Chef Ronnie Killen, the classically trained chef turned pitmaster, is gracing H-E-B shelves with his newest fully-cooked beef brisket in around 50 stores in the Houston market. If the public takes a liking to this pre-cooked smoked brisket, H-E-B will consider broadening its availability in Texas.
“It’s not going to be like you’re taking it off the pit,” Chef Killen commented on the new product. “This is for people who don’t have 12 to 15 hours to cook a brisket.”
According to Houston Chronicle, the brisket is USDA Choice-grade that has been rubbed with salt, pepper, and a few other spices, then pit-smoked for 15 hours using pecan and oak.
“It’s basically built for time,” Chef Killen said. “You don’t have to worry about charcoal or wood, or about seasoning and smoking.”
The cooking is not done at any of Killen’s restaurants, but at J Bar B Foods in Waelder, a respected co-packer and food service manufacturer. Once ready, the cooked briskets are cut in half so that both the fatty and lean parts of the whole brisket are in one portion, and is then shrink wrapped and sold in the refrigerated meats section of the grocery store. Available in 4 to 5 pound packages, the briskets are priced at $12.99 per pound.
“It really is aimed at the customer that doesn’t have the time and experience dedicated to cooking a brisket,” said Melissa Cavanaugh, H-E-B’s Business Development Manager, Cooked Meats. “We’ve trimmed it, seasoned it, and put it on a pit for 15 hours. We wanted to make sure we stayed true to the craftsmanship of classic Texas brisket using traditional methods of craft barbecue and natural smoke.”
With the latest release in stores, naturally discussions lead to possible barbecue sauce pairings. Luckily, H-E-B is already a step ahead.
“We really want to grow brands and partnerships with great Texas people,” Cavanaugh said. “The partnership with Ronnie makes sense. He’s well known and has a great brand and a great product.”
Is this the beginning of a One True Pairing? Keep following Deli Market News as we report on more amazing collabs in the industry.