On another forum the question went out to those that have been Qing for many years. Have you seen a change in brisket quality over the years and why do think that is.
A member posted this and since a lot of us are from farms, I thought this made sense:
"I am not wizard of commodity watcher, here is what I know and why.
1. In 1978, I went to Idaho and visited my uncle, he had several lots out on the back of his farm that held cattle. They were a mix of brown and black cattle. He also grew many acres of feed corn, to feed these cattle in his lots. When I asked him why he did this, here was his answer.
"I am required to bring these animals to market, through a jobber, at a given weight. He wants them all at once, and all in one range of carcass wieght. This assure him of a certain liklihood of getting the grading he needs, so I can get the price I need, to make it all pay off. The longer feed time I keep these cattle on corn, the fatter they get at the time of sale, this means higher grading and more money"
2. Some 12 to 15 years passed, and we ventured up to Idaho for my aunt's funeral, I noticed that there were no cattle. I also noticed that there was no corn in the fields. I knew they still were in the cattle business so I asked what the deal was. Because there is no time like your uncle's wifes funeral to ask about your food interests. He said this:
"While I still raise cattle, in fact, more than ever, they never come back to the lots here anymore, there is no need. My jobber is not being pressed for leaner meats and smaller cuts as that is what you folks in California and New York want, lean, dry meat. Since I graze my cattle on BLM land in Idaho, Utah and Montana, I sell them straight from roundup to the jobber. We don't fatten them up anymore. I don't grow the corn anymore because I dont' feed the cattle anymore. I can sell all the sugar beets I can grow to Pepsi, so we grow sugar beets"
I will say this, my uncles steaks, that he raised the cattle for the family, they could be cooked to well-done and still be eaten and considered fairly tender. He hated the way I ate steaks, said it wasn't healthy to eat raw meat (medium at the time). He fed his cattle a special corn silage, with oats, grass (I believe wheat) and barley in it. It smelled of beer.
The last time we spoke, before he passed on, he was telling me how he didn't understand the market anymore, that folks seemed to want very young animals, he called them some name, it meant just past yearling, as they were moving towards a 2 year slaughter. This would lead to a carcass with marketable but very lean steaks and smaller cuts from the shoulders and haunches. He also spoke about hybrids, that would have the tendency to bulk lean and have better market cuts.
"Never Trust A Skinny Cook"