Bad News, Y’all: The Price of Brisket Is Climbing

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Bad news carnivores, thanks to its growing popularity, the price of brisket is soaring.

Brisket value is rising so much, in fact, that livestock economists say prices are headed for an all-time high. And it’s not just in Texas, demand for the fatty cut of beef is up nationwide—by nearly 20% from 2018 to 2019.

David Anderson, a livestock economist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, told KHOU that brisket used to be considered inexpensive, but it's currently sitting pretty as the third-most expensive cut, behind prime rib and the loin.

“For the particular cuts of briskets, demand is really skyrocketing because of, I think, the growth of barbecue restaurants,” Anderson told The Eagle. “What we are seeing is an increase in prices because of that demand, even though the supply is growing.”

The growth of Texas-style barbecue, both within the Lone Star state and beyond, has played a big role in the brisket boom. Barbecue consumption is reportedly nearing unprecedented levels in Texas—which purchases half of the country’s retail briskets in the second quarter.

"There's probably well over 1,000 barbecue places in the state of Texas alone. And Texas barbecue now has made its way out of Texas," Russell Roegels, who owns Roegels Barbecue in Houston, told KHOU. "There’s only so many head (of cattle) on the ground at a time and it gets in to supply and demand."

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According to Bloomberg, advances in barbecue technology—like the electric-powered wood-pellet smoker, for example—have also made the huge slabs of meat less intimidating to backyard grillers. Now anyone can transform the tricky cut into a monument of smoky deliciousness.

“Brisket is popular today because the meat is incredibly flavorful, which is largely due to the percentage of meat to fat,” Chicago chef Tony Mantuano told Bloomberg. “If cooked properly, the fat melts away, basting the meat and keeping it juicy.”

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