When to Wrap Brisket (And Why You Should)

TheGrillingDad.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you. We use our affiliate earnings to buy tasty snacks and new toys.

 

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!
when to wrap 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.

Jump To A Section

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.

Juicier Meat

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.

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

How to Beat the Brisket Stall?

Wrapping brisket is a sure way to beat the stall. However, wrapping is not the only method to do so. People who don’t want to try the wrapping method just wait it out.

Even though the internal temperature of the brisket seems to stop climbing, it will eventually rise. However, it can take hours. You’ll need to start the cooking process early in the morning if you want to ensure that you can indulge in a delicious brisket by the end of the day.

Most people won’t have this amount of time, and opt to wrap their brisket to efficiently beat the stall.

You can use parchment paper, aluminum foil, or butcher paper to wrap, it is just important to keep the moisture trapped inside, allowing the brisket to cook much faster.

Should You Wrap a Brisket 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

What’s the Difference Between Wrapping the Point and Wrapping the Flat?

Both the brisket flat and point are great for smoking. Which one is better will depend on how you plan to serve the brisket.

The flat portion is better for slicing since it is flavorful but not too fatty. The point will be better for dishes that call for shredded meat, like sandwiches.

The flat has a slightly shorter cooking time than the point, but both can be wrapped the same way.

The same rules apply. Wrap the brisket at the beginning of the stall, which happens when the internal temperature of the brisket reaches around 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

The process of how you wrap them will remain the same whether you’re smoking a whole packet of brisket or smoking the point and flat separately.

Read More >> How Long to Smoke Brisket at 250 Degrees

Final Thoughts on Wrapping Brisket

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!

Shawn Hill

Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I run this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

About The Grilling Dad

You’ve got grilling questions. We’ve got the best grilling answers from a network of seasoned grilling pros.

Our team has spent hundreds of hours researching products. Learn more about why you can trust our recommendations.

As Seen In

the grilling dad featured in media and magazines

Popular Buying Guides

Recently Published Posts