Wrap or not to wrap, that is the question. I have struggled with this dilemma for years. For those of you that don’t know, I’m referring to the barbecue trick known as the Texas Crutch. Basically, you smoke the meat for a period of time, then pull it off and wrap it in foil with some liquid and put it back on the smoker to finish cooking. It’s a great technique and I have used it many times. While it keeps the meat moist and cuts cooking time, the meat does not pick up anymore smoke and the brisket tastes more like an oven roast than barbecue. On the other hand, cooking a brisket unwrapped does have a true smokey barbecue flavor, but it can be dry and the bark is very hard. While I like a hard bark on my pork butts, I don’t really like it on my brisket. How can I get a brisket moist and still have a good smoke flavor?
|My New Wrap, Pink Butcher Paper|
I was doing some brisket research and ran across a YouTube video with Brisket Guru, Aaron Franklin, the video is at the bottom of this post. Aaron cooked 3 briskets, one wrapped in foil, one wrapped in pink butcher paper and another unwrapped. The foil wrapped brisket was really moist like a pot roast with a hint of smoke. The unwrapped brisket had a crunchy bark with a lot of smoke flavor. The butcher paper brisket was moist with a good smoke flavor and a softer bark, which is exactly the way I want my brisket. I immediately scoured the internet for pink butcher paper. I found some good deals on a 900ft roll but, I thought that might be a little much. I found a 18″x150ft roll on Amazon.com that was better suited to my needs. Note: Be sure to get unwaxed paper that is FDA approved for food.
|Brisket Seasoned with Casa Seasoning|
I got my roll of butcher paper in the mail and now all I needed was a brisket. I picked up a nice 13lb choice grade packer brisket from Sams. I trimmed off the fat on the meat side and trimmed down the really thick parts of the fat cap, but was sure to leave plenty of fat on the brisket. I really wanted to just test how the butcher paper wrap was going to work, so I kept it simple and used my Casa Seasoning for the rub. I was going to do this old school, just meat and smoke.
|Brisket before the wrap|
For the first stage of the cook I smoked the brisket unwrapped for 4 hours. I was trying to cook it at 275-300 but my temp got away from me and the BGE got up to 350. So my brisket cooked a little faster than I wanted it too.
|Just like rolling a big burrito!|
After the smoke, I pulled the brisket off and wrapped it with the pink butcher paper. I laid down two sheets and placed the brisket fat side up and rolled it like a big burrito. I flipped it once, tucked in the corners, flipped it again and then placed it back on the smoker to finish cooking. After 3 hours, I unwrapped the brisket and put it back on the BGE unwrapped for 45 minutes to bark up a little bit. Since my brisket cooked a faster than I wanted and dinner was a few hours away, I wrapped it in foil and placed it in an ice chest to rest.
I started slicing the brisket and I could tell it was going to be good. The bark firm but easy to cut through. The meat was really tender and very moist. As the for the taste…it was spot on, the meat was beefy with a good smoke flavor. It was exactly what I wanted. I was really impressed how good it came out, no fancy rubs, no injections or marinades, just smoke, meat and a little bit of spice. In my quest to pack more flavors in my barbecue I sometimes forget that sometimes simple tastes best.
|Mrs. AlbuKirky made some great sides, Mac & Cheese, Broccoli Slaw and of course homemade bread.|
My brisket was served with some delicious high-end sides prepared by Mrs. AlbuKirky. She made a rich and creamy Mac & Cheese, a crunchy and tangy broccoli slaw and, of course, her homemade bread. Dessert was provided by my sister-in-law, Patricia…a delicious cream cheese cherry pie. When it comes to Sunday Dinner the AlbuKirkys don’t mess around!