Smoking a whole brisket is one of the most gratifying achievements for any amateur pitmaster.
But buying a brisket is a large investment, and if you don’t know what to look it can be an intimidating task.
We’re going to share our favorite places to buy brisket, both online and in person, so that you can get the best piece of meat for your budget.
Best places to buy brisket online
Buying brisket online is one of the easiest options. You get access to the highest quality brisket possible, and most meat delivery companies deliver anywhere in the continental USA.
This is also the best way to source premium brisket like American Wagyu which can be difficult to source locally.
1. Snake River Farms
Snake River Farms specializes in American Wagyu beef. Thanks to its intense marbling, everyone from Michelin-starred restaurants to competitive barbecue teams use this premium product. Snake River Farms also supplies USDA Prime-grade brisket.
We’ve previously shared a Snake River Farms Brisket Review, which covers why they are our go-to when buying online brisket.
You can pick your brisket size, grade (Gold or Silver), and delivery date during the online checkout process.
You can definitely buy cheaper brisket elsewhere, but when you’re going to be spending 12+ hours cooking something, we reckon it’s best to start with the highest quality product you can get your hands on.
We worked out a special deal where our readers can get 15% off orders over $99.00 by entering the code “SMOKED15” at checkout.
2. Porter Road
The company sources all its meat from local farms, pasture-raised without additional hormones or antibiotics. It’s then processed and hand-cut at Porter Road’s Kentucky facility.
The whole brisket from Porter Road is 8-10 pounds, which is on the small side but still a nice size for smoking.
3. Crowd Cow
Crowd Cow gives you a lot of choices when ordering brisket. They offer 100% Grass Fed, American Wagyu (which they label Wagyu Cross), and pasture-raised.
Each option is available in multiple sizes, so you can get exactly what you want.
Crowd Cow is working to be environmentally friendly from beginning to end. It partners with ethical farms and producers worldwide to source sustainable, high-quality meat.
Your grass-fed or Wagyu brisket then gets frozen at peak freshness and shipped to you in a 100% recyclable package with compostable insulation.
Where to buy brisket locally
Depending on where you live, brisket can be a little more tricky to find locally. It has come into higher demand recently, especially with the barbecue boom over the last few years.
This popularity makes it easier to find in your local grocery store but also increases the price per pound. Here’s a breakdown of where to buy brisket locally.
1. Grocery stores
We bet your local grocery store or big box store supplies beef brisket. Depending on where you live, options include:
- H-E-B – No surprise, the Texas company offers several beef brisket options at reasonable prices. This includes 100% natural Angus and Wagyu brisket from USA-born and raised cattle.
- Costco –This is a lot of people’s first stop when buying brisket. We’ve done it before, smoking a whole-packer brisket from Costco with excellent results. Costco has USDA Select, Choice, and Prime-grade brisket options. These rank from most to least affordable but also worst to best quality. But if you have the skills, you can get a great smoked brisket from a USDA Select cut.
- Publix – A grocery store with high-quality beef brisket. But the kicker is that it’ll cost you.
- Sam’s Club – A great selection of USDA Choice and USDA Prime Angus beef brisket flat cuts are available from Sam’s Club. While you can go bulk, you don’t get a significant discount.
- Walmart – Yep, big box stores like your local Walmart are typically home to some of the most affordable flat-cut brisket on the market. You can also find a reasonably-priced whole brisket here.
2. Farmer’s markets
Don’t discount your closest farmer’s market when buying brisket; you might strike gold with a local farmer. Shopping locally is good for lots of reasons.
But when it comes to beef, it means you’ll probably score high-quality, humanely raised meats that you may not otherwise get at a grocery store chain. A little legwork ahead of time can yield fantastic results and help put money back into your community.
Of course, your local butcher shop is another of the best places to buy brisket. But depending on their suppliers, their prices might be higher or lower than average.
Shop around and see what the butchers closest to you have available. You might just be surprised and find the best brisket in town.
If you are curious how much you can expect to pay for brisket per pound we have done a big comparison article you can check out.
What are the different cuts of brisket?
Brisket is two overlapping muscles from beef or veal’s breast or lower chest. This muscle does all the heavy lifting to hold the cow upright. It is one of nine beef primal cuts.
Brisket gets very dense from being a working pair of muscles and is one of the least tender parts of beef you can get (until it’s perfectly smoked, that is).
A “packer” or whole brisket comprises a lean, flat cut and the fattier point cut.
Full packer brisket
Our favorite cut to smoke, a whole packer includes both the flat portion and the point portion of the brisket, separated by a thick layer of fat. A whole brisket can weigh roughly 8 to 20-plus pounds on average.
A layer of fat runs along the top. This fat is usually trimmed to a quarter of an inch in thickness before cooking.
The flat cut is the lean, main part of the brisket. It can be referred to as the first cut or flat cut when ordering from your butcher
You’re usually limited to whole briskets when ordering online, however, Porter Road is one company we’ve used that also sells flats.
It’s a highly worked muscle, resulting in its low-fat content. This is generally the cut used for corned beef and pastrami.
You’ll sometimes also see the flat sold as deckle off brisket.
The point is the fatty end of the brisket. It sits atop the flat cut and has much more intramuscular fat than its counterpart.
Given its high-fat content, this cut makes for a more tender and juicy part of the brisket. It’s also referred to as the second cut.
We have a brisket point vs. flat article that compares the two in more detail.
Quality and grades of brisket
When shopping at the grocery store you’ll come across three USDA grades:
- Select: The cheapest option with the least marbling, not. recommended for smoking.
- Choice: A balance between price and quality around $3 to $3.50 per pound.
- Prime: The best option for smoking brisket because you get more intramuscular fat, which breaks down and gives you the tender taste and only a few dollars more per pound.
Wagyu and domestic Wagyu, like what Snake River Farms sell, fall outside the USDA grading system.
That said, you can definitely see an increase in tenderness and marbling when you step up to Wagyu.
You’ll also come across terms like Grass-Fed and pasture-raised. Grass-fed beef is typically leaner, so people tend to avoid it for brisket unless they prefer it for health reasons.
How much brisket per person?
You’ll need to know how much you need before buying brisket.
We have a comprehensive guide on how much brisket per person and all the factors to consider before landing on a number. But the basic answer is ½ to ⅓ of a pound of cooked brisket per person.
Once you’ve bought your brisket, you’ll need to cook it
We’ve given you everything you need to go out and buy a brisket. The next step is to master cooking brisket.