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butcher paper crutching on the PBC

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    butcher paper crutching on the PBC

    I am already pretty sure that I'll move the meat (either butt or brisket) to the oven if I use butcher paper rather than keep it on the PBC, but do others keep it on the PBC ? I think it's easier in the oven, as long as I use a cookie sheet or roasting pan to catch whatever leaks out of the paper. My inherent laziness is why I ask if it can go back on the PBC w/o paper catching fire. Does anyone else use butcher paper to crutch, and if so, do you just put it in the oven once you crutch it ?

    Hmmm... I'm old school.

    I Never wrap. I'm low and slow always.

    It takes me longer but I'm retired and have all of the time required.

    Briskets and Butts I start exactly 18 hours before I plan to serve them.

    If it cooks too fast... It gets more cambro time. If it cooks slower than normal I have leeway. However with this method I NEVER worry if my guest are going to be waiting for the meat to finish.😎

    I'm of the opinion you get better bark and a better tasting product if you don't wrap. However... I know wrappers produce excellent BBQ too.


    • DJ DeSpain
      DJ DeSpain commented
      Editing a comment
      As a coincidence, the 18 hours is about what I had on my first, and most recent, pork butt that I did not wrap. Bark was great, bone pulled clean, and meat was tender and juicy. This all from following Meathead's recipe on this site.

      However, I've also seen Aaron Franklin's videos, and read his recent book, about wrapping meat in butcher paper for the crutch on a temp stall. Supposedly the butcher paper is better than the foil as the bark is less mushy. Has this been tested by others to compare?

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      DJ DeSpain ...

      Everything in BBQ has been tested by our Pit community.

      Wrapped and unwrapped they both work. Which is better can be argued until the cows come home.

      What we all know is that low and slow is what BBQ is all about. In my very humble opinion those that want to speed it up are violating the basics of BBQ.

      I'm a bread guy. I have a deep understanding of that science and know that bread making and BBQ are very, very similar.

      I can bake a loaf of sourdough bread in 6 hours. It will look real pretty but it will taste like the sourdough bread you buy at Safeway. Or... I can use less sourdough starter (yeast) and delay the fermentation process so the flour, water and yeast have the time to fully develop to produce you a loaf of bread that will really blow your mind. That loaf of bread takes at least 24 hours.

      So... At the end of the day, if you want a brisket or a Butt done in a speeded up process - you can do that. It will taste ok, it can have good bark and a pretty smoke ring.

      Me... I'm old school all the way.😎

      Bread or BBQ I'm low and slow - no wrap!

      But... I have more time to devote to it than those that work or those that have children at home.👌
      Last edited by Breadhead; September 25, 2015, 11:56 PM.

    • _John_
      _John_ commented
      Editing a comment
      DJ DeSpain I did this test with butts not long ago, while the butcher paper was not quite as moist, it wasn't far off, and the paper had more flavor in the bark, presumably from holding more rub on.

      Hardest part for me was wrapping, the paper is kind of unwieldy and harder to pack tight so it took up way more room on my grill. It was like wrapping hot basketballs for xmas.

    Krankster, I've never tried a paper wrap in PBC, but have wondered the same thing. I vote you as tester #1 and report back!
    Bet if you wrap it and put it on a roasting pan with a wire rack (just like in the oven) on the PBC rack, it would work.


      The thing with wrapping is the end result. Understand that your meat exposed to the hot air of any smoker will draw off moisture, that means that over time your meat will dry out. So depending on the product you want to serve to your guests will dictate how you process your meat. Wrapping after a period of smoking will create a moist steam environment completing the cooking process, smoking then grilling will produce a caramilsation on your meat. Test your cooking process before you present it to your guests. There is nothing more demoralizing than serving a dish that you think is perfect and your guests go..........


        Wouldn't you need temperatures well in excess of 400* for the paper to catch fire? Your PBC should stay way below that, especially up high away from the coals where the grate is.



          It does fine, it gets a little dirtier since it does not conform to the brisket as well as the foil, and tends to rub the sides a bit more.

          What will catch fire is the grease that will pour out if you tip the butcher paper the wrong way while taking out the brisket. I only had to learn that lesson once. Lucky I didn't burn off any and all facial hair.


            DJ DeSpain if one allows ample bark to develop, foil will not be a problem no matter how long you leave wrapped.

            It steams off quickly and firms up to perfection.

            One thing I have noticed is a bit longer cooking time with butcher paper compared to foil. If I have great bark at 180 and wrap with foil, typically in my barrel it will be 1-1.5 hrs until it gets done. With butcher paper, it is more like 2 hours.

            I prefer butcher paper for the price. Foil for the au jus for those that want some au jus. Foil if I am going to chill and reheat.


              No problem guinea pigging it Voodoo I have a 7.5 lb Butt for tomorrow. Jerod, I knew you had a PBC and was hoping you'd chime in on this - it's like you're my BBQ guardian angel - no, wait, that's just a bit weird

              Thanks for answering everyone.I like the idea of leaving it on the PBC (not sure why, but I do). So I'll try it and see

              The better bark was the reason I wanted to try the butcher paper. Breadhead, I had that same opinion for 15+ years on my wood pit, but I've seen a lot of proponents of wrapping and I've had good results the last couple times I tried it, other than less bark. I also don't see cooking a brisket or butt on the PBC for 18 hours. On my pellet smoker - yes, on my old wood pits - yes, on the PBC - no. Hence the experimenting to modify the technique to fit the different toys (oops, I mean tools) at hand


                Watch the vid with John Marcus. They do a brisket test with no wrap, foil wrap and butcher wrap. Besides, the vid is a hoot in any event!
                Last edited by PappyBBQ; September 28, 2015, 12:59 PM. Reason: Well, the "include link" didn't work very well. It shows the full link but clicking on the dang thing just takes you to the home page, so I copied the link in directly. Probably me bein' stu


                  I do Boston Butts on a BGE. I wrap when it is finished and put it in an ice chest until it is time to serve. The only other time I wrap is to speed things up through the stall. If you are concerned about crunchy bark, you can unwrap it after it breaks through the stall until it reaches 200°. It is good both ways. I take mine to 200°. Does anyone go higher or lower?


                    The butcher paper work great. I had a challenging piece of meat. It was very thick and dense, and even though the temperature on the PVC was between 275 and 295 the whole time, it took about 6 hours to get to 160. I did not put it back in the PBC, but finished in the oven. I had much less leaking than I expected, and it did keep more of the bark then if I had foiled it I pulled it at 2:03, and honestly I should have taken it higher. There was still a couple spots where the connective tissue did not fully dissolve. I was really surprised, because I had not had that happen before since I started taking it to 203 at a minimum


                    • Jerod Broussard
                      Jerod Broussard commented
                      Editing a comment
                      How long did you rest it?

                    • krankster
                      krankster commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I did my sampling right out of the oven when I pulled it and shredded it. Might have rested 10-15 min. It was 9 PM by that point. It took longer to hit temp than any of the other butts I've done. I honestly pulled it at 202 and just thing I should have waited the xtra 30 min to 1 hour to hit 205. Given how long it took to hit 160, I should have known to cook it longer. I look at it as lesson learned. The girls and I are having it as left overs and they love it (mainly because of the Trader Joes vinegary "gold" sauce) and I like it, I'll just know next time I have it meat like this to cook it longer and maybe faux cambro it for an hour before I shred it.

                    krankster You may wish to try holding it wrapped, and wrapped in towels in a cooler for a minimum of one hour after it reaches 203-205. If you can afford timewise to hold it 3 or 4 hrs, so much the better. The longer you hold it insulated, after cooking, the better. It's not necessarily the higher heat that does it, but it's the time that does it.


                      Huskee beat me to it. I have never noticed any significant gain going over 205 on butts and briskets. It is the time of resting after the cook that makes it what it is.

                      I would wrap foil around the butcher paper if you are going to rest.


                        Jerod Broussard When you reach 203-205, do you go straight to the cooler/cambro. or do you let if vent off some heat first. I have always gone straight from the PBC or Kettle into the cooler, but have started wondering about this....


                        • Jerod Broussard
                          Jerod Broussard commented
                          Editing a comment
                          It depends on the brisket and the situation, if it is a Select brisket and I'm going to have to slice it, then it definitely needs to rest at a really warm temperature. I might even wrap them in foil over the butcher paper and then make sure and get them in a well sealed well packed Cambro. Sometimes the butcher paper allows them to cool off too rapidly, and that is not good when you are about to slice a Select brisket, they really need a good warm rest.


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