Guide to Wrapping Brisket

Only a backyard pit master can tell at what temperature to wrap brisket in the butcher paper. Mastering a great brisket is something you will learn with patience in years. Becoming a brisket king is notoriously difficult for one reason or another. No wonder even foodie have blank stances for crutch brisket. Tons of recipes for cooking the perfect brisket are flowing in the competition circuit. This hard to get right piece of meat is worth all your struggle, time, and patience.

Hurry or go in blindly, and you will end up with an unyielding, hard-to-chew jerky piece of meat. The first ingredient to get your brisket recipe on shot is patience. Take a deep breath, muster up all your courage and cook with love and delicacy. Even the biggest pit masters cannot get it right on the first-ever try. Years of struggle and high morale let you shine bright among the brightest of the stars.

When you get the juicy and crunchy brisket, you will know that it was worth all the pain. Wrapping brisket in aluminum foil, butcher paper, and going naked has considerable effects on taste. Even wrapping brisket at different temperatures brings different outputs. Save yourself from all the trouble because here it is all put together. Do not waste your time working around but get yourself a complete step-by-step guide for smoking, wrapping, and cooking brisket.

When Should You Wrap a Brisket?

Now that you have finally decided to wrap the brisket with what wrapping, you need to get the correct answer to when should you wrap a brisket. Not a straightforward answer to this question. Nobody has defined the hard and fast rule for this. The shortest answer is, “It depends!” When wrapping a brisket, there are three most important variables you should consider.

Brisket Size:

Rationally, a brisket of a smaller size will get cooked earlier than that of a large one. Then consequently, a smaller brisket will lose its moisture way earlier than that of a large brisket on the other side. You already know why you wrap a brisket. Yes! to prevent it from losing all its moisture and getting hard and dry. If you do not want to end up with dry and hard meat, make sure you wrap the smaller briskets earlier in the cooking process.

For instance, consider wrapping a brisket that weighs seven to eight pounds after three to four hours. And if you have got a brisket of 12 – 13 pounds, wrap it within the six to seven hours mark.

Smoker Temperature:

The other dependent factor of wrapping a brisket is the temperature you set for your smoker. A brisket will cook early at a higher temperature, so you should wrap it a little earlier during the smoking process. Conversely, the critical time to wrap the brisket at a lower temperature will reach quite later. Like, if you’re going to smoke at 275 degrees Fahrenheit or above, wrap it early, or it will lose moisture.

If you’re looking for a smoker grill check our smoker grill guide.

Your Personal Preference:

The question is again, at what temp to wrap brisket? Based on your personal preference, it is not specific. At the end of the day, you are the one eating the smoked meat, so only you can decide how you like your brisket. According to most pit masters, 165 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit is the recommended internal temperature. But does everyone have that much patience? No! Many people wrap their briskets as soon as the stall hits 145 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. Everyone likes shortcuts, but shortcuts do not guarantee perfection.

If you want a crunchy and thick bark possible, wait for your meat to come out of the stall. The only way to know your right choice is to experiment with wrap timings. Try different temperatures at home and make notes until you find out the fittest wrap timings that work best for you.

what temp to wrap brisket

Why Do You Wrap it?

Most people would wrap their briskets just because they have seen a pit master doing it. Ask them a reason, and they would not be able to tell why exactly they are doing it. Maybe they have just been doing it because it is something good to do with a brisket.

Faster Cooking Time:

Before you understand how wrapping cooks meat faster, you need to know the proper cooking process. Any larger piece of meat subjected to stall will be right on the track as you expect unless it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or more. After this temperature, the unwrapped piece of meat will stop cooking.

Why exactly? The one-word answer is Evaporation. As soon as the temperature hits 165, the juices will start evaporating leaving a cooling effect behind. This situation could last for more than 6 hours. On the other side, wrapping brisket before critical temperature helps it in faster cooking.

Juicier Meat:

Wrapping brisket before critical temperature not only cooks it faster but also saves brisket from drying up. Wrapping brisket locks the tenderizing and delightful juices to add all the natural flavors to the meat. At this point in braising briskets, the cuts have already soaked up all the smoke, and it would not get over smoked.

Control Over The Bark:

When you wrap your brisket, it allows you to have complete control over the appearance of the bark. Most of the pit masters go for the mahogany-colored crust of the meat. It does not only add color, aroma, and an appetizing look to the brisket, but also it tastes yummy and delicious.

Again, it depends on your personal preference at what color and thickness you want to wrap your brisket. Whatever suits you better and satisfies your taste buds is the best time for you to wrap the brisket.

Wrapping Options:

When it comes to wrapping the brisket, you can follow two or more roads.

Aluminum Foil:

Wrapping the brisket in aluminum foil is the original Texas crutch method followed heavily in the competition circuit. Beginners could get their hands on better-braised brisket using aluminum foil as it is easier than other methods. You can get the aluminum foil conveniently and also it is cheap. Tinfoil is a very good conductor of heat which speeds up the cooking process.

If you do not want to get your brisket soggy, keep checking its temperature after every 30 minutes. Measure two arm lengths of the aluminum foil. Lay the meat on the top of the foil and wrap it tightly. The only downside to wrapping is the bark will get a little soft and moist.

Butcher Paper:

Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ has first introduced the pink butcher paper in Austin, Texas. If you happen to eat brisket at top BBQ joints in Texas, you will get served in butcher paper. Butcher paper differs greatly from aluminum foil. It allows smoke to get through and ends up getting an intense smoky aroma and taste of brisket.

Wrapping a brisket in butcher paper not only speeds up the cooking process but also keeps it from drying out by locking the moisture and heat in it. The end product is crispy, less moist, deep, and smokier than foil. The con is that butcher paper is not as tight as aluminum foil, and it might take longer to get cooked.

Wrapped Or Unwrapped? It’s Your Choose:

If you are not in a hurry and have a lot of patience for the crunchy, dark, and smoky bark, go for smoking without a wrap. The unwrapped bark turns out to be smokier, crispier, and drier from the outer crust. You know that leaving the bark unwrapped will be subject to the evaporation process. And the stall it will create can take hours to end.

If you think that going naked will cause your brisket to be drier, you can surely go with aluminum foil or a butcher paper wrap at any point you want. Experimenting is cool, right? Keep trying with different wrapping techniques and without wrapping until you get the perfect brisket to serve your friends.

How to Wrap a Brisket? Learn Step by Step:

So, if you have finally decided that you are going to wrap your brisket, this is for you. There are plenty of schools of thought to guide you through the wrapping process of a brisket. Choose the wrapping technique depending on your choice of brisket. Find yourself the taste that works for you.

Steps to Follow:

These are six majorly followed guidelines and steps to wrap the brisket. Follow every step carefully and get the right shot.

  1. Place the brisket on the wrapping sheet keeping the presentation side upwards. Fold the bottom sheet edge in such a way that it covers the whole meat. Pull the sheet as tight as you can and make sure that it properly covers every side of the meat.
  2. Wrap the sheet tight along with the brisket shape until it makes a triangle in front of you. Keep the wrapping smooth and flat.
  3. Turn around the brisket such that the triangle is not facing you. Tuck the extra sheet under the corner so that it holds in place. Repeat the same process for other sides while keeping the wrap smooth and flat.
  4. Hold the brisket tightly against the wrapping and roll it until the end of the paper. Pull the paper up and fold the sheet from the sides in.
  5. Once the wrapping procedure ends, the outlook of the brisket should be like a long rectangle. Double its thickness and cut its length in half by folding the rectangle over itself.
  6. Keep the wrapping snug and tight and roll over the extra sheet over the rectangle. Make sure the thick side is under the meat, and the presentation side faces upwards.

Throw your brisket in the smoker and braise it.