Is there a difference between the standard Texas Crutch and peach/pink butcher paper? First, what is the Texas Crutch? It’s aluminum foil and the quickest way to learn to master the ever so intimidating brisket.  The peach/pink butcher paper method made famous by the James Beard Award Winner Sir Aaron Franklin (the reigning king of BBQ in the US if not the world) is sort of the next level in terms of mastering the brisket. I’ve always relied on foil and it has given me tender juicy brisket but I’ve found the bark somewhat lacking after steam-resting for a couple hours. I yearn for a bite of juicy tender beef with a bit of a crispy, smoky edge so here we go into Butcher Paper Brisket.

Butcher Paper Brisket Ingredients:

One 12-14 lb Beef Brisket
Kosher salt
Coarse ground black pepper
Andria’s Steak Sauce (sub Worcestershire but Andria’s is highly desired-more on this later)
Peach/Pink Butcher Paper (you could substitute white butcher paper but I’m following Mr. Franklin on this—just be sure the paper you select is not coated with anything)
Oak wood chunks (I did not have access to Texas Post Oak, which is the preferred wood for brisket, but I did have oak chunks from Bob’s Smokin Hardwoods which is the best smokewood on the planet, hands down)

First things first, select good quality beef for the cook. I would love to choose wagyu but the cost places it out of reach for the average backyard griller so I chose prime grade. The retail price was affordable—this one was $2.99 lb. I’m fortunate to have two competing club-type stores locally that carry prime grade brisket.

Butcher Paper Brisket
U.S.D.A PRIME

Another reason to choose prime:

Butcher Paper Brisket
That kind of marbling on brisket should be illegal

Here’s a look prior to trimming and seasoning:

Butcher Paper Brisket
Time to make that beautiful piece of meat prettier

Next, most of the hard fat and any excess fat will be trimmed and a little shaping will happen. Just a little shaping as this isn’t a competition cook and I’m certainly no meat cutter.

Butcher Paper Brisket
Trim the fat

Simple seasoning next, kosher salt first. (After seeing my trim job again I think Mr. Franklin would likely chuckle then give me a big fat ‘F’!)

Butcher Paper Brisket
Adding pepper

Then coarse ground black pepper is applied. That’s it, as simple as it can be. No complex rub, just want the beef and smoke flavor to come through.

Butcher Paper Brisket
Seasoned

Time to fire up the smoker and add the water pan. Water pan? Yep, always best to cook with one to keep meat surface moist which attracts smoke. In this case I’m cooking on a rectangular version of an ugly drum smoker (UDS) so the water pan, while providing moisture, also acts as a deflector plate/heat shield for the direct heat. Did I mention it also acts as a heat sink and moderates temp as well. Basically, a win, win, win.

Butcher Paper Brisket
Fill the pan

My plan is to cook the brisket between 325 and 350 degrees chamber temperature. This is the so-called high heat method and I’ve had good success with it previously. I much prefer the 6 hour cook versus a 16 hour cook. The high heat method has become popular among many competition cooks in recent years.

Butcher Paper Brisket
It’s all about temp control

Brisket on!

Butcher Paper Brisket
Time for the magic to happen

Fast forward and an internal temp check on the Thermapen (which is a must have and an ideal gift for any backyard pitmaster) indicates the brisket has plateaued and thoroughly entrenched in the stall which is typically a good time to wrap.

Butcher Paper Brisket
Firmly in the stall

Another look at the whole brisket that has picked up great color and some much desired bark. The two bottles shown? One is Andria’s Steak Sauce from which I extracted a spritz for the beef and the other is the cook’s lubricant.

Butcher Paper Brisket
Bark coming along nicely

***Editor’s Note ~ I know what some of you are thinking. A spritz with a steak sauce? This is not a sauce you dunk dry and bland steak in to make it edible. Andria’s Steak Sauce is a brush on basting and marinating sauce that will simply blow your mind. We’ve been using it for decades. I’m not kidding. It’s unlike anything you have ever had and so incredibly versatile***

My patio pub table is converted to a wrapping station. I purchased the stand/cutter and 750’ roll of 24”peach butcher paper (lifetime supply) from an online restaurant supply company after unsuccessful local sourcing efforts. The products weren’t expensive around $41 for both but the freight was killer at $48. Smaller quantities of this particular paper are available on Amazon and recently some local barbecue supply stores are now carrying the peach paper. White butcher paper is readily available locally in most areas and is quite adequate but please insure whatever you buy is non-coated. Here I’m tearing off 3 sheets (I’ve been there before) when 2 would probably suffice.

Butcher Paper Brisket
Feel free to wrap all my Christmas presents in this stuff. I’ll reuse it on the smoker!

While Scott held my beer I pulled the brisket and headed to the wrapping station:

Butcher Paper Brisket
Spritzing the brisky! How’s that bark looking?!?

Here’s how to turn Andria’s Steak Sauce into a spritzing sauce. Andria’s contains a lot of ingredients (I call them flavor grenades) which are too thick to run through the spray bottle. I strained the steak sauce and simply retrieved the liquid portion which spritzed perfectly. Problem solved!

Let’s wrap the prettiest Christmas present you could ever give:

Butcher Paper Brisket
I suck at wrapping christmas presents and otherwise!

Ready to head back to the smoker in search of 203 degrees internal temp.

Butcher Paper Brisket
Merry Christmas to me!

Butcher Paper Brisket back on the cooker:

Butcher Paper Brisket
The fat already starting to soak through the paper. Don’t sweat that.

After reaching 203, we removed it from the cooker and wrapped the paper in a towel and put in the microwave to rest for at least an hour.

Unwrapped! How does that look? I sure hope the taste matches the eye appeal:

Butcher Paper Brisket
Bark in a bed of butcher paper!

Onto the cutting board. Many brisket recipes or competition photos illustrate tenderness by showing a slice of brisket folded over a finger or the back of a knife blade. Well, how about the bend in the entire brisket?

The pic is blurry, but it still proves the point!

Time to slice:

Butcher Paper Brisket
Make sure to slice across the grain

Let’s take a look at the brisket sliced. Juicy??

Butcher Paper Brisket
MmmmmMmmmm

How does this slice look? That perfect “beginning to pull apart stage”.

Butcher Paper Brisket
Just short of fall off the bone brisket

So, how did it taste? The beef flavor came through with a delightful oak smoke kiss. The bark was an improvement over the foil method. The salt and pepper seasoning ( I used 50-50 mixture) was a bit heavy on the salt side for my taste. I would likely adjust that mix to 70-30 next time and perhaps add granulated garlic or garlic powder. The Andria’s Steak Sauce spritz was the icing on this tender meat cake that brought it all home!

Would I cook this again with the butcher paper? Absolutely, but I would suggest that anyone wishing to attempt this method that they be sure to master the foil method first. If you haven’t been getting good results with the foil crutch method then the butcher paper ain’t gonna make it happen for you either.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.

Proud brand ambassadors for both Andria’s Steak Sauce and Bob’s Smokin’ Hardwood. Both are amazing products in that they are both completely unique in their genre.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Butcher Paper Brisket
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Brisket, simply seasoned with salt and black pepper, spritzed with Andria's and wrapped in peach butcher paper
Ingredients
  • One 12-14 lb Beef Brisket
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • Andria’s Steak Sauce (sub Worcestershire but Andria’s is highly desired)
  • Peach/Pink Butcher Paper (you could substitute white butcher paper but I’m following Mr. Franklin on this—just be sure the paper you select is not coated with anything)
  • Oak wood chunks (I did not have access to Texas Post Oak, which is the preferred wood for brisket, but I did have oak chunks from Bob’s Smokin Hardwoods which is the best smokewood on the planet, hands down)
Instructions
  1. Trim the brisket of the hard fat
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Prepare the smoker for 325-350
  4. Place the brisket on the grill
  5. When the brisket hits 160-175, lay on a couple layers of butcher paper and spritz
  6. Wrap the brisket in the paper and place back on the grill
  7. Once the brisket hits 203, remove from heat, wrap in a towel and put in a microwave or unlit oven for at least an hour and up to 3 hours
  8. Slice across the grain in long, thin strips
  9. Serve
 

16 comments

Nice cook, Greg! I have tried butcher paper a few times and have found it much harder to wrap than foil. There has to be a trick to getting that paper to wrap easily!

Reply

Thanks for the kind words David. I’m not the best ‘wrapper’ and I’m guessing you don’t wrap the gifts in your household either. I’d suggest beginning with a bit more paper than you think you’ll need and fold it over once then tuck and end in and fold over again and tuck in the other end then give it one more fold over and you should be ok. I watched one video of a guy using tape to secure his paper wrap job but I don’t feel that is necessary. If you’re still in need of assistance I’d suggest enlisting the aid of someone who has more wrapping experience than both of us. Let me know how your next effort works out (or not).

“The peach/pink butcher paper method made famous by the James Beard Award Winner Sir Aaron Franklin”…Really? Where are you from Greg? We stopped at every BBQ joint N/S/E/W of Houston when I was a kid in the 50’s and 60’s on our way to San Leon or Conroe or Hempstead or Bellville … every place we stopped ‘rested’ their brisket and pork ribs in butcher paper. Foil took over at a lot of places but your right, it leaves the bark mushy….. Found a place in Bastrop in the 70’s and 80’s- Billy’s – on hwy 71 near the river. He carried on the tradition. I’m glad Franklin and crew are doing it old school but one thing they’ve all forgotten how to do and that is to trim the brisket properly before they hand over a glob of ‘premium’ fat for $20 plus dollars a lb. Sacrilege! Fame and fortune.

Reply

John, just because you went to many places in Texas that rested their beef in butcher paper doesn’t make the process famous. People eat pork steaks all over the midwest. Doesn’t mean someone in Maine has any idea what they are. Franklin made it famous by publishing it in his best selling cookbook and exposed it to the rest of the world. A regional specialty is not necessarily world renown…

…….Scott

You only spritz one time , right before the wrap ?

Reply

Thanks for checking in Rodney. Yes, on this particular cook, I only spritzed once. I wanted to be sure and not mess up the bark as I was testing the butcher paper difference. Going forward I would spritz more frequently after the bark has been established. An equal part of water could be added to the Andria’s juice to gain more volume for frequent spritzing.

My elec. smoker will not reach your high temp. Any advice. Bob G

Reply

Sure Bob. Cooking at a lower temperature would be just fine but expect cook time to be lengthened accordingly. Set it at 250 or 275 and use a probe thermometer to check the internal meat temp. You might want to verify or validate your smoker’s thermometer. One way to do that is to place an oven thermometer on the shelf and see how it compares to the other one. Incidentally, one of the best briskets I’ve ever cooked was smoked on a friend’s small electric unit. Thanks for your inquiry.

Greg

Enjoyed your article but I’m curious about the smoker you used, any info on it. I have been using a home make Ugly Drum Smoker with great results.

Reply

The name of the unit is RipTangle. Manufactured in nearby (for me) Wentzville, Missouri by the one and only Jeff Rippelmeyer. He is very successful in SLBS (St. Louis Barbecue Society) competitions and has won Team of the Year. I purchased it about 3 years ago instead of getting a drum because I preferred the rectangular racks to the circular drum-it also has a shelf to hang meats. Thank you for your inquiry and congrats on your results with the UDS. A local competition team, Heavy Smoke, has carved out many GC’s with homemade drums make by Chris Schaefer.

Greg

Thanks. Just thanks! I’m basically emulating your recipe right now, on July 3rd, 2018!

Reply

P. S.:
Scott, I was re-reading your article and I do have some cured Texas Post Oak pieces in a stack, along with other red and white oaks from right here on my land. I’m using it for the brisket.

Reply

I just tried a cook using the pink butcher paper. the brisket came out nice and tender but the paper soaked up all the juice. i didn’t like that

Reply

I’m going to use a small trager. Hope to cook long and slow per your notes to reach the temps and plagues. I’m

Reply

Greg,
Can you go over a little more in detail how you “strain” the Stake Sauce to get the juice?
Darryl

Reply

Darryl,

Just run it through a strainer as this particular steak sauce has lots of thick stuff that makes for a great marinade or a brush on sauce while cooking but isn’t ideal for this recipe…

…….Scott

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