What Exactly Is A Deckle Of Beef?

If you're a beef eater, chances are you're familiar with several cuts, from skirt steak and sirloin to ribeye and filet mignon. Unless you're a real beef enthusiast or a passionate pitmaster, you may not be familiar with a deckle of beef.

Put simply, a deckle is a type of beef brisket. If you've eaten or prepared brisket, it likely was what's called first-cut or the flat cut. True to its name, the flat cut is the standard cut of brisket that lays (unsurprisingly) flat, making it easier to cook. However, this cut is fairly lean due to the removal of the deckle.

The deckle, known as the second cut, goes by several other names, including ribeye cap, point, cap of ribeye, the more scientific title Spinalis Dorsi, and the imagery-inducing moniker "butcher's butter." This fattier cut is the part that is responsible for keeping the rest of the brisket connected to the steer's rib cage. Like its leaner counterpart, it can be smoked or grilled, but its higher fat content makes it a candidate for other preparations, as well.

What to make with a deckle of beef

While the standard cut of brisket is often best cooked low and slow in your oven, smoker, or grill, the deckle can be a little more versatile if you're willing to work with its shape, which isn't quite as convenient as the flat cut. One popular approach among butchers is to grind it for burgers, a technique that home cooks could do with the right tools. But there are other preparations that this buttery beef works well in, too.

Another way to use deckle is in soups and stews. Beef stew and beef brisket soup will benefit from the cut's rich beefy flavor and fattiness. Chili is another option, using either chunks of the beef or the ground variety. You can also braise deckle, which makes for incredibly tender, mouthwatering slices of meat.

Additionally, deckle's fat can be used to enhance other meals. Before cooking, you'll likely need to cut some of the fat off of the meat. Save the pieces of trimmed fat and turn them into tallow for cooking meats or for making fried foods.

Where to find a deckle of beef

While first-cut brisket may be easy to find at your local grocery store, you may need to put in a little more effort to source deckle. Try asking the store's meat department if they have any in the back, or take a trip to your town's butcher shop if you have one. It's also sometimes possible to find it at Costco. Another option is to find sellers online.

If your attempts to find deckle using those options don't reap the rewards of finding the tender, fatty cut, you can also consider purchasing an entire brisket and butchering it at home. Look to local farms for availability of the whole cut, also known as packer brisket. Once you have it home, put your butchering tools and skills to work to remove the deckle from the rest of the brisket, and get ready to try a piece of beef that should be considered anything but a second-place cut.