Finding fatty brisket (and other cuts) in London, UK?



New member
Hi folks.

I'm a US expat living in London and new to smoking. We have some wonderful local butchers here, and although meat is expensive as compared to the US I always thought the quality was quite good. I've just gotten into smoking, and I purchased my first 2.5kg piece of "test" brisket (point and small flat piece) the other day from a well-respected butcher in Stoke Newington. I immediately noticed zero fat cap right out of the pack, and a small amount of fat between the flat and point. After I cleaned it at home, I was struck at the leanness of the meat. See this picture for a representation of what mine looks like. That's not actually mine but another UK brisket. I'm looking for this type of cut to have some decent marbling within the meat. Something like this.

Reading the UK BBQ forums, it seems that everyone searches for UDSA beef. Tom Hixson seems to be a popular vendor. Look at those prices though! From what I understand the brisket is UDSA choice at the equivalent of $95 for 11lbs!

Am I crazy? Is there something about UK beef (grass fed?) that makes it leaner than US beef? For those here in the UK, can you recommend a location to buy good fatty brisket? I do have a Costco membership, but I need to rent a car to make the trip so I usually only do so once a quarter. Costco only sells Scotch beef, and over the phone they admitted its a bit of a crap shoot on the overall leanness of the meat. They did say they'd help me look for a decent cut, but I'm not hopeful it will be even as marbled as USDA choice.

I didn't really know where to post this, so thanks for the help.
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yes UK cattle are generally grass fed and slaughtered at a younger age - so meat is much leaner.
we buy USDA or Australian grain fed briskets for competition cooks.
you can still smoke UK briskets - but need to add some stock/jus/beer etc at the wrapping stage to enhance the moisture content

there are a few online butchers who can provide USDA briskets - but they're still a minimum of £50 for a small one...
I;m sure if we're allowed to post links to businesses - but if you're on the UK forums (Facebook and/or Twitter) - look for Mark Burley (Bobs Butchers) or James Lowe (JL Butchers) both will supply over mail order AND know the US cuts that you're going to ask for - including St Louis ribs, butts, tri-tip etc etc
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Cheers Chris! Both those recommendations look promising. Pricing is a shame, but there's not much I can do about that.

I'm going to give the brisket some flavour injections prior to smoking, and I'll definitely add some liquid to the crutch. Thanks!
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