How to Wrap a Brisket in Butcher Paper
If you are a fan of slow-cooked brisket, you might be familiar with the debate around wrapping it in butcher paper vs. foil. While foil is a great option for keeping your brisket moist and tender, many pitmasters swear by butcher paper for creating a more authentic flavor and texture. In this article, we will explain how to wrap a brisket in butcher paper step by step, and answer some common questions about the process.
Why Wrap a Brisket in Butcher Paper?
Before we dive into the how-to, let’s first understand the reasons behind wrapping a brisket in butcher paper. Here are some benefits of this method:
1. Better smoke penetration: Butcher paper allows smoke to permeate the meat more efficiently compared to foil. This can result in a more pronounced smoky flavor and deeper smoke ring.
2. Crispy bark: Because butcher paper doesn’t trap moisture like foil does, the brisket can develop a crispier bark on the outside while still retaining moisture on the inside.
3. Less steaming: When you wrap a brisket in foil, you create a steaming effect that can soften the bark and change the texture of the meat. Butcher paper lets the brisket breathe a bit more, so there is less chance of steaming.
4. Environmentally friendly: Unlike foil, butcher paper is biodegradable and more eco-friendly.
How to Wrap a Brisket in Butcher Paper
Now that we’ve established why you should consider wrapping your brisket in butcher paper, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to do it. Follow these steps to wrap your brisket like a pro:
Step 1: Prepare your brisket
Season your brisket with your favorite rub or marinade, and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the flavors to penetrate. Make sure the brisket is at room temperature before you start cooking.
Step 2: Smoke the brisket
Smoke the brisket in your preferred smoker for the first few hours or until the internal temperature reaches around 160°F (71°C). This is typically when the brisket has developed a good amount of smoke flavor but isn’t quite tender yet.
Step 3: Wrap in butcher paper
Remove the brisket from the smoker and place it on a large sheet of uncoated butcher paper. Fold the paper over the brisket, tucking in the sides like wrapping a present. Make sure the paper is snug but not too tight around the brisket. Use butcher’s twine to tie the paper in place if needed.
Step 4: Continue smoking
Place the wrapped brisket back in the smoker, with the seam side facing down. Continue smoking until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of around 200°F (93°C) or until a probe slides easily into the meat. This can take anywhere from a few more hours to overnight, depending on the size of your brisket and the temperature of your smoker.
Step 5: Rest the brisket
Remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest in the butcher paper for at least an hour, or up to four hours if you have the time. This will allow the juices to redistribute and the flavors to meld together.
Step 6: Unwrap and serve
Remove the butcher paper from the brisket and slice it against the grain. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy your perfectly cooked, smoky brisket.
FAQs: Wrapping Brisket in Butcher Paper
Q: What kind of butcher paper should I use?
A: Use uncoated, unwaxed butcher paper, also called peach paper. This type of paper allows air to pass through and let the brisket breathe, while still providing a protective barrier against the smoker’s heat.
Q: When should I wrap the brisket in butcher paper?
A: It’s best to wrap the brisket in butcher paper after it has developed a good amount of smoke flavor and bark, which usually happens around the 4-5 hour mark. You can also wrap it earlier or later, depending on your personal preference and the texture you’re going for.
Q: Can I reuse the butcher paper?
A: While you technically can reuse butcher paper, it’s not recommended for hygiene reasons. Using fresh paper for each brisket ensures that there are no cross-contaminants and gives you a fresh start for each cook.
Q: What temperature should I smoke the brisket at?
A: The ideal smoking temperature for brisket is around 225°F (107°C), but you can go as low as 200°F (93°C) or as high as 275°F (135°C) depending on your smoker and your desired cook time.
Q: How long should I rest the brisket?
A: For best results, rest the brisket for at least an hour before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to relax, which makes it easier to slice and more tender to eat.
Wrapping It Up
Wrapping a brisket in butcher paper can be a game-changer for your barbecue game. Not only does it provide better smoke penetration and a crispy bark, but it’s also a more eco-friendly option compared to foil. With these simple steps and tips, you can wrap your brisket like a pro and enjoy a perfectly cooked, delicious meal every time.