A Florida judge has made a ruling that is sure to have brisket fans as steamed as a pastrami.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Timothy McCarthy effectively found that, for legal purposes in one particular case, there is no difference between Jewish-style deli brisket and Texas-style barbecue brisket.
According to the Palm Beach Post, the dispute stemmed from two restaurants in the same Boca Raton shopping center, Shorty’s and Ben’s of Boca. Shorty’s, a regional barbecue chain, moved in three years ago, directly across from Ben’s, a New York-based kosher deli.
Ben’s lease agreement granted it exclusive rights to serve the fatty beef cut in the shopping center. Shorty’s, which reportedly makes about 5 percent of its total annual revenue off of the “signature dish,” was explicitly banned from serving it.
During the trial, McCarthy showed that he understood the difference between the smoked and slow-braised briskets. But he still found the “sale of any presentation of this cut of meat is prohibited and restricted by anyone other than Ben’s, using clear and unambiguous language in both Ben’s lease and Boca Shorty’s restrictions.”
However, voicing the opinion of brisket aficionados everywhere, Shorty’s attorney Sam Spatzer insists the restaurants aren’t in competition.
“People who want barbecue brisket don’t want deli-brisket, and people who want deli-brisket don’t want barbecue brisket,” he said. “It’s apples and oranges, as far as I’m concerned.”