Why and When to Wrap Brisket

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If you’re doing some research into how to smoke the perfect brisket, you’ve likely come upon the debate of whether or not to wrap a brisket when cooking it. While there are differing opinions on this, I am a firm believe that you should, so the only question is when to wrap brisket.

In this guide, we’ll tell you what you need to know, from when to wrap brisket, to the temperature at which you should wrap it. We’ll also go through the methods of wrapping brisket in butcher paper.

» Read moreWhat is the Texas Crutch? A Guide on Why and How to Use It.

Brisket in the traeger

Why Wrap Brisket

The technique of wrapping brisket in butcher paper during cooking help you achieve tender and juicy brisket and it also helps to avoid the “stall”.

If you’ve ever cooked a brisket before, you already know that it faces a stall where the cooking process slows down due to evaporation from the surface of the meat. Wrapping the brisket in butcher paper before the stall seals in the juices so they don’t evaporate, thus ensuring a shorter stall period.

Additionally, wrapping your brisket allows for greater control over the bark’s final appearance. This method was popularized by competition barbecue experts. If it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me.

Brisket in butcher paper

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Faster Cooking Time

When the meat gets internally hot (reaches 150°F – 160°F), the cooking starts to slow down. Then, moisture is released from the meat and starts to evaporate.

The evaporation cools down the meat, and the temperature stops rising. This period is called the meat stall and could last up to six hours.

When you wrap brisket, you create a sealed environment that traps moisture inside the meat, which cuts down on cooking time and prevents the stall.

Juicer Meat

We all want our meat to be juicy and tender; no one wants to bite into rough or dry meat. To get this juicier meat, you’ll want to wrap it.

As mentioned, wrapping brisket meat locks moisture inside. This guarantees that the meat’s natural juices are soaked back up, resulting in juicy meat.

When to wrap brisket

When to Wrap Brisket

There’s no agreed-upon rule for wrapping brisket, and experts have different opinions.

Some pitmasters wrap their meat according to the texture of the bark, while others will wrap it according to temperature or time. Some barbecue experts don’t wrap their brisket at all. What you do is obviously up to you. But I recommend trying both ways to see which suits you better.

Here are a few recommendations for wrapping your brisket:

  1. When the internal temperature is between 150° and 165° – Many pitmasters recommend doing this to beat the stall by wrapping the meat just before moisture starts escaping.
  2. When the bark becomes darker – When the bark’s color is a dark reddish brown, it’s a good time to wrap it.
  3. After 2-3 hours – This is usually when the brisket stall begins, meaning the time it takes for the internal temperature to reach around 150°F.

What Smokers We Use

Z grills

Z Grills 7002C2E Pellet Grill & Smoker

We use the 7002C2E, which has dual temperature probes, a huge pellet hopper and pellet viewing window, with a large grill space and streamlined design. See this grill and more on the Z Grills site.

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Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker

Did you know that Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill? The Pro Series 22 is the one most people choose because it’s compact, yet has plenty of space for cooking. You can use any type of wood pellets you like. See the Traeger Series 22 Grill on Amazon.

Wrapping Brisket in Butcher Paper

Several materials are used to wrap briskets, such as aluminum foil, butcher paper, or even a towel! In this guide, we’ll discuss wrapping the brisket in butcher paper.

Several famous pitmasters favor butcher paper for wrapping brisket, especially Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbeque in Austin, Texas, who uses pink unlined butcher paper for his world-famous bbq.

Traeger brisket p6

Reasons to Wrap Brisket in Butcher Paper

Wrapping brisket in butcher paper is a great way to cook it. For starters, It’s heavy-duty, so it supports the meat well without tearing.

Butcher paper also allows smoke to escape, as opposed to other materials that may trap smoke, and result in a smoky taste and smell.

Also, butcher paper forms a layer of moisture, which keeps the meat tender and speeds up the cooking time.

How to Wrap a Brisket in Butcher Paper

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of using butcher paper, here are the steps to wrapping brisket in it:

  • Get two large sheets of pink butcher paper
  • Lay the two sheets flat on a table on top of each other (make sure that the top sheet overlaps the bottom one by half its width)
  • Place the brisket on the butcher paper
  • Fold the paper around the brisket and roll it, making sure it’s tight enough
  • Each time you roll, tuck the paper tightly under the brisket
  • When you’re at the end of the butcher paper, fold the left-over paper under it and place it back on the grill
Butcher paper

Where Can I Buy Butcher Paper?

There are several places where you can buy butcher paper. One option is to visit your local grocery store. I’ve had luck buying it at my local Von’s and WinCo. You can also buy it in bulk at Costco. Another option is to buy it directly from a butcher’s shop.

You can also find butcher paper online, which is a convenient choice. You can buy it from online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or Target.

Finally, you can purchase butcher paper from specialty stores that sell restaurant and catering supplies.

Aluminium Foil vs Butcher Paper

Brisket in foil

When it comes to wrapping a brisket, the choice between aluminum foil and butcher paper ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Aluminum foil provides a tighter seal and will trap more moisture and flavor inside, resulting in a more tender and flavorful brisket. However, it can also lead to a softer bark or crust on the outside of the meat.

On the other hand, butcher paper allows for more airflow and evaporation, which can result in a crisper bark. It also provides a more natural and rustic look to the finished product. However, it may not retain as much moisture as foil, potentially resulting in a drier brisket.

Ultimately, the decision between the two will depend on your desired outcome and the specifics of your cooking process. Some people even use a combination of both, starting with foil and then switching to butcher paper near the end of the cooking process to achieve the best of both worlds.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, wrapping brisket is a great way to speed up cooking and create delicious and tender meat.

When grilling brisket, you should monitor its internal temperature, keep track of time, or check the color of the bark to know when to wrap it.

As for the material, butcher paper is excellent for wrapping brisket as it locks in moisture while allowing smoke to escape.

Mastering the art of grilling and wrapping brisket takes time and practice. Yet, the results could lead to mouthwatering meat that’ll leave all your guests coming back for seconds.


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