Know your cut: Brisket
Brisket is one of the nine primal cuts of meat, and a good brisket is the ultimate test for any barbecue restaurant or self-proclaimed grill master.
The cut comes from the breast of the cow, beneath its first five ribs and behind the foreshank. The large cut of meat includes the cow’s pectoral muscles, which support a majority of the animal’s weight. It also includes a lot of connective tissue so the meat must be cooked properly to tenderize it correctly.
In America, brisket has found a home in Texas but its roots go deeper than barbecue in the Lone Star State.
According to Texas Monthly, brisket didn’t start to take its hold as the king of Texas Barbecue until the late 1950s, when Black’s BBQ put it on their menu.
Although made famous through meat markets in the 1960s, brisket actually has Jewish roots in the United States. The first mentions of it are in early 20th Century at two Jewish-style groceries, one in El Paso 1910 and another in Corpus Christi 1916. It wasn’t until about 50 years later that it would become commonplace at Central Texas meat markets.
Because brisket is such a beefy and tough cut, it is best prepared brined or smoked at lower temperatures for extended periods of time. Although served mainly as corned beef or traditional barbecue in America, other nations have different ways to prepare brisket.
In Britain, it is served much like an American-style pot roast, boiled very slowly with root vegetables and gravy. Germany serves theirs a similar way but add a braising of dark German beer. In Hong Kong, it is often served with noodles in soup or curry.