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The Crutch: foil v. butcher's paper

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    The Crutch: foil v. butcher's paper

    So I always sort of hated the idea of the crutch. "Not authentic", said I. "Interferes with the bark", said I. Then I had 60 people over for barbecue and needed to, y'know, actually have the meat ready within a particular window of time. I made peace with the crutch and have even developed a grudging respect. It's certainly a godsend when "it's ready when it's ready" just won't do. Looking into the matter further, I learned that some Texan pit masters use butcher's paper rather than foil to crutch their brisket. Fascinating, thinks I, presuming that it does the same thing as foil, but with maybe a little more give. Can anyone describe the practical difference between crutching with foil versus paper? If it's a sentimental thing, with all respect- I just don't care. But if I can make my brisket better by using a new technique, I'm happy to try something new!

    #2
    I have done it both ways. Haven't noticed much of a difference. I do nothing but foil with my Pit Barrel and I wrap pretty late in the cook and my bark has no problem firming up when I go to slice.

    I compared foil and butcher paper on the offset and didn't see any difference. I prefer butcher paper due to it being cheaper.

    The foil is cleaner for me in the Pit Barrel.

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      #3
      Forgot to mention: goddamn, do I love love love love brisket! I love brisket so much, here's a picture of TWO briskets, smoking simultaneously, by way of a large BGE, the BBQ Guru, and two food-grade bricks!
      Attached Files

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        #4
        I saw a video of Aaron Franklin doing it so I looked into it a little. Here is the response from the man himself.
        TM: Franklin Barbecue is known for wrapping briskets in butcher paper. Why do you wrap at all, and why do you choose butcher paper?
        AF: The briskets need to stay covered so that the bark doesn’t get ripped off of them when they’re being thrown around. We also wrap them once we know we’ve gotten a certain amount of smokiness. I started using paper because it was cheaper than foil. Foil also gets things real steamy. It’s known as the “Texas Crutch” and it would be embarrassing for me to use foil on briskets, but we use foil on pork butts and sometimes on ribs. I think foiled briskets end up a little pot-roasty for my taste, and the paper breathes a little better. If we were only doing five briskets then I would probably never wrap them, but when you’ve got that many cooking it’s nice to get them off, throw them on the counter and let them rest. It’s really there for protection, but an added side effect is that it helps retain moisture. I can also use the grease soaked butcher paper to start my fires on Monday when we restart the fires. The fires then burn twenty four hours a day until we’re done on Sunday. That’s when we clean the pits.

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          #5
          I've read this before and forgot what he said about it, thanks for the quote John.

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