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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 01-10-2013, 09:19 PM   #16
CarolinaQue
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I'd say that in the world of BBQ that 5 hours to cook a piece of meat that size is pretty fast. And I'm not sure that $3 to $4 a lb for brisket is all that cheap...and that's on the low end for a quality grade in my neck of the woods.
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Unread 01-10-2013, 10:19 PM   #17
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I've been reading a lot and watching a lot of clips about BBQ and the one theme that seems to be consistent throughout all of the books/videos etc. seems to be that the folks who last, who are the stalwarts, almost always have a simple process. Not necessarily easy - in fact it looks to be hard work, but simple nevertheless. Good meat cooked right with a clean fire, be it direct or indirect.
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Unread 01-10-2013, 10:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
I've been reading a lot and watching a lot of clips about BBQ and the one theme that seems to be consistent throughout all of the books/videos etc. seems to be that the folks who last, who are the stalwarts, almost always have a simple process. Not necessarily easy - in fact it looks to be hard work, but simple nevertheless. Good meat cooked right with a clean fire, be it direct or indirect.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 12:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chad View Post
I notice everyone BUT the Texans are chiming in:
I left San Antonio in 1997 and prior to that we cooked and ate a LOT of brisket. Bought the $.79 a pound "specials" at HEB (limit 2 per customer). My kids learned at an early age how to stand in line to buy two brisket.
So, commercially, brisket may be a new "mass" market meat - but it's been on the menu for a long time.

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Unread 01-11-2013, 01:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chad View Post
I notice everyone BUT the Texans are chiming in:
I left San Antonio in 1997 and prior to that we cooked and ate a LOT of brisket. Bought the $.79 a pound "specials" at HEB (limit 2 per customer). My kids learned at an early age how to stand in line to buy two brisket.
So, commercially, brisket may be a new "mass" market meat - but it's been on the menu for a long time.
What do you mean?,.... I chimed in on the 5th post...... Here I am in the old days on the family ranch in Texas. I'm the little one on the right.

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Unread 01-11-2013, 07:27 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolinaQue View Post
I'd say that in the world of BBQ that 5 hours to cook a piece of meat that size is pretty fast. And I'm not sure that $3 to $4 a lb for brisket is all that cheap...and that's on the low end for a quality grade in my neck of the woods.
Depends on what part of the BBQ world you are in. Five hours is a pretty long time to cook BBQ brisket in several places in Lockhart, TX.

And, the fact that brisket is on the low end of quality but can be turned into a delicious dish after cooking it for hours is exactly why it's perfect for restaurants. Low direct material cost equals bigger profits. A restaurant can get brisket cheaper than $3 to $4 a pound, BBQ it and sell it for upwards of $16 to $18 a pound. That's not a bad deal.

A quarter pound brisket sandwich for $5.00 that cost the seller $1.00 in meat cost is pretty good. There are a lot of factors that go into the supply chain equation but the meat factor in that one is pretty low.

Chicken fried steak is another one of the low cost cuts turned into a delicious meal. The cheaper meat is pounded and/or tenderized using a jaccard, fried, slathered with gravy and people love it. It is cheap (compared to other alternatives) can be sold at an affordable price and leaves room for a profit.

When the great depression hit, businesses were struggling. They needed low cost and fair profits but they also had to sell products that people could afford. Then WWII hit and meat shortages were also an issue. Brisket is tough and, some feel, lacks flavor. But, BBQing it fixes those problems and created a low cost product.

I can also tell you that there is a direct relationship to the end of the practice of beef BBQ being mainly a whole animal cooked over coals in favor of smaller cuts of meat and the rise of the cattle industry in the United States. Before the cattle industry built a strong organization around the turn of the 20th century the majority of barbecue cooked was of whole cows/steers. As prices climed and fewer farmers could afford to either donate or sell at a low cost BBQ cooks turned to using inexpensive cuts and some even switched to burgers and hot dogs.

Then you have advances in refrigeration and better highways and transportation capability. That made the idea of shipping cuts of meat around the country a reality. Before those things, you had to transport or drive living cattle and the range was limited. All of those things helped to make brisket a popular BBQ meat and also what reduced the practice of BBQing whole animals.

You can't discount the economics of BBQ if you want to understand what shaped it in the 20th century.
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Last edited by Boshizzle; 01-11-2013 at 07:42 AM..
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Unread 01-11-2013, 08:07 AM   #22
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Not really sure when the latest trend started but I've been eating brisket, ribs and sausage off of that pit for almost 50 years now.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 08:24 AM   #23
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I didn't discover brisket until 10 - 15 years ago. I thought I was just a blockhead . . .
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Unread 01-11-2013, 12:33 PM   #24
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I've been eating Texas brisket for 59 years. Good to know that I'm "trendy" now. :)
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Unread 01-11-2013, 01:15 PM   #25
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In truth, a 4x multiplier on restaurant food is not going to make you rich. If you have $1 in food costs and sell for $5, then you are basically making a profit, maybe 50 cents per sale. Of course, one of those smokehouses might have lower server and labor costs, but, still, there is overhead and the costs do add up. If you have $4 per pound finished meat costs, then you need to be around $16 a pound minimum to show a profit.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 01:21 PM   #26
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You timing is off by a decade or more. Jetton is credited with switching from clods and quarter to brisket and it was much later. The packing industry had to consolidate before brisket was a large scale option.

You know, there is a reason I don't comment on Virginia BBQ, shizzle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
Yep, brisket is a more recent cut of meat for BBQ. Remember back in the depression era, there was a demand for cheap cuts of meat that could be cooked into delicious meals and sold at a low price while still offering a margin for a profit. Pork ribs and beef brisket fit the bill. The only way to make ribs and brisket tender is to cook them for long periods of time. Well to do people didn't want them. So, that made them cheap and very desirable to a person running a BBQ restaurant. Low cost meat cooked to perfection passed on to a customer base without a lot of money but still wanting to eat something delicious that was also affordable. Those meats fit the bill very well.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 02:35 PM   #27
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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, 02:46 PM   #28
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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. :)
Well one can eat something for a long time before it suddenly becomes trendy. Ask any Asian or Latino person growing up in the 70s. Our parents cooked us uncured pork belly all the time. Heck I remember hiding my lunch at school so that the kids quit poking fun at me stuffing my face with lard.

So pork belly was that cheap and embarassing ethnic cut.

Now every fancy schmantz candle light, wine serving restaurant is serving. I even saw it being served in a Hilton the other day!
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Unread 01-11-2013, 02:58 PM   #29
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Pork belly, how about nori? Now I see people eating it everywhere.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 05:11 PM   #30
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Thanks! Just found another stop on our Texas vacation this Summer!
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