be numbered (msn.com)

Prime, prime, prime, prime, prime - you don’t need USDA prime to make good barbecue.

And another thing - please don’t go back to serving beef shoulder.


Maybe the pit boss can source direct to the cattlemen and skip costs associated with the middlemen? Cargil, JBS and National get a cut from 70% of the beef sold in the US. Cutting them out and going to the ranchers directly might save the restaurant owner 10% to 20% of their beef cost.
Then I think about how well sourcing direct went for the Sri Racha guy.
The main problem I see is that cattlemen are not set up to finish their beef, they sell calves and the feed-lots fatten 'em up on corn. Living for a couple months in a feed-lot does not just fatten them up it also makes the meat more tender, I believe.
When we butcher our own cattle, they tend to be leaner and a little tougher (and tastier) than the same cuts that are store bought.

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Barbecue was always, we thought, about making a lot out of a less exalted part of the cow, including the brisket, which usually means slowly and surely. Better the prime brisket find its way elsewhere where the beef is enjoyed as beef, rather as a waste of pit master craft.


I think I’ve only had prime brisket once, at Killen’s in Pearland. I was right in front of the man when he exclaimed about how good the meat looked. So I doubled my order. His knife cut through the meat almost like he was cutting whipped cream. I didn’t care for it; it was like eating a plateful of smoked fat.

I saw another article on this a few years ago recommending high choice quality over prime for bbq but can’t find it now.


I’ve never liked Prime beef. It’s way too fatty for me. It also seems like a big waste to use it in barbecue.