How Smoked Brisket Became a BBQ Staple

smoked brisket

We’ve discussed the history of barbecue, bbq ribs, catfish, and more, and in this article, we’re adding a new BBQ classic to this list: smoked brisket. Brisket is an essential part of barbecue history, and a particularly popular dish, including at our own restaurant. However, what most people believe to be the history of this dish isn’t entirely accurate. Many claim and believe that brisket got its start in Central Texas, and while Texas played an important role in making brisket what it is today, its history goes further back than this.

Smoked Brisket: A Kosher Cut

Smoked brisket’s true origin is in Jewish cuisine. It all began within the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Central and Eastern Europe. Brisket was a favorite for holiday celebrations, such as Rosh Hashanah, Passover, Hanukkah, and Shabbat.

Jewish communities first began to favor this cut because it comes from the breast of the cow, located in the front, which makes it kosher. However, meat from this area is also very tough, muscular, and has many connective tissues. This made brisket a very cheap cut of meat, which in turn made it accessible to poor families. 

The toughness of this cut also led to the ingenuity that has shaped smoked brisket into what we know today. To make brisket soft and tender, these communities learned to marinate it for a very long time and let it slow cook on low heat for even more time. 

19th Century Immigration

In the 19th century, Central and Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish communities began to face many hardships. They were banished from areas in Lithuania, Ukraine, and Galicia due to the Church and their fellow community members becoming hostile toward them. To escape this, many Jewish refugees fled to the United States and they brought their culture and recipes with them, including smoked brisket.

Because of the opportunities and land available in the West, many Jewish immigrants settled in Texas. Eventually, the Jewish community and Texas ranchers began sharing their recipes for brisket and working together to create new smoking processes. By the early 20th century, the smoked brisket was a Texas staple and Jewish delis all over Texas featured brisket on their menus.

Later in the 50s, Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas, became the first barbecue restaurant to offer brisket exclusively. From here, brisket only increased in popularity until brisket could be found not just throughout Texas, but all over the United States.

Bringing the Tradition of Smoked Brisket to San Diego County

Nowadays, how smoked brisket is prepared depends entirely on the area where it’s being cooked. Various regions have different ways of preparing this cut that have been developed over time and passed down from generation to generation. However, there’s one thing that is undisputable: it’s always cooked low and slow.

When you’re looking for authentic and delicious smoked brisket made with care in San Diego County and Lake Elsinore, visit any of our locations and try Clara’s BBQ beef brisket platter. At Felix’s BBQ With Soul, our goal isn’t just to provide our customers with great food, but with the Southern hospitality that should go along with BBQ and Soul Food as well. When you step into any of our locations, our goal is to make sure you feel just as comfortable and welcome as you would at home.

Visit us today! You can even order ahead of time here. We hope we’ll see you soon!