Apparently brisket has many different cuts and grades. You would have to be a “brisket connoisseur” to know it all. I’d like to consider myself that, but I’m not – I’m satisfied with a grassfed and grass finished brisket from my biodynamic farmer or some other trusted source for grassfed beef.
Grades and Cuts of Brisket
The three most well-known grades, in order from highest degree to lowest, are Prime, Choice, and Select – and each grade can be further divided into Upper, Middle and Lower grades. The beef is graded primarily on the marbling of the ribeye between the twelfth and thirteenth rib bones.
According to this website,
If you’re eating brisket in Texas, chances are that your favorite pitmaster is ordering Item No. 120: a beef brisket, deckle-off, boneless.
I always wondered what they meant by deckle…
The number corresponds to the cut of meat defined by the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications, or IMPS. No. 120 is “boneless,” meaning that ribs one through four have been removed (Item No. 118 is just “Beef Brisket” and the bones remain intact), and the “deckle,” or the hard fat between the rib cage and the pectoralis profundus muscle, also known as the brisket flat, has been removed… (source)
I do know that I want the fat pad or deckle included with the brisket I buy – the fat holds all the flavor.
If you buy the “first cut” while that may sound like a better quality, it is the lean part of the brisket trimmed of all it’s fat and it may become dry and hard. When you purchase a grassfed brisket, the fat is good for you! When you cook it with all the fat intact it adds an amazing flavor and succulence that is unsurpassed. Excess fat may be trimmed after it is cooked if you like.
There are many recipes for brisket that add cans of soup or boxed flavorings. Clearly we do not want any additives in our recipe.
Cooking the brisket in the oven as opposed to cooking brisket on top of the stove adds a delicious flavor!
The gravy is SCD/GAPS legal because there are no starches added to thicken it. It is not necessary to add flour to thicken a gravy at all. The onions and squash add nutrition and thickness to any natural juice gravy and is much better than adding flour.
- 3 pound grassfed brisket (where I get mine)
- 1/2 of a small butternut squash (about 2 cups when chopped into 1/2" pieces)
- 1/2 medium celery root, skin removed and chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cups beef stock (how to make)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste (where to get salt and spices)
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 clove garlic squashed and chopped
- Preheat oven to 275º F
- On top of the stove, heat the dutch oven to medium, add fat (tallow or bacon fat) and gently brown all side of the brisket – place the fat side down first
- When browned, hold the meat aside in a large bowl
- There should be plenty of fat in the pan – add all the vegetables except the garlic and saute until somewhat soft (5 minutes)
- At the end, for a minute or two, add the garlic and let it warm up
- Place the meat and vegetables in the dutch oven
- Add the beef stock, and the bay leaves and salt and pepper
- Make sure the meat is half submerged in liquid
- Cover the dutch oven and place in oven for about 3 hours – the inner temperature should be 180º F (cooking time is about 45 minutes for each pound of meat)
- When done, let the meat rest for 30 minutes with a foil tent covering it lightly
- After 30 minutes slice the meat (it is hard to slice when it is fully cold)
- Instructions for the gravy
- Take about 1/4 the vegetables out of the dutch oven and set aside
- Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables with the liquid gravy in the dutch oven (or move to another pot to do this so you don't scrap the bottom with the stick blender)
- This will thicken the gravy without using any starches or flours and it tastes great
- Put the vegetables that you saved, back into the gravy
- You now have a thick and savory gravy with vegetable pieces (you may want to add salt to the gravy or at the table)
- Serve immediately after slicing meat or refrigerate for later
- This freezes well