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Old 08-06-2019, 01:18 PM
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Is there a brisket shortage?


I've had it in my head now for a few weeks to bake a brisket. Usually when this happens I let the idea marinate, waiting until I see a really big one on sale. But this week, it blossomed into an intention, and I've been to three different stores now, with no brisket at all in sight.

Now, I know I could just drop by the butcher at Wegman's and tell them what I want; they would order it for me. But that means paying full specialty pricing for the meat when the entire point of a brisket is you pay very little and then cook it down into a concentrated slug-in-the-mouth of flavor.

So I ask you, what gives? Where is all the brisket?

Last edited by TruCelt; 08-06-2019 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:21 PM
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I've noticed certain cuts of meat sometimes vanish. I assume this is always the case, but we don't usually notice it because it's not there, and other stuff is to grab out attention. It hits when you have this situation you describe and something you always assumed is there all the time you find out is only occasionally there.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:40 PM
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I almost never see brisket at the supermarket, and I don't think I've seen them very often. Meijer occasionally has a couple.

with one exception; they always have those brisket sections in corned beef brine in sealed bags. but a plain, raw brisket? pretty rare. in some way I can understand why, a whole brisket is a big piece of meat, and chances are anyone seeking one out is going to smoke it.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:43 PM
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Alarming data point follows...

I like to smoke brisket, either uncured for Texas-style barbeque, or cured to make pastrami. For what seems like ages, my Costco had full packer briskets, prime grade, for some stupidly low price per pound.

As of my last few visits, they only have choice grade brisket flats. Still a good price, but not what I've been looking for.
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Old 08-06-2019, 03:14 PM
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Just checking my local stores it seems there are very few available, and none on sale. Kroger has choice packer briskets at $1.99 lb. My guess is that most folks don't want to stand outside tending a smoker for twelve hours in the summer. All winter long the stores will have brisket as a loss-leader in their ads.
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Old 08-06-2019, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bayaker View Post
My guess is that most folks don't want to stand outside tending a smoker for twelve hours in the summer. All winter long the stores will have brisket as a loss-leader in their ads.
I would agree with this. My take on this is that brisket availability is somewhat seasonal due to lack of summer demand among the general public and probably increased demand from professional BBQers. With that being said, my local had whole cryovac packet briskets available - for the same price-per-pound as ground chuck. I don't need a brisket that badly.
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Old 08-06-2019, 04:31 PM
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I saw plenty of them at the grocery this last weekend. Didn't catch the price, but there were a lot. I'm guessing some combination of regional and seasonal demand would be what's going on, i.e. there's a lot of demand in Texas(or wherever) during the summer, and they meet that by supplying less to places without the demand, like say... Washington DC.

The price has gone up quite a bit overall in the last decade or so for brisket I've noticed though- I'm guessing home barbecuing of brisket has become more of a thing than it was previously (elsewhere; it's always been a thing here in Texas), driving up prices.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:16 PM
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I'm surprised Wegmans doesn't have it. I'm sure I've seen it at Wegmans locations in New York and Maryland, though I haven't looked recently. It can't hurt to ask the butcher on duty.

My local Walmart super-center always seems to have it but sometimes you have to buy a whole brisket, which is 12 or 15 lb., I guess. Sometimes they have smaller pieces of brisket at a higher price per pound.
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:07 PM
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Brisket is at record prices right now. Though probably too early to have an effect at the grocery today, the US also just struck a deal with the EU to increase amounts exported from here.
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
I saw plenty of them at the grocery this last weekend. Didn't catch the price, but there were a lot. I'm guessing some combination of regional and seasonal demand would be what's going on, i.e. there's a lot of demand in Texas(or wherever) during the summer, and they meet that by supplying less to places without the demand, like say... Washington DC.

The price has gone up quite a bit overall in the last decade or so for brisket I've noticed though- I'm guessing home barbecuing of brisket has become more of a thing than it was previously (elsewhere; it's always been a thing here in Texas), driving up prices.
Yeah, it's as easy to get a brisket here as it is to get a raw ham in Kentucky. Similarly, you have a hard time getting a raw ham here and hard time getting raw full briskets in Kentucky. It's usually due to high demand in one place and low demand in another.
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:42 PM
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I have never seen beef labeled brisket in a grocery store. Does it have another name?
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:04 PM
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I have never seen beef labeled brisket in a grocery store. Does it have another name?
It's sometimes separated into the point and the flat. I think it would still be called brisket, though, unless it was corned.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:17 PM
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Aldi is advertising brisket this week, salt and pepper or "Texas barbecue," for $4.99/lb. starting tomorrow.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jnglmassiv View Post
It's sometimes separated into the point and the flat. I think it would still be called brisket, though, unless it was corned.
Maybe it's just not popular here because point and flat aren't familiar either. Well, flat for beef, that is - McKinnons has flat iron pork steaks. Around here beef is mostly chuck roast, pot roast, top/bottom round, tenderloin, sirloin, ribs, tips...
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Pork Rind View Post
Alarming data point follows...

I like to smoke brisket, either uncured for Texas-style barbeque, or cured to make pastrami.
The popularity of both of these things has made the cut less cheap than they were 60-70 years ago. It’s one reason a lot of the cheap, traditional New York delis have either gone upscale or disappeared.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:40 PM
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I can go to BJ's and find 1-2 whole flats. The big supermarket will carry highly trimmed pieces of flat cut into smaller portions. If I'm looking for a whole flat, it all depends on whether I can get to them before they've broken down all the shipment. Smaller supermarkets don't carry it at all, unless one goes into a Jewish neighborhood (and then it's only flat cut into ~2 lb. pieces).

Can't find a point anywhere, and a whole packer brisket is a special order at a butcher. And that equals expensive!
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:41 PM
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OP, you are looking for brisket to bake it? Like, in the oven? No no no no. Get some other cut of meat. Maybe a pot roast?
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Old 08-06-2019, 09:07 PM
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OP, you are looking for brisket to bake it? Like, in the oven? No no no no. Get some other cut of meat. Maybe a pot roast?
Brisket makes a perfectly fine pot roast. It wouldn't be my first choice but it is a wonderfully tasty cut. I just cooked up a couple for hot beef sandwiches for a family gathering and twenty plus pounds of meat and gravy disappeared like a fart in a tornado.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by D_Odds View Post
I can go to BJ's and find 1-2 whole flats. The big supermarket will carry highly trimmed pieces of flat cut into smaller portions. If I'm looking for a whole flat, it all depends on whether I can get to them before they've broken down all the shipment. Smaller supermarkets don't carry it at all, unless one goes into a Jewish neighborhood (and then it's only flat cut into ~2 lb. pieces).

Can't find a point anywhere, and a whole packer brisket is a special order at a butcher. And that equals expensive!
Costco was tried, but no joy there either. The last time I got one it was just the local supermarket had them out insanely cheap - about 30 pounds IIRC.

Quote:
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OP, you are looking for brisket to bake it? Like, in the oven? No no no no. Get some other cut of meat. Maybe a pot roast?
I'll see if I can't get a review for you. ROFL!
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
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OP, you are looking for brisket to bake it? Like, in the oven? No no no no. Get some other cut of meat. Maybe a pot roast?
Brisket is one of the cuts of beef traditionally used for pot roast. Pot roast itself isn’t a cut, but cuts will often be sold under that name, just like they sell “beef stew” meat. Brisket is fine in the oven, and there’s zillions of recipes out there for it. Pot roasted with tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, and stock, it is rather lovely.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:51 PM
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There is lots to love about a good smoked brisket but don't go dissin' the slow oven cooked brisket my Bubby would make for the holidays ... with lots of garlic, onions, carrots, tomatoes, celery, a few spices ... best sliced fairly thin before completely done to sit in the juices and then finished off cooking to falling apart softness the next day. Heaven.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:34 AM
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Brisket, beef short ribs, and chuck eye all lend themselves to low, long cooking methods, either braising or smoking. None of these are good for high heat, dry cooking, like one would a sirloin or top round roast.
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