Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by kc5tpy, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. As I promised I have some picts of a typical British brisket "joint" from a supermarket.  There just ain't a lot you can do with that.  No matter what I've tried there just isn't enuff fat for it to turn out good.  No amount of sauce or mop seems to help.  I have NOT tried a brine yet, maybe?  This is typical of British meat.  Fortunately the local village butcher is willing to get me what I want, so long as we can converse and I explain what it is.  Different names here.  And a slightly different taste.  The British feed animals on barley, changes the flavor.  A couple months ago I took Ms. KC out for a meal to 1 of the 2 places in the area where I can get a half/way decent steak.  I ordered a ribeye and the waiter asked if I was aware that a ribeye was a "fatty" cut of steak?  So apparently they must have had complaints about the ribeye.  Well trimmed, unsmoked back bacon is the norm here although you can get "smoked streaky bacon" (belly bacon ) in supermarkets.  NEVER had it in a pub or restaurant for breakfast.  This "joint" got treated as I normally do and it was braised, covered in the oven.  Slow cooker with liquid works well too.  BTW.  15 years ago I had to order my cheap offset smoker from Germany.  Couldn't find one here.  Gettin better here now.  Just thought you might be interested in seein the differences.  Keep Smokin!


  2. Danny

    Thanks for the post. It is strange how things change from place to place. Even here in the states. What you can get in one place. You cang get other places.

    Happy smoken.

  3. Hello Danny,

    I think that you may have possibilities there. As you said slow cooking in a "crock" pot for 8 to 12 hours would do the trick using maybe garlic, beef broth, and tons of onions. However, if you have an offset smoker, (wood burner) or pellet smoker (electric driver or an auger that supplies wood pellets as the fuel), or propane/electric you may be able to get what you want. Here in Texas, in order to salvage a very tough cut of meat, the folks learned how to cook the brisket low and slow, keeping the juices in the meat, and ending up with a juicy meat dinner. Originally, this meat was dirt cheap. When brisket cooking became popular, of course, the price went up. Now the brisket is the national meat of the Republic of Texas. 

    There are many recipes for cooking brisket. Depending upon the weight, you might be entertaining a 10 to 15 hour cook on the smoker. And, your actions need to be governed  by achieving an internal temperature of about 205 degrees when you remove the meat from the smoker. You also must provide a place to "rest" the meat for 2 to 3 hours. When the meat reaches 150 to 160 degree range, I usually foil the meat and add a little bit of beef broth for moisture.I still keep my probe into monitor the temperature to make sure it hits 205. When it does, I wrap the the meat in a towel an put it inside a cooler box that is insulated and add more towels to take up open space. Let it rest, then bring it out to slice on the thin side and serve for dinner. 

    So if you are going to smoke a brisket, make sure that you are in for the long haul and be prepared to stay up late. Make a party out of this with your family and friends and you guys have some great beers and ales to help wash down appetizers throughout the day. 

    You will find an abundance of information and a variety of ways to flavor, cook, and make a brisket to your level of satisfaction on this forum. And you probably can get pictures of whole packers on this forum or on other sites on the web like, amazingribs.

    Nice talking with you and have a great day,

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  4. Hello Ed  my Tx. Brother and thank you for that great advice.  I am quite certain many new members will find that information really helpful.  Oldest daughter is smokin in Dallas.  Youngest is smokin in Houstion.  Their husbands are useless at it.  Mom and brother are in San Antonio and Dad is back home in Mathis where I grew up.  Smoked my 1st packer when I was 14-15.  Almost 40  years ago.  [​IMG]   Not being sarcastic!  I think that was a very good post with some very useful info in it.  I just feel if ya wrap in foil you are just braising the meat anyway ( although I do sometimes wrap ribs ).  I just wanted to show what passed for brisket in British supermarkets.  Thanks for lookin.  Keep Smokin!

  5. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I know this is probably sacrilege for a Texan, even a transplanted one, but you could also inject with some type of liquid; or save the fat trimmed from other cuts and lay that on a rack above the "brisket" to render, and drip down on it.
  6. Well Hello Mr. mneeley!  I knew you had more to offer than great fridge builds [​IMG]   Inject!  I never thought of that.  I only thought of brine as I was typing.  Unfortunately that is typical British meat.  NO fat to trim from the supermarket meat.  Even ham ( which is not smoked, if smoked it is called gammon ) and bacon is trimmed to death!  My butcher in the next village ( I had to learn another new term, village ) is my best "mate".  He gets me point end of brisket, cut off the carcass and untrimmed.  He and I are even workin on a Texas Hill Country style sausage.  He is grinding and stuffing about 10-12 lbs. at a time till I get the recipe right.  The local village butcher can't compete on price with the supermarkets so he competes with quality.  He can tell you where EVERY side of meat in his cooler comes from.  Knows most of the producers personally.  I get good quality without havin to do the work.  The price is not bad.  Ya don't mind payin just a little more for quality.  I must add that not all local butchers are willin to do this.  Took a while to find him.  You know, ask, get turned down, then don't ask around again for several months.  My goodness I had to edit this!  As I read what I just wrote it sounded like my sex life. [​IMG]  I was talkin about finding a butcher!  He has a lot of smoked meat comin his way!!  Just need to get my fridge smoker built so I can smoke some sausage.  Good to hear from you mneeley.  Keep Smokin!

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Danny! I can't recall if I've had correspondence with you on this subject yet or not (been very busy lately), but there is an easy way to take lean meats such as trimmed brisket to high internal temps and not loose all of those precious juices, without any special prep for the meat or mid-smoke treatments, either...if you want to smoke the meat you described above, I recommend that you have a look:

    The above explains the method, how and why it works, and the basics on setting up your smoker to use it. Scroll down the page and you will find a link to brisket flats and points I have smoked using this method recently, including the resulting sliced and pulled meat pics. This is the only reliable method I have tried to date that gives consistent results for good interior moisture retention in lean-trimmed meats.

    I had to open those pics to a new tab and zoom in, but it didn't even look like brisket...flat or point, at first...definitely not a point muscle. but could be a heavily trimmed flat due to the fibrous muscle...just too uniform in width to be a lightly trimmed flat. Being it's rolled, a low and slow cooking method would not be a good idea due to it being considered as a compromised muscle, so unrolling it for low and slow would take away that issue from the equation.

    Good luck on finding meats to smoke on that side of the pond, but if you're running into lean meats and nothing but, then the above method should give you much better results.

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  8. Thanks forluvofsmoke.  I have read your post with great interest.  I have yet to try it.  So you expanded the picts and noticed the problems?  They even roll different parts together so as to fill out the "joint".  Sometimes you get a piece ( of I think brisket ) in the center 6"x6"x1/2"thick.  Now you can't even make fake fajitas outta that.  IF you try to smoke it you MUST unroll it.  I knew you folks would be shakin your head over this.  Darndest thing ya ever seen. [​IMG]  These folks see preformed frozen burgers, British bangers ( a bread and meat sausage ) and pre-cooked ( in the oven else it is raw in the middle ) chicken coming off the BBQ.  My first big party I told my new British wife that they wouldn't get it but she said let 'em try.  I only made the meat (brisket), the others brought burger buns and salad.  We had sammies.  The next I did for friends at work.  I did the whole shabang, brisket, chicken quarters, coleslaw, tater salad, beans, homemade sauce on the side etc..  The first question I was asked is how did you get that big piece of meat in your oven and at what temp and for how long.  They would not believe I took a 18 lb. brisket off a BBQ without it ever going into an oven.  Luckily my boss wanted to learn so he was there for the whole thing.  I kept gettin asked, so you don't have to put chicken legs in the oven first??  Most British folk ( they are learning ) have trouble grillin chicken, much less smokin brisket.  I am tryin to spread the word and smokin is becoming more popular here.  Each time I see a new U.K. member sign in I send a PM and offer any help I can.  You see, even the language can be a barrier.  I don't catch 'em all and I don't know everything but I have been here for a while so I do have an idea who I might call on for certain expertise.  I hope you folks won't mind if I PM you and ask you to help a new U.K. member cause I am outta my depth.  We can't all know everything.  Thanks for the advice.  I WILL try one of these briskets your way.  Let you know how it goes.  Keep Smokin!

  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah, Danny, that 4th pic threw me off a bit, but with a second look, it could be a heavily trimmed point muscle, although I've seen flank steak look very similar to that image...this could be just bulked up from when they rolled it all together. If it is a thin muscle when relaxed and laid out on a flat surface, it could very well be a flank...dunno.

    That is something, how they put together a roll like that and pass it off as brisket, but then it is a different region with different cooking and dining traditions. Changing from traditional cuts and methods creates a lot of different ways to prepare things, and others may find it peculiar...not to say there's anything wrong in doing it, you just need to understand what it is you have to do to make it safe for consumption while at the same time take that lesser cut and produce a tender and delicious eating meal from it. Interesting to see this, for sure.

  10. Yep.  The only thing I can say is that it does "taste" like brisket when it is unrolled and braised.  Keep smokin!

  11. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Meat Mopper

    This has been a really usefull thread for me as I'm in the UK and even though I'm a Limey, I can totally agree with what Danny says, you want to try asking for St Louis trimmed ribs at Tesco !

    I've been lurking around here for a while and joined yesterday, I did do a spiel for Roll Call but I've had pc problems and I'm not sure whether it sent or not, will have another go tomorrow.

    Reminds me of what Winston Churchill said about the USA and UK, "two countries separated by a common language !".  

  12. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Love the quote Graeme!  Apparently we're separated by what one considers a good cut of beef as well...[​IMG]

    I don't remember seeing your roll call post but I'll check again!  Do us a favor and update your location in your profile when you get the chance.

  13. How about a braise for a lean tough cut?  Wrap it in foil or place in a disposable foil pan and cover with foil after smoking it a few hours.  ...just a thought.
  14. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In the US it is illegal to roll non-contiguous muscle groups together to form a roast, they all have to be connected*.  Even in a rump roast, we used to trim off some bottom flap and tie into the 'hole' left from the aitch bone to fill in the roast; inspector saw me doing it and stopped me (didn't get a fine, tho, my dad had taught me that and he understood, as that was the "way it used to be done")..  Amazing how they will try to get money out of a cut; the brisket as a rolled roast would be tougher than nails!

    *of course, there is always an exception to every rule.... last I knew you could 'fabricate' meat cuts from dissimilar muscle groups with meat glue.(  transglutaminase), an enzyme binder.  Used in many forms, in restaurants, etc.
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    WOW!!! That thought never even crossed my mind...but if anyone would know, it would be you, Pops. Thanks for the info!!! Now I'll know what to watch for if see a rolled meat in the meat coolers at the stores. Come to think of it, I haven't noticed any yet, and I never really thought to look for something like that to cook with because I prefer intact whole muscle meats for low & slow cooking (I'm not even that fond of stuffing pork loins or rolling my own cuts of meats), but it does make me wonder what is actually out there now.

  16. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    WOW!!! That thought never even crossed my mind...but if anyone would know, it would be you, Pops. Thanks for the info!!! Now I'll know what to watch for if see a rolled meat in the meat coolers at the stores. Come to think of it, I haven't noticed any yet, and I never really thought to look for something like that to cook with because I prefer intact whole muscle meats for low & slow cooking (I'm not even that fond of stuffing pork loins or rolling my own cuts of meats), but it does make me wonder what is actually out there now.

  17. The things you know Pops? [​IMG]   Unrolled it can be smoked but it does come out tougher than it should be and the taste just isn't there.  Trimmed and rolled like that, it is almost useless!  Browned then braise with spices and beef stock is the only thing I have found that it responds to.  Then it will eventually be fall to pieces tender but you even lose some brisket taste that way.  Thought you folks would find this interesting. [​IMG]  I know my posts have been long here but read thru and you will find other interesting points.  Have fun.  Keep Smokin!

  18. Danny is certainly a man of his word, no sooner had I joined, I had a PM from him offering help and advice, since then we've PM'd a few times.  

    I'd also agree with the comments about our butchers.  I think getting any cut of meat (that you guys in the US would recognise) from a supermarket over here is a non entity.  My dad and I, funnily enough were at our 'local' butchers today and I asked about a whole brisket, with the point and flat.  (hope thats what there called)  He said he would have to order one in, but was glad to give me what I asked for.  So I'll phone him and ask him for a 'packer brisket' with point and tail untrimmed, I think.

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