Smoking 101: To wrap or not to wrap

Posted by The Butcher on Monday, October 5, 2015 Under: Smoking
Hey Everyone, 

Last time in Smoking 101 we discussed charcoal vs. lump coal and wood. You can check out the last post to catch up if you'd like. And if you have any questions that go beyond what I discussed so far feel free to email me and we'll see if we can't have a FAQ on Smoking in a couple weeks. 

This week I'll discuss wrapping your smoking product. There is only one instance that I don't wrap what I'm smoking. Here's why.... 

After about a couple hours the meat begins to be cooked on the exterior surface. At this point no more smoke will be permitted to get in the meat. This is especially true of the bigger meat items like Boston Butts (pork shoulder) and beef Briskets. So the advantage to wrapping (especially these bigger cuts of meat) is to reduce moisture loss. Wrapping will help you have a constantly moist and tender product. If you don't wrap you will run a bigger risk of losing all the moisture to the heat of the smoke. Some of the professionals will say you shouldn't wrap. That's fine but the cook time will have to be less so you don't have a super dry product. Some avoid this by marinating. Marinating is great but don't let the idea of extra moisture fool you. The product will still dry out if left on the smoker for an extended period.

So about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours I wrap most of my smoked items. I use aluminum foil and will wrap the product so it will not loose any more moisture/tenderness. Alright, when is the one time I don't wrap? When I want a brisket with a chunky crispy bark. Bark on a brisket is when a rub is applied thickly to the point that in the smoking process the rub and first layer of meat dry out and become crispy. In this process you need to make sure you add a fairly good amount of rub or else the rub and first layer will not crisp and thus will not protect the rest of the meat from drying out.

Some call wrapping the "Texas Crutch" but I say it just makes sense. You don't get an overly acidic smokey flavor on the exterior; and you get a constantly moist and tender smoke that leaves you wanting more.

Until next time, Good Smokin'!
The Ogeechee Butcher 

In : Smoking 

Tags: wrapping smoked meats  smoking  smoking 101 
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The Ogeechee Butcher To ask a question E-mail: Please put ask-the-butcher in the subject line so it wont end up in the junk/spam box. You can also be my friend on Facebook and ask questions there.

About Me

I have been cutting meat for over50 years. I have done everything from working for shopping chains to now owning my own shop. I am part of the last group that was tested to be a certified meat cutter; when butchers still broke down the meat they needed from sides and whole carcasses. I have a vast knowledge of the field and am happy to share.