Brisket Was Cheap And Delicious; Now It’s Expensive And You Have To Wait In Line

Why Brisket Is So Expensive Now ? Here Is An Answer From Some Barbecue Traditionalists !

Humble Cut of Beef’s Sudden Popularity Drives Up Prices, Upsetting Some Barbecue Traditionalists

Not long ago, Texas-style smoked brisket was an inexpensive, workingman’s meal piled on butcher paper at roadside barbecue joints.
It’s still that, but now it’s also showing up alongside garlic-confit-infused collard greens and potato salad with pickled mustard seed in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, as well as stacked high between slices of bread at fast-food restaurants.
Brisket’s sudden popularity is driving prices to record highs, upsetting some barbecue traditionalists who say the runaway demand for the humble cut of beef is getting out of hand.
“It’s gold now,” says Nick Mikeska, the scion of a Texas barbecue family whose pit masters have done this work for generations.

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Smoked brisket, a spice-rubbed hunk of slowly cooked meat traditionally eaten without sauce or cutlery, has always been treated with near-religious zeal by devotees in the Lone Star State.
But the infatuation with Texas-style brisket is spreading across the country. Foodies are stampeding to restaurants in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, waiting in long lines to secure a few slices from a true practitioner of the smoking arts. Connoisseurs are embarking on barbecue-joint pilgrimages, ingesting pounds of meat a day and waxing eloquent about its perfectly rendered fat and crusty exterior.bn-gv114_briske_m_20150205145143 In Austin, one of the nation’s most renowned brisket purveyors, Franklin Barbecue, now attracts such hordes that some people camp out overnight, in order to savor the work of a bona-fide brisket master before the meat runs out around 3 p.m.
“We are in a weird, like, barbecue bubble,” says pit master Aaron Franklin. “Somehow barbecue has become a thing,” he adds.

 Choice-grade brisket, which comes from the cow’s tough pectoral muscles, was selling at $3.34 a pound in the spot market this week, up from around $2.30 at this time last year and $1.59 five years ago, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Daniel Vaughn, who was hired in 2013 by Texas Monthly magazine as its first barbecue editor, says there is sound reason behind the smoked brisket boom.
“Once you come down to Texas and you have a phenomenal slice of fatty brisket, it’s really hard to compare to what you experience eating other types of barbecue,” says Mr. Vaughn, also known as @BBQsnob online.
A proper brisket is smoked with wood for up to 18 hours to develop a dark crust on the outside and a juicy, tender interior, he says. Its current iteration can be traced back to the Central Texas meat markets run by Czech and German immigrants who tossed meat that didn’t sell into the smoker.
But now pit masters in the cradle of Texas brisket are having a hard time getting the popular cut. There are only two briskets per cow, weighing anywhere from six pounds to more than 12.

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After charging $9.99 a pound for years, Dana Bunte, who runs Zimmerhanzel’s BBQ in Smithville, a community of 3,900 people about 40 miles southeast of Austin, had to increase the price to $13.49 a pound, and is considering pricing brisket daily to reflect market trends.
“It might have to become like fresh fish,” says Ms. Bunte, who has been in the business 35 years.Full Article Here

 

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