Pitmaster Reveals ‘Texas Crutch’ is the Key to Tender Brisket
While it's true a real barbeque pitmaster would rather kill you than give you his secret sauce or dry rub recipe, most brothers in smoke are happy to offer suggestions on cooking techniques. One of those techniques has been dubbed the "Texas Crutch" and it is apparently the very simple hack that all of the top purveyors of barbeque use when making a brisket.
If you're not familiar with uncooked brisket it is just about the sorriest cut of meat you can find on the cow. It's really tough and there are a lot of connective tissues interspersed with the very delicious meat. The trick to good brisket is knowing how to cook it long enough to be tender but not so long it becomes a really large slab of dried-out beef jerky.
The way most pit masters handle a beef brisket is to cook it low and slow. That usually means a temperature between 200 and 250 degrees. The meat is usually not cooked over direct heat but is exposed to smokey wood flavors from hickory, mesquite, pecan, or applewood.
In most cases, a brisket will weigh several pounds and that large amount of meat takes a while to get to the right temperature. Meanwhile, there is the risk of outer portions of the brisket becoming overcooked while those succulent juices run out of the meat and onto the fire.
To the ordinary cook, it might look like a sheet of aluminium foil or butcher paper. To a barbeque pitmaster that material is a brisket saver. The best pitmasters suggest you wrap your brisket in foil or butcher paper about halfway through the cooking process.
This wrapping of the meat seals in juices and helps stabilize the cooking temperature throughout the cooking process. That means all of the brisket gets cooked and done at about the same time. The "Texas Crutch" also holds in the juices as the meat rests before carving too.
You can use the "Texas Crutch" on any large piece of meat, even poultry and especially turkey if you plan on smoking a bird for Thanksgiving. You can also use some of that juice captured by the "crutch" to make a darn fine sauce or gravy.
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