How Much Does a Cooked Brisket Cost?

Last Updated on March 16, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Brisket is a popular cut of beef for delicious smoked barbecue. But this tender, flavorful meat comes at a price. If you love serving up smokey, slow cooked brisket, understanding the typical cost per pound and factors impacting pricing is essential.

This brisket pricing guide will break down everything you need to know about how much brisket costs and how to get the best deal.

How Much Does a Cooked Brisket Cost?

Cooked brisket costs anywhere between $12 and $20 per pound at grocery store delis and between $12 and $180 or more at restaurants depending on how it is cooked, the restaurant you’re going to, your location, and so on.

When done at home, cooked brisket costs anywhere between $2 and $6 per pound, depending on the ingredients you’re using and where you’re buying them from.

Cost of Commercial Cooked Brisket

Buying pre-cooked barbecue restaurant brisket costs $15 to $30 per pound:

  • Brisket Sandwiches: $12 to $18 each
  • Brisket Plates with Sides: $18 to $28
  • Sliced Brisket by the Pound: $18 to $30 per lb
  • Whole Cooked Briskets: $180 and up

Grocery store deli pre-cooked brisket is $12 to $20 per pound. Quantity discounts at 5+ pounds.

Cost to Make Cooked Brisket at Home

Home cooked brisket costs $2 to $6 per pound:

  • Untrimmed Brisket: $3 to $5 per lb
  • Dry Rub Ingredients: $0.50 per lb
  • Smoking Wood Chunks: $2 to $8 per 10 lbs
  • Sauce Ingredients: $0.75 per lb
  • Labor: 8 to 15 hours

The total cost for a 10 lb good brisket meal is around $60. That’s 1/3 the cost of restaurant brisket.

Yelloh offers a fully cooked sliced beef brisket at a price of $30.99 per 1.75 lbs.

A user on the BBQ Brethren Forum mentions that local restaurants are charging $15.95-17.95 per pound for cooked brisket.

Roots 657 Shop offers smoked brisket by weight, with the price starting at $16.00 for 1/2 pound.

Goldbelly offers a whole smoked brisket (6-7 lbs) for $249.95 with free shipping.

Cuetopia Texas offers fully cooked brisket at a price of $135 for 5-7 lbs.

How Much Does Uncooked Brisket Cost Per Pound?

On average, expect to pay $3 to $8 per pound for brisket:

  • Untrimmed Packer Brisket: $3 to $5 per pound
  • Trimmed or Sliced Brisket: $6 to $8 per pound

Prices typically range from:

  • Choice Grade: $3 to $6 per pound
  • USDA Prime Grade: $6 to $8 per pound
  • Wagyu Brisket: $15+ per pound

For a 10-12 lb packer brisket, total costs run from $30 up to $100 or more.

Why Is Beef Brisket So Expensive?

Smoked Brisket FlatBrisket prices have been on the rise at butcher shops and grocery stores. Here’s why this prized barbecue cut can cost more:

  • It’s a Large, Tough Cut – Brisket comes from the chest area and contains a lot of connective tissue, which must be carefully cooked over many hours to become tender. The size and effort required increases prices.
  • Labor Intensive to Butcher – Professional butchers must meticulously trim brisket before it can be sold. This specialized skill and time raises costs.
  • Supply and Demand – Brisket’s popularity for barbecue has grown substantially. Higher demand combined with limited cattle supply results in price hikes.
  • Higher Beef Prices Overall – Droughts, diseases like mad cow, and other factors have reduced cattle stocks and increased beef prices across the board.

But don’t let the higher price stop you. With the right techniques, brisket can deliver incredibly juicy, flavorful barbecue that’s worth the cost. Let’s look at typical per-pound pricing.

Where to Buy Cooked Brisket

While making your own smoked beef brisket is rewarding, you can also buy pre-cooked brisket ready to serve:

  • Barbecue Restaurants – Sliced or chopped plates, sandwiches, meat by the pound.
  • Grocery Store Deli – Heat and eat brisket slices or chopped/shredded.
  • Butcher Shops – Cooked to-go brisket plates and trays.
  • Catering Companies – Full service briskets for events delivered ready to serve.
  • Mail Order Companies – Sliced, chopped, or whole brisket shipped nationwide.

Additional Costs for Smoked Beef Brisket

Other cooked brisket costs include:

  • BBQ Smoker – $200 to $500 for a starter smoker
  • BBQ Tools – $150 or more for temperature probes, knives, pans, etc.
  • Side Dishes – $3 to $5 per person for traditional barbecue sides
  • BBQ Sauce – $5 to $15 per bottle from gourmet brands
  • Charcoal – $15 to $25 for a 20 lb bag

Factors Impacting Cooked Brisket Cost

  • Meat Grade – Prime graded brisket costs more than Choice.
  • Trim Level – Excess fat trimmed increases price per pound.
  • Cook Time – Brisket cooked quickly costs less than traditional low-and-slow.
  • Wood Type – Specialty smoking woods cost more than standard hickory or oak.
  • Geographic Region – Brisket costs more at Texas joints than other barbecue regions

How to Get the Best Deal on Brisket

Follow these tips to keep brisket costs in check:

  • Buy the Whole Packer – Prices per pound are lowest on the untrimmed, full brisket.
  • Buy Choice Grade – Small marbling difference from Prime, big savings.
  • Calculate Correct Amount – Allow 1/2 pound trimmed brisket per person.
  • Shop Manager Specials – Deeply discounted fresh cryovaced briskets due to sell-by dates.
  • Buy When Prices Are Low – Prices peak in the summer grilling season. Buy in fall or winter.
  • Separate Point from Flat – Freeze the fattier point for grilling, use lean flat for slicing.
  • Use Leftovers – Shred for tacos, sandwiches, and baked beans. Reduce waste.
  • Consider Other Cuts – Chuck roast, osso buco, and beef plate ribs can cost less.

The Best Way to Cook an Inexpensive Brisket

Don’t let a bargain brisket go to waste. Use these methods to turn budget brisket into delicious barbecue:

  1. Trim Excess Fat – Remove thick hard fat caps but leave some marbling.
  2. Apply Basic Rub – Salt, pepper and cayenne add tons of flavor.
  3. Slow Cook at Low Temp – Cook low and slow for up to 16 hours until tender.
  4. Spritz with Liquid – Help moisten and build bark by spritzing with broth or vinegar.
  5. Wrap at Stall – Foil wrap when bark sets to power through plateau.
  6. Finish Unwrapped – Return to smoker unwrapped to set bark and caramelize.
  7. Let Rest Before Slicing – Never slice straight off the smoker. Juices will spill out.
  8. Sliced Across the Grain – Cut properly for tenderness.
  9. Save Leftovers – Shred, chop, cube, slice. Use in multiple ways.

Final Words on Brisket Pricing and Cooking

When buying brisket, expect to spend an average of $3 to $8 per pound based on grade, quality, and other pricing factors. With careful shopping at warehouse clubs, directly from ranches, and buying during price dips, you can find brisket for under $5 per pound. Apply proper seasoning and smoking methods to turn an inexpensive brisket into outstanding barbecue.

What’s your best tip for finding an affordable brisket? What recipes do you recommend for getting the most out of this celebrated cut of meat? Share your advice in the section below.

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