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 mid-cook.
- Wrapping can trap heat in which can speed up the cooking process, allowing your meat to power through the stall shortening your overall cooking time.
- Wrapping can give you a more moist, 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 end flavours.
- Wrapping can affect the bark and stop it becoming that dark crispy holy grail all pit-masters strive for.
- Texture can be affected with the steaming effect making the protein mushy and giving it a pot roast type taste.
Tips for successful wrapping
- 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 2/3 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 breath therefore creating less steam and building a better bark.