The Absolute Best Way To Wrap Brisket For A Crispy Bark

If you consider yourself a cook (home or professional), you know that there are some kitchen tools that are absolutely vital, such as a good chef's knife, a well-seasoned cast iron pan, and a solid cutting board. Thinking outside of the box, though, how about a roll of aluminum foil? If you think about it, it's one of the things used regularly for things like laying over your baking sheets for easy clean up, covering your lasagna in the oven to avoid over browning, wrapping around pie crusts for the same reason, and draping over any dish to keep it warm. And if your specialty is barbecue, you know a big roll of foil is right up there with a sturdy set of tongs.

Barbecue junkies, specifically those specializing in smoking meat, are familiar with a method known as the "Texas Crutch," or wrapping large pieces of meat in foil once the meat takes in adequate smoke flavor and the outside has a nice color. According to Food Fire Friends, the foil traps in heat, resulting in a shorter cook time, and retains moisture, resulting in fall-apart, tender goodness. Professional pitmasters know this method like the back of their hands and often use it in competition. 

Although the practice is tried and true, James Beard award winner Aaron Franklin of Austin, Texas' famed Franklin Barbeque holds a trick up his sleeve that produces superior results (via MasterClass).

Try butcher paper instead

To make his popular smoked brisket, Franklin smokes a huge 12-pound portion for 12 hours. MasterClass outlines his 6-stage cooking method, noting that the brisket is ready to wrap at stage four. Franklin removes the brisket from the smoker and wraps it, not in foil, but in uncoated butcher paper, as noted by MasterClass. More porous than aluminum foil, the butcher paper will allow more steam to escape (don't worry, enough will stay in to regulate the cooking temperature and keep the meat tender), but will also allow heat and air to penetrate, resulting in that desired crispy, flavorful crust.

Plenty of people simply leave their brisket unwrapped for the duration of the smoking process, but Bearded Butchers suggests, while this may result in the strongest smoke flavor and crispiest coating, it also puts you at risk for drying out the meat, possibly putting your hours and hours of effort to shame. So, like Franklin, they believe the meat should be wrapped in butcher's paper, which they claim is the "ideal solution to the Texas Crutch."