Beat the Stall: How to Wrap Brisket in Butcher Paper

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Last Updated on June 4, 2021
Annabelle

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Annabelle is an experienced food writer and editor. She focuses on common sense, easy to replicate recipes formulated to help keep things fresh and exciting while fitting into her day to day life as a wife and mother.

how to wrap brisket in butcher paper

There’s nothing quite as tasty as a slice of brisket hot off the smoker. To get brisket to the right tenderness while locking in juices, wrapping the meat in butcher paper once it reaches a certain internal temperature can help you achieve the best results

Capturing moisture before it evaporates from your brisket is a long-held secret among grillmasters that can make all the difference in the meal you serve. Brisket contains lots of connective tissue, which can make it a tougher cut of meat. Plus, long cooking times can deplete any chance of maintaining juiciness. However, knowing when to wrap brisket in butcher paper ensures you enjoy a moist and tender cut of meat.

1. Why and When to Wrap Brisket in Butcher Paper?

brisket

Image Courtesy: Haydn Blackey

Simply put, there are two reasons it’s important to know how to wrap your brisket in butcher paper. One is to keep juices close, resulting in a juicy, tender brisket. The other reason is the wrapping can speed up the cooking process so you can enjoy your meal sooner.

The best time to wrap the brisket is during what’s referred to as the “stall. This phenomenon occurs when the brisket’s internal temperature stops rising due to moisture buildup on the outside that attempts to evaporate. 

When cooking your brisket at a low temperature, the internal temperature of the meat rises quickly. As this happens, moisture oozes out of the center, and evaporation occurs. As it evaporates, cooling takes place, stalling the cooking process of the brisket.

To identify the stall period, the meat’s internal temperature will be somewhere between 165° and 170° F. For a smaller brisket, say around 7 lbs., this will most likely occur three to four hours into cooking. If larger, it may be six hours before the stall happens. 

There could be dangers in food wrapping with other types of material but it’s different with butcher paper. Wrapping brisket in butcher paper keeps that moisture close to the meat instead of gathering and slowly evaporating away on the outside. From here, the internal temperature is allowed to rise quicker, leaving you with a juicy outcome in less time.

In short, the advantages of knowing how to wrap brisket in butcher paper include:

  • Reduces cooking or grilling time so you can eat sooner
  • Allows brisket to remain tender and moist
  • Keeps brisket hot for hours

The major downside to wrapping brisket is that it ruins the outer bark, creating a less crispy and often mushy crust on top. The meat may also take on less smoke flavor. Still, it will retain smokiness already captured during the earlier cooking without a cover.

By insulating your brisket at the stall, you can increase your grill or smoker’s temperature. As long as you monitor the internal temperature, you’re less likely to overcook or burn the brisket this way.

2. How to Wrap Brisket with Butcher Paper?

brisket

Image Courtesy: Haydn Blackey

With a little practice, food wrapping with butcher paper will become quicker and easier. Here are steps to get you started and on your way to juicier brisket.

  • Once you select your butcher paper brand, spread it out on a wide workspace. Make two sheets, each being approximately four to five times longer than the width of the brisket.
  • Lay one sheet down horizontally, then overlap it with the second one at about the midpoint.
  • Place the brisket, top side up, and approximately a foot up from the bottom on the papers. You want to have enough paper to fold up and over the brisket.
  • Starting at the bottom, fold paper upward, pulling it up tightly. Fit the paper snug against the meat’s contours, pressing it flat against the top and tucking it under in the front.
  • Fold one side in and flatten it down. Tuck the front tip in and under. Smooth and flatten the paper at each stage.
  • Move to the other side and repeat. Fold, flatten, and tuck part of the paper slightly under to secure it in place.
  • Roll the wrapped brisket over once. Again, tuck paper in tightly against it.
  • Fold edges of remaining paper over slightly, then roll the brisket again for a second layer.
  • Fold the remaining paper in half before rolling again and adding a third wrapped layer to your brisket.
  • Tuck all sides in and place it back on your smoker.

Knowing when and how to wrap brisket in butcher paper results in a better-tasting brisket.