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
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.
Another reason to choose prime:
Here’s a look prior to trimming and seasoning:
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.
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’!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
***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.
While Scott held my beer I pulled the brisket and headed to the wrapping station:
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:
Ready to head back to the smoker in search of 203 degrees internal temp.
Butcher Paper Brisket back on the cooker:
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:
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?
Time to slice:
Let’s take a look at the brisket sliced. Juicy??
How does this slice look? That perfect “beginning to pull apart stage”.
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.
- 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)
- Trim the brisket of the hard fat
- Season with salt and pepper
- Prepare the smoker for 325-350
- Place the brisket on the grill
- When the brisket hits 160-175, lay on a couple layers of butcher paper and spritz
- Wrap the brisket in the paper and place back on the grill
- 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
- Slice across the grain in long, thin strips