How to Foil Wrap Brisket in Aluminum Foil or Butcher Paper

Aluminum foil wrapped meat
Wrapping a brisket in foil is easy. Simply take two large pieces of aluminum foil and place them in a cross pattern. Place the brisket on top and tightly fold the foil over the meat, pressing in on each side to ensure a tight seal all the way around the brisket.

Foiling is a great method for any large cut of meat. What type of foil you’ll use depends on your preference and wrapping skills. Some folks aren’t sure if they should wrap a big cut of meat or if they should skip it.

When you foil wrap brisket, you form a tight wrap, trapping heat inside and making the cooking process faster. Foil wrapping is easier and a lot more forgiving than using butcher paper which can take some practice to get perfect. Yet butcher paper also traps more smoke, giving meat a deeper flavor while still keeping meat tender.

How to Foil Wrap Brisket

There are two methods of wrapping up your brisket – aluminum foil and butcher paper.

At the end of the day, what method you choose all comes down to personal preference. So here are the two ways in which you can wrap your brisket:

Use Aluminum Foil

Make a foil wrap brisket, and you’ll become an instant Texas-style grill master.

This is the simplest method of wrapping a brisket, and it also helps meat cook faster. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to smoking. You’ll get a nice, even cooking method that will help you achieve tenderized meat by sealing in moisture and flavor.

You just have to lay down two pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil, put your brisket on top of them, then wrap it up as tight as possible. You can do this at home with no special equipment required! That’s all there is to it! Your brisket is ready for cooking and you don’t need to have special wrapping skills.

Another great advantage is that aluminum foil is very easy to find – you may even have some already at home.

Use Butcher Paper

If you’re looking to wrap up your brisket like a pro and are all about that smoky flavor, look no further than butcher paper. It seals in moisture and smoke, giving you a more flavorful bark and a soft interior.

Butcher paper soaks into grease and forms a moisture barrier that also helps conduct heat. This allows the meat to cook slowly while steaming itself, resulting in juicy tenderness and flavor while preventing over-cooking and drying out the meat.

You’ll also get more of a smoke flavor because butcher paper allows more space for smoke to circulate. 

But it takes practice to get it right – if wrapped wrong, it can leak and you don’t want to lose the precious juices from your meat. Another disadvantage of this method is that the cooking time tends to be longer – the paper wrap isn’t as tight as a foil wrap.

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Woman wrapping brisket on table

Why Should You Wrap Brisket?

Wrapping your brisket ensures you get a nice juicy piece of meat that maintains that classic BBQ flavor and elevates it to new heights. This method is perfect for wrapping a lot of pieces of meat, like ribs and pork butt, but let’s focus on brisket.

The Texas Crutch Method Helps in the Cooking Process

Wrapping your brisket is referred to as the Texas Crutch Method. This method works well because you create an air-tight seal around the meat. As a result, evaporation stops, and moisture stays inside instead of escaping into the air.

Additionally, because foil creates a very tight seal around your brisket, it will speed up the cooking process significantly—which means less time standing over a hot grill!

Using the Texas Crutch method means brisket ends up juicier than ever. So while you’re increasing the temperature, the moisture is retained inside the foil/paper, and it doesn’t allow the meat to dry out.

Unwrapped Beef Brisket will have Excess Evaporation

Have you ever wondered why brisket is wrapped in tin foil? It’s actually because of evaporative cooling!

Evaporative cooling means that water rises to the surface of the meat, begins to evaporate, and suddenly cools down an entire cut of meat – this is called the stall!

When reaching the stall temperature, you have two options to pick from: to ride it out and smoke the brisket for as long as it needs (this can be for a very long time) or to wrap it up – either with aluminum foil or butcher paper to increase the temperature and speed up the process.

When you wrap a brisket, you eliminate the air into which moisture can evaporate. A film of the brisket’s hot juices surrounds its surface and they stay hot!

What is the Brisket Stall?

The brisket stall is when your brisket appears to stop cooking – a phenomenon that occurs when the internal temperature of the meat reaches a certain point and stops increasing. It usually happens after you cook your brisket for about 2 to 3 hours – after this time, the meat starts to sweat, releasing vapors that balance out the heat in the smoker.

That is when the meat simply “stalls”. This typically happens when it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F (65°C). 

When you reach the stall, you can continue to cook the meat as is, but it will take a significant amount of time to finish. You can efficiently break the stall by wrapping the meat in aluminum foil. The foil will reactivate some of the heat back into the brisket (essentially braising it), allowing it to cook faster while maintaining all of that delicious juice.

What is the Difference between Butcher Paper and Parchment Paper?

Generally speaking, butchers use butcher paper and bakers use parchment paper.

Parchment paper is essentially made with baking in mind. It’s suitable for lining baking pans before placing cakes or cookies on them. The non-stick coating makes cleanup easy and prevents food from sticking to the pan or sheet while baking. 

Parchment paper absorbs less moisture than butcher paper does—that’s why you can use it for baking and other dry foods. Parchment paper isn’t ideal for cooking because it doesn’t allow for as much airflow as butcher paper does.

Butcher paper is still your best bet if you’re looking for something to keep your food moist during cooking. The best wrap paper option for the latter is pink butcher paper (also called peach paper and popularized by barbecue master Aaron Franklin).

When is the Best Time to Wrap Your Brisket?

The best time to start wrapping your brisket is when you see a dark bark forming on top of the meat when you notice the stall, or (and this is the preferred method) when the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

You can check the temperature by using a probe thermometer while cooking brisket – this option will also prevent overcooking your cut of meat.


Alexandra is a passionate writer who loves everything related to food: from buying local produce and sourcing the best ingredients to finding the perfect spice mix and sauce to complement each dish. She loves getting together with friends near a campfire and grilling up some barbecue goodness while having quality conversations - no screens allowed.

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