Like clothes, haircuts and sexual positions, cuts of meat go in and out of fashion. A few years ago it was pork belly. Now the flesh du jour is beef brisket. Both followed a rise in a certain style of restaurant: with belly it was the low-fuss bistro, and with brisket it’s the barbecue joint.
Belly is much more forgiving than brisket. You can totally screw up the cooking and it’ll still come out pretty good. That’s what makes it so popular with the home chef, and why something the butcher used to almost give away now costs as much as some prime cuts.
Brisket is a different beast. It takes a very, very long time to cook properly, with precise temperatures required throughout, and I don’t think any of Auckland’s otherwise brilliant new barbecue restaurants are quite getting it right yet.
It ends up tasting like brisket, sure, and it’s not unbearably tough, but the only places I can guarantee you’ll get that unrivalled, fall-apart texture is at Woodpecker Hill, in a sandwich at The Fed and, now, here at The Culpeper.