Texas Crutch is one of the best grilling methods for smoking the perfect brisket. With some aluminum foil and a smoker, the cooking method is one of the best ways to top the grill stand. Learn everything you need to know with our Texas Crutch Brisket Guide and Recipe.
Texas Crutch is a time-tested and juicy method used by eco-friendly pit masters to create deliciously tender and manufactured meat. It can be used for ribs and pork tenderloin, but today we’re going to focus on its best use: brisket.
Texas Crutch meat is perfectly juicy and tender. When cooked in foil, brisket has the perfect mouthfeel and rich smoky flavor. Find out everything you need to know to prepare the perfect Texas Crutch Brisket.
What is the Texas crutch?
Texas Crutch is a method of smoking that involves wrapping meat in aluminum foil during slow, slow cooking to speed up cooking. The method is believed to have been invented at barbecue competitions, but it is so effective that it IS used all over the world today.
But it’s not all about speed. The method helps retain moisture, which is a crucial factor in making elite barbecues. It’s also a tried-and-true way to push your meat through the dreaded “post.”
What is the grill stand?
The stand is commonly seen when grilling brisket and IS also referred to as a grill stand or brisket stand. It occurs when the internal temperature of the meat reaches between 145 and 175°F and you see the liquid in the meat begin to evaporate. This cools the meat, slowing down the smoking process. This means that while it’s relatively quick and easy to get the meat temperature to around 145°F, it can be frustrating to get past that point. It is not uncommon for the breast to “stop” and stay at the same temperature for hours.
This is where Texas Crutch comes into play. When the meat reaches the 145°F mark, wrap the breast in aluminum foil or butcher paper to stop evaporation. This helps keep the meat moist while it pushes the internal temperature through the barn and cooks it instantly.
Texas Crutch advantages
reduce cooking time. Wrapping the breast in aluminum foil helps push it through the cabin, reducing the time you have to wait for the internal temperature to rise.
What more less fuel. Reducing the time the brisket spends in the smoker means you burn less wood and charcoal. Saving hours on firewood or charcoal pays off in the long run!
Juicy meat. Allowing the beef to retain moisture by wrapping it means your breast will retain many of its natural juices, giving you a great juicy cut of meat.
Disadvantages of the Texas Crutch
It’s not all good news. If YOU keep the meat wrapped, the smoke coming out of your firebox can’t penetrate the meat and you can’t enrich it with your chosen wood. You risk not forming a nice crust on the meat, that iconic crispy layer that forms on the surface of the breast.
Luckily, Susie from Hey Grill Hey has found a solution that serves as a middle ground between the two. Susie suggests leaving the brisket on the shelf for a while before packing it up. This should allow it to form some crust before you cover it to retain that moisture. She suggests wrapping it when the meat reaches 165°F.
Aluminum foil vs. butcher paper
There’s a bit of debate over whether you should use aluminum foil or butcher paper to wrap meat for Texas crutch. There are benefits for each, so it depends on which one is more important to you.
One benefit of using aluminum foil is that it retains moisture in the chest better than butcher paper. Whether it’s the succulent flow of meat as it cooks or steaming, everything COMES in the foil pouch, enriching you with more flavor and moisture. You can recycle the moisture from the foil to use in BBQ sauce or to drizzle over meat when serving.
An important benefit of using butcher paper is that it is porous, which allows the meat to breathe and exposes it to more smoke from the fire. This can help the meat carry more flavor through the wood and retain some more beef.
Texas Crutch Pro Tips
If you use kraft paper, be sure to use food grade paper that does not contain wax or silicone. Everything ‘ food grade’ is FDA approved as it is safe to have direct contact with food.
Wrap them at 165° F. This temperature should hit a good “sweet spot.” Here the brisket has been stalled long enough to develop a nice crust but still benefits from the effect of wrapping in foil.
Wrap yourself up well. This is especially important if you’re using aluminum foil. Wrapping it tightly should help reduce the occurrence of pockets for condensation puddles to form. This can create a steamy effect, smother the brisket, and ruin the texture.