When to Wrap a Brisket?
By: Jack Mancuso
If you’ve watched my vids, you know that I enjoy cooking with brisket. It can be a tough cut of meat unless you treat it properly. One of the tricks I use for making a brisket with great bark and tenderness is wrapping it in aluminum foil or butcher paper. The wrap helps to keep moisture in the meat, ultimately speeding up the cooking process. This technique is commonly called the "Texas crutch."
Which Wrapping is Best?
I generally lean into aluminum. An aluminum wrap provides the most protection from heat. This method can lead to a moister finished product. However, it may produce a softer bark and less pronounced smoky flavor than butcher paper. Your rub choice can offset that loss. One example is Cuso’s Dust Seasoning, filled with spices ideal for brisket, including smoked paprika, brown sugar, mustard powder, and hickory powder.
Butcher Paper: Butcher paper allows for some protection from direct heat while still permitting the exchange of smoke and moisture. This method can help maintain a good bark while also retaining more moisture. Another of our all-natural blends you could use as a rub before wrapping the brisket is Cuso’s Gravel Seasoning, which creates a great textured crust.
Why Wrap the Brisket?
A brisket can be a flavor-forward gift, so why not wrap it up (without the bow, of course)?
Wrapping a brisket during the cooking process offers several benefits:
- Juicy! Wrapping locks in the natural juices of the brisket, preventing it from drying out during the long cooking period. Bring napkins!
- Time-friendly: The wrap acts as an insulator, speeding up the cooking process by trapping heat and allowing the brisket to cook more quickly.
- Succulence: The wrap tenderizes the brisket by creating a moist environment. This facilitates the breakdown of connective tissues that would otherwise be tough.
- Bark: Wrapping the brisket preserves the coveted outer "bark," the textured, tasty crust that forms on the surface of the meat during the initial cooking phase.
- Flavor Savor: During the wrapping process, the brisket absorbs additional flavors from any added liquids, seasonings, or spices, further enhancing its taste profile. How about Cuso’s Maple Bourbon Seasoning?
PitMaster’s Memo The Sweet Spot: When to Wrap a Brisket and When is it Done?
Most grill masters suggest wrapping your brisket when it reaches 150-170. Wrapping and unwrapping can be done strategically to control the appearance of the bark, preserving crispiness. Once the meat reaches the desired temperature, unwrap it and cook at a lower temperature to re-crisp the bark.
But When is the Brisket Done?
When your brisket reaches an internal temperature of around 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s cooked through. Once it reaches that temperature, the heat has broken down the collagen leaving you with tasty tenderness through and through.
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