Texas Crutch is the term given to the technique of wrapping protein mid cook in aluminium foil or peach paper (pink butchers paper). There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to be gained from wrapping meat during the cook.
Wrapping can trap in heat which can help speed up the cooking process, allowing your meat to power through the stall, shortening your overall cooking time. Wrapping can give you a more tender, melt in the mouth end product by trapping in the moisture, keeping the protein juicy. You can use wrapping as a method to control how much smoke is imparted into the meat. Adding some liquid to your wrap: such as beef stock, fruit juice, even beer or wine can allow you to fine tune the flavours for the desired end result.
Wrapping can effect the bark and stop it becoming that dark crispy holy grail all pit masters strive for. Texture can be affected by steam, making the protein mushy and giving it a pot roast type taste.
It is important to allow your meat plenty of time to take on the delicious smoke flavour and also develop the rich dark bark before wrapping. As a guide you should look to smoke unwrapped for two thirds of the total cooking time. Wrap tightly preventing any pockets of air being trapped in which will allow steaming to take effect. Double layers of foil is handy to use when wrapping bone-in proteins such as ribs or shoulders to avoid the foil being punctured. Peach paper is also a great option for wrapping meats as it allows the meat to breathe therefore creating less steam and building a better bark.
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