If you’re wondering when you should wrap your brisket, you’re in the right place!
In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you’ll learn:
- When to wrap your brisket on the smoker
- Why you should do it
- And much more!
Jump to Section
When to Wrap a Brisket
There’s a lot of debate among barbecue aficionados on when the best time to wrap a brisket is. Many of them suggest that you should do it at the beginning of the stall.
The stall is when the brisket’s cooking process starts to slow down, and it typically occurs when it reaches an internal temperature of around 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, there are instances that the brisket stalls at a lower temperature.
When you notice that the internal temperature starts to stay still, you should take the brisket off the heat and wrap it.
Why You Should Wrap Brisket
It’s not a requirement to wrap a brisket when cooking it, but it’s highly recommended. There are many benefits to wrapping the meat, including speeding up the cooking process.
It is all a matter of personal preference, but here are some advantages of wrapping brisket to be aware of:
Cut Down on Cooking Time
If you want your brisket to cook more quickly, wrapping it is a great solution. It allows you to beat the stall, skipping over the period of time when the internal temperature usually stops climbing.
The stall happens due to the surface evaporation of moisture from the meat and can extend the cooking process for as long as six hours.
When you wrap a brisket, you trap the moisture inside.
Wrapping insulates the brisket, allowing the temperature of the meat to rise again. This results in a faster cooking time, allowing you to enjoy your brisket faster.
A perfect brisket is moist and tender. However, cooking a brisket for too long may cause the meat to dry out.
By wrapping your brisket, you’ll be able to lock in the meat’s natural juices, which will make it more chewy and extra flavorful.
Moreover, wrapping your brisket stops the meat from taking in too much smoke, which gives it a lighter, more pleasant flavor.
Control Over the Bark
When you cook a brisket, you want the outer layer, or bark, to look appetizing. Wrapping your brisket gives you more control over the end appearance of the bark.
Are There Downsides to Wrapping Brisket?
Just like every awesome thing in this world, there is a downside to wrapping brisket, and that is that your brisket might not have as much of a smoke flavor. You also may have your brisket ending up a different texture than what you are used to.
Additionally, wrapping brisket does make it easier to overcook it accidentally, so you’ll need to keep an eye on yours if it is wrapped.
Pros and Cons of Wrapping Brisket
- Brisket cooks faster
- The brisket stays moist and tender
- Lessens the smoke flavor
- Allows you to hold your brisket at a certain temp after cooking.
- Less, or no bark
- Easy to overcook your brisket
- May not have enough smoke flavor for your tastes.
What Should You Wrap Brisket With?
There are several options for wrapping brisket and we’ve listed them below.
Options for Wrapping Brisket:
- Aluminum foil
- Parchment paper
- Butcher paper
- A towel (no joke!)
As you can see, you’ve got lots of options for wrapping brisket. But if you want to wrap it with something not on this list, we would advise against it!
What is Texas Crutch?
If you love cooking brisket or barbecuing in general, you’ve probably heard the term “Texas Crutch” at least once or twice. It refers to the process of grilling any large piece of meat by wrapping it tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil.
The process is simple: Once the meat has developed an appetizing bark, take it off the grill or smoker, wrap it in aluminum foil, and put it back in to finish cooking completely.
It is one of the several techniques used to wrap and cook a juicy, appetizing brisket.
The term “Texas Crutch” has been used for a long time, though the exact origin of the term remains a mystery. The process is said to be often used on Texas’ competition barbecue circuits. Competitors used this technique to meet deadlines when cooking brisket, the traditional cut of Texans.
Read More >> Smoked Brisket Recipe – Texas Style
When Should You Wrap a Brisket?
There isn’t one answer to when you should or shouldn’t wrap a brisket, and generally it’s based on your own personal preference. We cover a few of the options of when to wrap brisket below.
Before or After the Stall?
Barbeque experts cannot agree on the best time to wrap brisket. There is no one right way to wrap, and it comes down to personal preference.
Some people wrap the brisket before they put it on the grill. It makes the cooking time significantly faster. However, grilling your brisket this way prevents you from having a crunchy exterior and smokey flavor.
If those aspects are important to you, then you may need to wait to wrap the brisket until it reaches the stall.
If you’re waiting until the stall, start by grilling the brisket for a couple of hours, allowing it to absorb a smoky flavor and develop a nice bark. Wait until the stall begins. Then, take the brisket off the grill, wrap it, and put it back to finish cooking.
What Temp to Wrap Brisket
Barbeque experts have different opinions on what the ideal internal temperature of the meat should be before you wrap it. However, it is best to do it at the beginning of the stall, which in most cases will be around 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is important not to wrap the brisket too early so it can develop a nice crunchy bark and a smoky flavor. Depending on your brisket’s size, it may be 8-10 hours before the stall begins.
Read More >> How Long to Smoke Brisket per Pound
How To Wrap Brisket in Aluminum Foil
When it comes to wrapping briskets, aluminum foil is the most popular choice. It is the material you need if you want to use the Texas Crutch method. It is also a common household item, so you most likely have it somewhere in your kitchen.
To wrap a brisket using foil, you’ll need two long pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Stack one on top of the other and place the brisket on them. Wrap the brisket up as tight as you can, then put it back on the smoker to finish cooking.
What’s great about an aluminum foil is that you can wrap it tightly around the meat, allowing you to create a tight seal around the brisket. The foil will keep any aromas from escaping the meat and will give your brisket a strong flavor.
The only downside of using aluminum foil for wrapping is that it creates a very tight seal that traps excessive moisture. This can give you a softer bark, which is a deal-breaker for some.
There’s a quick-fix solution for this concern. Within the last hour of your projected cooking time, remove the foil to give your brisket enough time to re-crisp the bark.
How To Wrap Brisket in Parchment Paper
Parchment paper is a type of coated paper primarily used for baking. However, it is also great for wrapping brisket. It may be a thin and delicate material, but using it to wrap a brisket is incredibly easy.
To wrap the brisket in parchment paper, you need two wide sheets of parchment paper. These sheets must be at least four times longer than the brisket’s width. Place the first piece of parchment paper on the surface. After that, lay down the second paper over the top and make sure it overlaps it by at least half of its width.
Place the brisket on the sheets with the flat side facing up. You then need to fold the bottom edge of the overhanging paper over the brisket’s top. Finally, fold in the sides and tuck under the brisket. Make sure to do it as tightly as possible.
Parchment paper is a more breathable option than aluminum foil. It allows some evaporation to occur, which can keep the bark from becoming too moist and soft. It is also effective in speeding up the cooking process and helping trap some of the brisket’s juices to retain flavor.
Take note, however, that some types of parchment paper tear easily or may ignite. If you want to use parchment paper, choose sheets that are heat-resistant up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid any fires.
How To Wrap Brisket in Butcher Paper
Butcher paper is another option for wrapping brisket. It helps speed up the cooking process, while still allowing some smoke to get through. A lot of Texas barbeque restaurants prefer wrapping their briskets with butcher paper.
However, it’s important to note that it does not cut down the cooking process as much as other methods.
Wrapping brisket in sheets of butcher paper is similar to the process of wrapping it using parchment paper. Unlike using aluminum foil, this method may need a little bit of practice to get right.
If you need help visualizing, there are YouTube tutorials online with step-by-step instructions.
- You will need two sheets of pink butcher paper that are about four times longer than the brisket’s width.
- Put the sheets on top of each other, making sure that the second sheet overlaps the first sheet by only about half of its width.
- Start folding the paper, making sure it is tight and secure.
- Place the brisket on the end of the paper, fold over both short sides, and roll it over several times down the long side of the paper.
- Once you reach the end, you can tape or otherwise secure the paper with fireproof material to keep it from unfolding.
Since butcher paper allows a little bit more smoke through, you can expect a smokier flavor when you use this method.
So even though the cooking time will be a little longer compared to using aluminum foil, it is still a better choice if having a strong smokey flavor and crisp bark is what you prefer more.
How To Wrap Brisket in Foil and a Towel
Wrapping your brisket in aluminum foil and a towel is done when the brisket is already completely cooked.
This method keeps the internal temperature from immediately dropping too low, and will allow the meat to rest and remain hot and juicy before serving.
Resting your brisket before serving will improve its texture and the overall eating experience. It is not always necessary, but it’s a great option to consider when you need to wait for more than an hour to carve and serve the brisket.
The method is fairly straightforward.
Take out the cooked brisket off of the grill or smoker.
If it is already wrapped in aluminum foil or paper, you don’t need to replace them. You can move on to the next step. If your brisket is unwrapped, follow the steps above for wrapping it in aluminum foil or butcher paper.
Next, get a clean towel and wrap it around your brisket. The two layers will insulate the meat and keep it from drying out or getting cold.
Some people leave it on the counter, and others find that putting the fully-wrapped brisket into an empty cooler will provide extra insulation and heat retention. You can leave it this way until it is ready to be served.
Read More >> Reheating Brisket Without Drying it Out
Should You Wrap Brisket in Freezer Paper?
Similar to parchment paper and butcher paper, freezer paper is another moisture-resistant material used for storing meat. A lot of people assume that this material is an acceptable alternative for wrapping brisket when cooking. However, it is not advisable to do so.
This material is designed to wrap meats that are meant to be put in the freezer. It is not resistant to heat. Cooking freezer paper can cause it to melt onto your brisket.
It is only recommended to wrap brisket with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or butcher paper, all of which are heat resistant.
Is Adding Liquid Necessary When Wrapping Briskets?
Adding liquid while cooking brisket isn’t necessary, but like everything, is up to personal preference.
There are several options to choose from if you decide to add liquid. Some people will add plain water, you can also add apple cider, beer, beef broth, or even vinegar.
Make sure that you don’t go overboard with whatever liquid or combination that you choose. Using a spray bottle is a great way to get a thin layer of moisture on the brisket.
If you opt to wrap your brisket with aluminum foil, you can add a small amount of liquid to the sheets before putting it in and wrapping the brisket.
Read More >> Smoked Brisket Taco Recipe
Brisket Wrapped or Unwrapped? It’s Your Choice!
Whether or not you choose to wrap your brisket is entirely up to you. It is highly recommended to do so if you want to cut down the cooking time and keep the brisket moist and tender, but you can always experiment with different methods to see which works the best for you and your smoker or grill.
There are different materials you can use to wrap your briskets. If you want the process to be a little easier, go with high-quality aluminum foil. However, if you want to ensure your brisket has a superior flavor and texture, with a crunchy bark, opt for either butcher or parchment paper.
It is not recommended to use freezer paper or other flammable materials. Find the method that works best for you, smoke it, slice it, and enjoy your delicious brisket!
If you want tolearn more about grilling, check out these other helpful resources!