In search of brisket for smoking and good carne asada for gilling

I’m in the Northwest San Fernando Valley but will travel.

If someone can recommend a good place to get brisket for smoking (either whole or no smaller than 2 pieces), I would appreciate it. We’re looking for a good balance of quality and cost.

The places we have been getting Carne Asada for home cooking are either gone (RIP La Gardenia in San Gabriel) or just not as good any more - the nearest Vallarta doesn’t do a wet marinade any more. I don’t know if that is just locally, but on it’s best day, it was decent and not great in our opinion. Super King is better than Vallarta, but it seems like we should be able to do a lot better.

Thanks in advance for reading and thinking about this.

something wrong with prime brisket packers @ Costco?

Well this is definitely traveling, but this place might fit the bill:

Unfortunately my valley friends all go to Vallarta, and I go to the places near me, which are fine but not worth the trek.

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thanks for the lead. Guess I need to stop by with a cooler and do what this guy is doing

Another customer, Eric Miramontes, 36, who is a self-employed trucker, regularly makes the 120-mile round trip to La Carniceria from Rialto with a homie—all in the name of excellent carne asada meat. “We usually drop around $150 per trip between my homie and me.” He admits that he’s bought at least five tomahawks from La Carniceria “The thing is you don’t need much of this cut because it’s so satisfying, one tomahawk is enough to tease your taste buds for you and the family, along with the rest of the meats.”

Ruiz is onto something big. Over the 4th of July weekend, he sold over seven tons of prime-grade beef between both locations.


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Coulda pulled it off the grill a minute sooner but the asada I got from there was damn good


Costco has quality whole packer briskets for a good price. As a whole brisket there is a lot of fat cap to trim - which is great if you grind your own burgers. I have become enamored of J. Kenji-Lopez Alt’s variation of this using chuck, Barbecue Smoked Beef Chuck Recipe. It is much more forgiving than brisket, and the results are close.


I’m a big fan of Costco’s flap meat for asada. It’s just the right thickness and has the perfect amount of marbling for those essential charred fatty bits.

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Mmmmm… charred fatty bits…


I would encourage marinating your own asada… it’s 4-5 simple ingredients.


The best!

This sounds awesome, thanks for sharing. The spouse and I are making note of it for when either of us are semi-in the area.

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It is on my list to do :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for this recipe idea. I had not thought of it. We will definitely try it next time the smoker is on. (I usually try to to fill the smoker every time we use it).

Thank you everyone for the replies. I looked for brisket during my last Costco trip and did not find brisket. I will look again and ask my brother (who goes to a different Costco than me) to look as well.

For the most part, I prefer Sprouts meat to Costco, although last visit I noted they both sell the same brand of pork ribs, which we always have good success with.

Thanks again; the input is very appreciated.

Port Town Foods has good prices on flap meat and skirt steak (current week’s specials here). Since I posted in this forum I’ve been and gotten the jidori chicken breast pieces and grass fed tri-tip.

The people there were really friendly and helpful. The owner seems a little relaxed with how he conducts business but that could work out in your favor; I came in with a price from the weekly email that was different than what they had in the system and he honored it.

Even though the weekly special emails have odd punctuation (like “wagyu” beef) that made me question the provenance and quality of the products the owner was really open about his sources when I asked.

Jim’s fall brook market has its own in house butcher shop which always has whole briskets.

Another option is BBQ HQ in simi you can call ahead and they order everything from premier meats which is a restaurant supplier.

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Sprouts and Smart & Final are same company. Can’t vouch for quality, but I’ve seen whole briskets at Smart & Final.

*just read Smart & Final was sold a few months ago

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To note: when choosing a brisket, try getting one that is very limp (not stiff) as it will yield better results. You can always check for a flexible brisket by holding the brisket on the thick end and making sure it flexes to a 90 degrees. This means there is less hard fat which is either (a) unlikely to render properly or (b) must be cut away as it is not a kind of fat that is palatable. This will also give you better yield when cooking. Also look at the flat and check for marbling. Also make sure the flat is pretty thick, a thin flat that is uneven in thickness will cook at uneven rates and likely dry out on the thin side.

I have found good quality briskets at Costco, they even had Snake Rivers Wagyu briskets at one point, I believe near 4th of July (or some holiday with warm weather).

Happy hunting!


from where?

COSTCO Business Center may be a better option since it’s more geared towards businesses including restaurants. I mean, they even sell whole pigs for roasting.

I’ve only been to the one in North Hollywood / Burbank.