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I just found a local butcher who sells "Certified Angus" whole briskets. These are in the 10-12 lb range. Can any of the more experienced cooks tell me anything about Certified Angus. He claims the are the best you can get, in the top %20 of all briskets sold.
I just want to make sure I'm not paying a premium unnecessarily.
How would these compare with the Choice grade cuts I'm familiar with?

Thanks in advance!
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If it's truly CAB (Certified Angus Beef) and it's listed as such then it's a Marketing answer.

There is a Angus association and they have strict criteria for what is/isn't CAB.

I'd buy it and try it. It's usually more consistent.

Me, I won't say they're the 10 XX% of all briskets, that % is just something their marketing group spits out.

BUT, look for CAB not just Angus. Lot of people think they're the same and they are not.
C.A.B. is a marketing brand and is often in the top third? of choice and could? be in the top quarter overall.

Regular choice could be anywhere in the whole spectrum of the upper 70%,good or bad.

If the price is not much more than choice in general,most folks would say it is worth the little extra cost.If you are in the comp business,you might feel it is worth a little more to you.

Some will be better than others and that is good restaurant size,but small for many comp cooks.
Back in Jimmy Carter's days in The White House, the USDA relaxed beef grading standards. USDA Choice was widened considerably to include what were before,the upper echelons of USDA Select beef.

Enter the 1980's...some brilliant cattleman came up with the idea of branding Angus beef under the name of Certified Angus Beef or CAB. The idea was to designate the upper 30% of Choice (what WAS Choice before it was diluted) Angus for this label.

Genuine USDA Choice CAB is still culled from the top end of the grade. The conformation, quality and marbling is a cut above average. CAB does market USDA Prime but not USDA Select. CAB is usually more expensive (25% +/-) and in my opinion, generally worth the difference.

Be aware, a lot of branded beef now contains the word "Angus". Only CAB can display the CAB logo.
Originally posted by Tom:
Some will be better than others and that is good restaurant size,but small for many comp cooks.

Tom I'm sure you would have much more knowledge on this but my understanding is that Black Angus cattle are a compact species and generally go to slaughter at a lighter weight vs "other" cattle.

I have rarely seen a CAB packer run over 13.5# On the other hand, I've come across Greater Omaha Angus packers in the 15#+ range. Would the difference in weights be due to a less stringent quality standards on the part of Greater Omaha?
Thanks for all the info. I made a call back and what he has is indeed CAB, choice grade. Todays price is $5.99/lb which puts it right at the high end of what I expect to pay.

I'm not a competion cook by any means but I do have high standards and a good reputation, if I must say (!).

Moving from TX to VA puts me smack in pork country now and my search for good briskets has been challenging to say the least. I think I'll pick up one in a week or so and give ya'll some feedback.
And he has quite a sausage selection so I'll be adding a few of these as well.

Again, thanks again for all of your help.

VA Slim,

If you are ever in the DC area, try going to the Florida Ave Market. Last fall I was there and purchsed two CAB packers for 1.95/lb. I'm headed over this weekend and will let you know the name of the place that I purchased from and their current prices. The Flordia Ave Market is only open Mon-Sat and provides food mainly to resturants, however some businesses will sell directly to the public.

There is also Resturant Depot. If you are a member of the KCBS, you have ability to print out a coupon from the KCBS website for entry into the RD and can purchase full packers from them. There is an RD in Norfolk/VA Beach which is probably closer to you than DC. Plus they are open 7 days/week.

My last CAB, which is still in the freezer, weighed 14.56 lbs. It is the first that I've bought that was over 12 lbs, as MaxQue said, they seem to want to weigh around 10-12 lbs.

I've had just as good luck, checking the brisket cooler at Sam's till I find a 15 lb, limber white fat packer. I think the CAB marketing is just that, marketing and nothing special.

I still like to buy a case of those black Angus that have to walk that spiral stair case on the way to being slaughtered...really! They don't seem to get stamped CAB on the cryovac package, oh well.

I've got a few friends that believe a white face steer that has a couple different colors on the side makes much better beef, but I guess they must not be into marketing.

Cooking any brisket is better then cooking none and sometimes helps a young cook learn a thing or two.
Yep,Max bloodstock Angus is a smaller animal and will go smaller to market.I've raised them,but if you are in the beef cattle for sale market they are usually black and whiteface cross which is the Hereford crossed in for some size/growth.

My boys have bloodstock for breeding and tend to sell what cal says-black and white face cross.

As restaurant folks, you are probably more interested in higher quality,closer trimmed and can use under 10 lbs.

The CAB supplier for central Fl has the three different weight cases around 10 lbs,around 15-16, and heavy around 20 lbs.
As you know,as long is the CAB is around half black hided and no hump the smart boys add a lot of Simmental,Limousin and others to the herd.

Some claim their could be a lot of fattened up Holsteins from the dairy herds mixed in there. Eeker

As to brands that can claim "Angus" as the bloodstock,it can qualify with as little as the heifer[mother cow] being 10% black,or red angus.[Think about those Big Mac Angus burgers Big Grin]

Omaha Angus probably has pedigree available where you can see where the size comes from.The producer herds will certify the new calves as half Angus and that makes them a Certified Angus walking around the grass.

They will have a group of cattle operators that sell that breeding,amount of time on finish feed,age and size standards.They then manufacture the product to meet their cutting standards.

There are Hereford farms out there that do the same ,but do not have government grades ,either.

Better restaurants like them,as well.

Small size can come when beef prices are down and feed prices are high and ranchers dump their stock.

Right now,my boys are cuttin' hay after dark every night,and buying it where they can to hold that high priced cattle to get as big as it can get,before sale.

Wait until you see beef price in early winter when the grass is gone and the feed is all gone to ethanol.

Folks will be eating a lot of chicken. Big Grin

As to that $6 packer above,that is what cooks are paying to order 16-18 lb better CABs shipped to them. $100.

Oh well,I'll get off before I get accused of making a Smokin' post. Wink
Thanks for all of the great information. This will help me make an informed decision. I'm thinking I might try a Costco or Sam's Club trial membership just to see what they have available in my area. I've kind of avoided the big, bulk warehouses in the past.

I am going to give the butcher a try this weekend, just some steaks this time around. I've talked to few locals and they all speak highly of the guy.
Again, thanks.
Personally,except to try one random CAB/one time at $6/lb,the seller better cook it for me-correctly,serve it in great surroundings with a string quartet,a lobster first course,three excellent sides with a made at the table Caesar Salad,great garlic bread,the finest of wines with each course,dessert from a top pastry chef,and the best of dining partners[my wife/co-cook]. Cool

Of course,that's just one man's opinion. Smiler

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