If you consider yourself a home chef or Grillionaire, such as me, then YOU know that the right tools are absolutely vital.
A good chef's knife, a seasoned cast iron skillet, and even a solid cutting board. However, think outside the box a little bit. What about a full of aluminum foil? (audible gasp)
If you REALLY think about it, it is one of the regularly used items in your kitchen. Laying on a baking sheet, covering your leftovers, draping over a dish to keep it warm. AND if you are into barbecue, like me, you know that a BIG roll of heavy duty foil is on par with a set of tongs!
Barbecue junkies, especially those that are familiar with smoking any kind of protein, are familiar with the method known as the dreaded "Texas Crutch". Never have I seen MORE people be judged for barbecue than when they use foil! The "Texas Crutch" is when the protein has taken on an adequate amount of smoke flavor and the grillionaire wraps the protein in foil. This method traps in heat, resulting in a shorter cook time, and it retains moisture, resulting in the fall-apart, tender greatness that we have come to know and love as good barbecue. The pros know this method better than anyone, and OFTEN use it in competition barbecue.
AND even though this method has been used FOR A LONG TIME, James Beard Award Winner and Author Aaron Franklin of Austin, Texas holds a trick up his sleeve that produces FAR superior results.
What is the secret?
When Franklin makes his POPULAR smoked brisket, he has a six stage cooking method for producing the BEST brisket you've ever tasted. He usually wraps at stage four of his six step method, and he wraps NOT IN FOIL, but UNCOATED butcher paper!
Now, let's be honest. This is not much of a secret. Yet, most people, when they are using butcher paper, are using coated paper and do not realize it! Uncoated butcher paper is more porous than foil, it will allow more steam to escape, but will also allow heat and air to penetrate, resulting in the desired crispy, flavorful, beautiful, IG ready crust or bark.
Plenty of like to leave their briskets unwrapped for the duration of the smoking cook. While this may result in a VERY smoky flavor and a crisp bark, you also run the risk of the meat drying out. And we ALL know brisket is temperamental and having it dry out can put your hours of effort to shame.
So, share the secret: uncoated butcher paper. This is an ideal solution to the "Texas Crutch".
Until next time, make sure you eat well, do well, and serve good food!