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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-11-2013, 06:24 PM   #31
Pitmaster T
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I was specifically mentioning that when you mentioned the depression you were, by your own evidence given in this post, several decades off. Like the original thread says, brisket (probably die to its availiability as a packer) was not popular rather recently..... really until the late 50's. Sure, you can find a place that has been serving a long while (Angelos in Fort Worth has always served it which opened in 1957) and Jetton only used it at the end of his carreer.

The depression was NOT contributor to the rise of brisket as an accessible cut to BBQ NOR would WWII be at all due to the rationing. After the War, it took a great while for the economy to get moving again and the rise of the BBQ resturant would have to wait until the mid 1950s. Right after that the meat packers began the consolidation changes that have brought us to what we have now. In order for something to catch on like the OP is suggesting (which denotes it was not poplar before) the cut has to be easier to get than just butcher shop..... and that came with the rise of suburbia and the death of the meat markets. The product was always cheap... but it took the packing process to evolve a little better (where you could order, say, 40 briskets every day and get delivered nothing else) for the cut to be the staple of beef bbq its known as today.

There is a dissertation on the strange rise on cost of the skirt steak in the late 70's and early 1980's that came out of Texas a and m that covers some of the concept as the author used the brisket as a model for comparision. This was doen because there was a mysterious rise on the cost of the skirt steak which was attributed to both the ability to get these separate and the rise of the "fajita" that begun around this period.

You should tweak your thesis statement..... to....."Since the way to make a tender brisket is a comparative constant regardless of era, and being that the cut has always been an economic cut, supply capability is the sole reason it has become popularized."

While the quote from Mares is certainly a primary source, we all know the brisket can be cooked at the same temp as a quarter or shoulder and be a thing of beauty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
I'm sure some reastaurants were cooking brisket before the depression but it and WWII were big drivers. Edgar Black, Jr. said that when he started cooking BBQ for his Dad after WWII there weren't as many as half a dozen other BBQ places in Texas serving it.

Also, the book Republic of Barbecue - Stories beyond the Brisket has some interviews from old time TX BBQ cooks where they discuss brisket.

For example, Vencil Mares is quoted as stating that back in the 1940's "Them days, they didn't hardly ever cook briskets. They didn't know what to do with them. I remember when they was thirty-nine cents and people didn't even want them."

Bobby Mueller said that he couldn't get boneless briskets until the 1960s.

So, economics and supply capability did play a big part in popularizing brisket.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 06:38 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hook'n Bull View Post
I've been eating Texas brisket for 59 years. Good to know that I'm "trendy" now. :)
HE is from my neck of the woods. ANd if he has been in the deer park gulf region that long... let's see... heck... 1951 was the last actual cattle drive Gulf Shore (i am collecting for a book a friend of mine is doing about the gulf regions cattle ranching barons), he realizes there is a total disconnect from the reality and the rest of the world regarding our region's connection with beef BBQ. I mean like my Galveston Daily News article hinted at.... we had "Rental Freezer Boxes" back in the 50s and 60s. Almost unheard of anywhere else.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 06:44 PM   #33
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You need to write a book, bro! I'd buy it.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 06:47 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitmaster T View Post
I was specifically mentioning that when you mentioned the depression you were, by your own evidence given in this post, several decades off. Like the original thread says, brisket (probably die to its availiability as a packer) was not popular rather recently..... really until the late 50's. Sure, you can find a place that has been serving a long while (Angelos in Fort Worth has always served it which opened in 1957) and Jetton only used it at the end of his carreer.

The depression was NOT contributor to the rise of brisket as an accessible cut to BBQ NOR would WWII be at all due to the rationing. After the War, it took a great while for the economy to get moving again and the rise of the BBQ resturant would have to wait until the mid 1950s. Right after that the meat packers began the consolidation changes that have brought us to what we have now. In order for something to catch on like the OP is suggesting (which denotes it was not poplar before) the cut has to be easier to get than just butcher shop..... and that came with the rise of suburbia and the death of the meat markets. The product was always cheap... but it took the packing process to evolve a little better (where you could order, say, 40 briskets every day and get delivered nothing else) for the cut to be the staple of beef bbq its known as today.

There is a dissertation on the strange rise on cost of the skirt steak in the late 70's and early 1980's that came out of Texas a and m that covers some of the concept as the author used the brisket as a model for comparision. This was doen because there was a mysterious rise on the cost of the skirt steak which was attributed to both the ability to get these separate and the rise of the "fajita" that begun around this period.

You should tweak your thesis statement..... to....."Since the way to make a tender brisket is a comparative constant regardless of era, and being that the cut has always been an economic cut, supply capability is the sole reason it has become popularized."

While the quote from Mares is certainly a primary source, we all know the brisket can be cooked at the same temp as a quarter or shoulder and be a thing of beauty.
Thanks for the info, bro. Let me clarify, when I say the depression and WWII were drivers I mean that lean times caused by those events was a driver for restaurants to look for ways to cut costs, maintain a profit level, and sell at an affordable price. It is clear that those conditions are what drove restaurants and meat markets to seek out cuts like brisket and pork ribs as well as chicken fried steak.

It may have taken many a while to get there, but those things were drivers as well as the ability of suppliers to provide those cuts.

As the author of Republic of Barbecue states "brisket barbecue dates to the mid-twentieth century, when restaurants and meat markets struggled to emerge from the Great Depression and war rationinug. The economical brisket, available at cheap prices from national distributors and slaughterhouses, became the meat of choice."

Aiding that was the highway system, refigeration and large packing houses that didn't exist before those times.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 07:55 PM   #35
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I can tell you that when I grew up in the Coastal Bend area, the barbecue was a cross-over between barbacoa style, and what we know as pit roasted, in brick or block pits. I have more memories of backyard cooking in the 60's, and most of it was driven by cost. Chicken, brisket and goat was cheap in those days, so that's what folks cooked. We did have our own beef butchered....they opted for steaks, round steaks and sirloin steaks, so all the roasts came from the front end. The "Bar-B-Que" stands might have served some pork, but I don't recall ever having any,... they all served sausage, and the beef was just called beef, it was always sliced... not saucy BBQ beef or anything. You could get white bread, tortillas or saltine crackers, and either a jalapeno or a pickle, and of course every stand had beans. The seats were mostly all outside under an awning, or you just bought it to go.

In the Hill Country, most of the Mexican influence was gone. We called places up there joints, not stands, because you could go inside to sit. The sausages had different flavors, and I don't remember pork in those joints either, just sausage and beef. I remember the meats were more bland, not in a bad way.... just no chile powder or hot pepper spices. However the meats had more smoke flavor. Pickles were really common, and the food came with bread or crackers.
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