There’s nothing like a beef brisket to serve a crowd. However, don’t let that discourage you from cooking one every now and then for just your family, whatever size that may be.

Brisket freezes well and, if shredded, is perfect for French dip sandwiches. Don’t discard the French onion soup broth that this brisket cooks in. It’s just right for sandwich dipping.

Remember to talk to the person who staffs the grocery meat counter. A good, experienced butcher is a good source of information on cooking that particular meat. And just because only the whole brisket is displayed doesn’t mean that the butcher won’t cut it if you only want half. Some stores do charge a fee for the service, however.

If the brisket is on sale, get it whole, cut it in half when you get home and trim off the excess fat. Put half in the freezer for another time. If you need the whole thing for a big gathering, you will still need to cut it at least in half to fit your slow cooker. This is a good time to use a large cooker.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at