Brisket is one of the most complex meats to make at home, unless you have tried it many times and finally mastered the meal.
Brisket making takes a lot of time and patience. The only question that everyone has in mind while getting the smoker ready for meat is when to wrap the brisket and when it should be smoked naked.
These details are very important. Wrapping it will impact the cook time and texture. That is why, we give you a quick overview on when to wrap brisket.
Wrap or Not to Wrap?
There are two main options that everyone follows while smoking brisket. You can either wrap it or cook naked.
Since both the methods create difference in the way brisket is cooked, you should understand the basics and how they individually impact the meal.
1. Bare Naked Brisket
Brisket is tough meat and the best way of cooking it is on low flame for slow cooking. You can go with the cooking just as it is by adding some spices and no wrapping. However, since the meat is rigid, it will take a lot of time to cook when it is naked and to attain the tenderness.
It has been observed that an unwrapped brisket takes up to 15% more time to smoke than a wrapped brisket. The sad part is that due to the extended time, the meat will also drain of all the moisture which can result in drying of the brisket.
There are some unmissable benefits of cooking naked as well. Since it does not have any layer on the top, you give it maximum exposure to the smoke which will amplify the smoky flavor. Plus, the color is amazing as the heat directly touches the meat.
So, if you are willing to take the risk of drying out the brisket, but the priority is to achieve smoky, crunchy, and strong flavor then prefer cooking it in bare form. Also, by adding the sauce, you can add some artificial flavor in the dry meat as well.
2. Why Do I Wrap Brisket?
Just like the bare brisket, many people have their heart set on cooking it wrapped.
This technique has its own fair share of benefits:
- The first thing that you get in wrapping brisket is tenderness and meat full of moisture and juices. While it does not taste as smoked as naked brisket, but there is still the flavor of smokiness in it. Also, it has a beautiful color as well.
- If you want to intensify the smokiness, color and appearance then you can wrap the brisket part way through. This way, it will be a win-win situation.
- The second important reason is to breakthrough stall which is referred to as the time in cooking when the inside temperature of meat stops going up because the moisture on the surface is completely evaporated.
- It might stay on a constant temperature before going up again which can lead to uneven cooking. This is the most confusing thing about smoking brisket.
- By wrapping it midway can shave off the cooking time and conveniently push through the stall without any complexity.
3. Options for Wrapping Brisket
So, technically there are two main options used for wrapping the brisket.
– Foil Wrap – The Texas Crutch
The foil paper or Texas Crutch is made of aluminum alloy material. It is a basic aluminum foil that we use in the kitchen for wrapping.
It creates a mini oven for the brisket and does not let temperature changes to impact the brisket. Also, the foil lets brisket to cook in its own juices.
With this, you will need to hit the internal temperature of 150-degrees for complete cooking of brisket.
– Pink Butcher Paper Wrap
The Pink Butcher Paper is basically the conventional wrap in which you get the meat wrapped from a butcher. Sounds familiar?
It is also called peach wrap and is made of 100% food grade and FDA-approved virgin pulp.
It will offer all the benefits of using foil wrap and more. You don’t have to sacrifice the delicious smoky flavor or bark color as well. It allows the meat to breathe which it couldn’t do with foil wrap.
When to Wrap Brisket?
There are basically a few signs that declares the time of wrapping of the brisket.
You can either identify it from the internal temperature which should be 160-degrees F or through the red-black color of the bark.
By this time, the brisket has got the smokiness, color, tenderness, and sufficient time for slow cooking.
It is the right time to take it out and wrap it with whatever your preferred medium is for some speedy and pro cooking.
Factors Affecting When Wrapped
There are three main considerations to keep in mind before wrapping the brisket
1. Brisket Size
The math about the size of brisket is very standard. A small sized brisket will cook faster than a large one. But at the same time, the larger one will be able to retain the juices for longer than the smaller piece.
One of the prime reasons of wrapping the brisket is to prevent fluids from drying up, you might have to wrap the small piece earlier in the cooking.
A 7-pound brisket will be ready for wrapping in 3 – 4 hours of cooking while a 13-pound piece will cook for 6-hours before demanding the wrapping.
2. Smoker Temperature
Well, the smoker’s temperature will also impact when the brisket will demand wrapping. If it is set on lower temperature then it will slow cook and take a longer time in getting ready for wrapping.
However, if electric smoker is on the upper end of the temperature bar, say 275-degree F, it will cook the brisket faster and thus resulting in early call for the wrapping.
3. Personal Preference
You should know that there are no rules in cooking. People do what works for them whether it is about the doneness of meat or cooking time according to flexible temperatures.
Also, not everyone has enough patience to wait for so long. People who cannot wait for long might want to start wrapping as soon as the first stall hits.
It could be with an internal temperature of up to 155-degree F. While the shortest route seems more intriguing, you should show some patience with brisket and enjoy it at its best flavors.
As we have mentioned it in the beginning of the post, a brisket can take a lot of time and patience for smoking. If you want to try brisket at home, give it a try.
But make sure to wrap it on time, if you want to wrap at all. These tips and guide will help you with a perfectly made brisket.