How Much Does a Brisket Cost? [Put a Price On It]

Brisket can cost between $4 and $14 per pound, depending on the quality, store, and much more!

As someone who smokes brisket fairly often, I try to spend as little as I can on this cut. This is why I like to keep an eye on the prices and learn about what can cause a higher price.

In this post, I will answer the question how much does a brisket cost and show you how to save money while shopping. Let's begin!

What is the Price of Beef Brisket?

As you can imagine, beef brisket prices can vary from one place to another. Below, you can find a breakdown of the beef prices. Just keep in mind that these prices can vary at any time so these are merely guidelines.

StorePrice Per Pound
Costco Prime Whole Brisket$5.49
Costco Choice Flat Cut Brisket$11.99
Walmart Whole Brisket$3.46
Walmart Choice Angus Brisket$4.46
Walmart Brisket Flat$6.86
Trader Joes Teva Angus Kosher Brisket$13.7

The above prices are from large chain stores. Local butchers will often charge a bit more per pound of brisket than local grocery stores. This is typically because they have access to better quality beef and the meat tends to be fresher too.

Of course, then there is also wagyu beef brisket to consider. This exclusive cut of meat comes from a special breed of cows in Japan. The cows are reared under very specific conditions.

The result is buttery, incredibly marbled brisket. As you can imagine, the brisket price per pound matches this delicacy.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $42 to $75 per pound of brisket.

Fresh Tbone steaks

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Why are Current Brisket Prices So High?

Up until recently, you probably though of beef brisket as a decently priced or even cheap cut of meat. These days, though, purchasing brisket has become far more expensive. So, what gives?

Current Situation

Across the board, beef prices are rising across the country. Brisket prices are up by 16 percent since last year and the cost appears to be increasing.

One of the causes for this is general inflation. However, weather issues such as drought has led to fewer animals. Worker shortages and supply chain disruption is also to blame.

The lack of competition in the market also means that certain individuals can drive up prices for their own benefit.

An Increase in Popularity

Once upon a time, the humble brisket was largely found in the south in barbecue joints. You would also find it in delis as corned beef but not too many people knew the origins of this meat.

Apart from this, brisket wasn't talked about all that much. Over the last few years, though, there has been an increase in all things barbecue. This includes smoked beef brisket.

As such, there is a greater demand for brisket and more brisket sold throughout the country. The rise in demand meant that there was an automatic increase in the price of raw brisket per pound.

Limited Supply

At the end of the day, there will almost always be a limited stock of brisket when compared to demand.

This is because there are just two brisket in one cow. With most other cuts of meat, you typically have a larger section per cow - this is especially true for ground beef. This isn't the case with brisket.

As long as brisket continues to be popular, you can expect to being higher prices for it.

Raw meat slices on wooden chopping board

What Effects Brisket Prices?

As you will have noticed, there isn't a baseline per pound price for brisket. This is because there are so many factors that come into play with your raw brisket price.

Having a better understand of how the meat is priced can help you to cut down on the cost. Here is what you need to know:

The Quality

As you will have seen from the above section, beef is priced according to quality. This is why wagyu brisket is so much more expensive than regular Angus beef.

In general, the more effort that was taken to raise the cows, the more expensive the beef will be. This is why grass fed beef is almost always more expensive.

The same goes for cows that have been bred in large open spaces as well. Organic beef is especially expensive.

You also have to consider the beef grade - Prime meat is at the top of the ladder with Choice grade coming in next and Select grade being the last.

Of course, Prime grade, Choice grade, and Select grade can be broken down into several categories as well. Thus, the higher grades within these categories will cost more and the lower ones will cost less.

The Cut of Meat

Many people don't realize that brisket is often divided into two sections. A whole packer brisket is what the term brisket actually describes. It is sometimes referred to as a Texas brisket cut.

When uncut, an entire brisket can be anywhere from 12 to 20 pounds!

As you can imagine, few people have need for this much raw or cooked brisket! This is why butchers tend to divide the brisket into flat cut brisket and point cut brisket.

The flat cut tends to be most popular. Not only is it the larger section but it has a uniform shape which makes it easier to cook. The point has more fat and makes it the tastier option for cooked meat.

Now, the flat is also a more expensive cut. This is because to get it to it, the butcher has to get rid of a lot of usable meat. As they lose out on money here, they have to make it up elsewhere.

The Time of Year

Yes, the cost of brisket varies throughout the year. This is because the popularity of the meat waxes and wanes.

Think about it, when are you most likely to find smoked brisket? In the summertime, of course! As a traditional BBQ cut of meat, most people tend to stock up on brisket during the summer. This causes prices to go up.

Raw meat on the board along with the spices

How to Buy Brisket for Less?

Want to save money when buying brisket? Here are the top tips and tricks that you can use:

Choose a Lower Grade

Personally, I wouldn't choose Select grade brisket unless there really was no other choice. While I am a big believer in method being just as important - if not more important than the cut - there is a limit to this logic.

It doesn't matter how well you smoked Select grade brisket, odds are it would come out rather dry. This is because there isn't nearly enough marbling in the meat to add moisture.

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I would argue that with Choice grade and the proper technique that you can really make your brisket taste good. It is best to leave Prime grade for a special occasion.

As for Wagyu, I would steer clear of it when making smoked brisket as the gorgeous taste and texture will not translate well with this method of cooking.

Make a Cheap Cut Taste Good

Is a Select brisket the best that you can afford? No problem, there is still something that you can make up for the quality difference.

For one thing, dry brine your brisket. This will help to tenderize the meat and add flavor to it. Make sure to do this up to a day ahead, depending on the size of the cut.

The other trick that you can use is to inject the meat with a marinade. There are lots that you can use - the goal here, though, is to add moisture deep into the meat where it won't readily evaporate.

Finally, make sure to cook the brisket on as low of a temperature as you can manage - no more than 225 F. At this temperature, the brisket is going to take longer to cook, but this is precisely what you want.

The longer that the brisket cooks for, the more time there is for all that tough connective tissue to break down and become softer and more gelatinous.

You may want to leave the brisket in for a little longer too - about 210 F.

Then, make sure to rest it for at least a few hours for all of that moisture to be reabsorbed by the meat.

Buy Whole Packer Briskets

I know what you are thinking - how much brisket do I really need - but hear me out.

A whole cut is much cheaper than flat cuts per pound. So, it really doesn't make sense to spend that extra money.

Look for a small brisket - one that is about 5lbs or so and you will be able to save quite a bit. Then, go home and separate the flat from the point. You can smoke the flat and braise the point. Or, smoke both sections - it will taste amazing either way.

Or, halve the meat when you get home. Freeze one half to use later and smoke the rest.

The great thing about brisket is that the leftovers can be used in so many ways. You can chop it up and use it in chili, add it to salads, use it as a taco filling, etc.

Thus, even if you have lots of meat left over, it isn't going to go to waste. Simply freeze it in smaller sections. Then, reheat these and use as needed.

Now, when buying an entire section, I do want you to be aware of the fat cap. When selling an uncut section, many butchers will not trim the fat. This simply adds unnecessary weight to the brisket, causing you to have to pay more.

Remember, before you cook the brisket you will need to trim the fat cap until it is just 1/4th of an inch thick. Thus, there isn't any need to pay for this excess fat.

Shop at Chain Stores

I try to get my meat from a butcher as often as possible. However, even I can admit that these higher prices are rarely worth it. This is especially true now when prices are at an all time high.

This is why buying brisket from Walmart or somewhere similar just makes more sense.

Before you do go shopping, though, check the prices for all these stores - Sam's, Trader Joes, Costco, etc. online. This will give you an idea of where the best bargain is.

Remember to always do your calculations to discover cost per pound. Then, go ahead and choose the cheaper cut.

There are some butchers that sell their wares online. It is worth it to check out these options too as they may yield cheaper results.

Here, though, you have to have the meat shipped to you. Thus, this is only a good idea if you don't want to make your brisket immediately.

Shop During the Off Season

I'm not saying that you should avoid brisket during the summer months completely. However, you may not want to indulge as often when there is high demand and high costs.

What I like to do is to buy brisket when it is cheaper. I then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in a freezer. It can stay fresh for up to six months at a time like this.

It is a good way to get the best of both worlds.

Just make sure to label the brisket before freezing it so that you know when to eat it by.

Raw meat and vegetables

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the Brisket Expensive?

Brisket can be expensive if you are choosing a higher quality cut, particularly at a time when there is great demand. Brisket from a butcher can also be more expensive than one from a big box store.

2. How Much Does a 6 Pound Brisket Cost?

The cost can vary from $4 per pound to $14 a pound. As such, a cut of this size can cost between $24 and $84 a pound.

3. How Much Does a 20lb Brisket Cost?

Brisket of this size can cost between $80 and $280.

Wrapping It Up

As you can see, brisket can get pretty pricey but there is no need for you to worry. Now that you know what causes these high prices and what you can do, you are on the right track. Thus, you can enjoy your meat for a much lower price!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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