Ok, so I have preached against wrapping anything for some time now. But I got a new toy last week and been feeling a bit frisky and experimental. Just kinda looking for a change. Started re-researching brisket techniques decided to wrap my brisket in paper (more on that in a minute).
I have used a Smoking-It #2 for a couple years and done lots of good briskets. I never wrapped so I could get really good bark. I wrapped a flat a time or 2 when I first started but did't get much bark. At least not to my liking. Well, I picked up a pellet smoker last week (Posted a bit on that in the Pellet smoker sub forum) and in the spirit of open mindedness and experimentation did a little test with ribs. I did one rack no wrap and one got wrapped for about 1.25 hours. The wrapped still had some bark on it (rib bark, not big time brisket bark). This set the wheels a turnin'.
See, I saw a couple videos of competition guys do some briskets with wrapping and there was still come good bark. One guy wrapped at the ~ 4 hour or so mark, more specifically when he saw there was good color and some bark formation. Then I ran across a wonderful video of Franklin, brisket God of Franklin's BBQ fame in Austin. He did a test where he did one brisket without wrapping, one wrapped in foil about half way through and one wrapped in butcher paper. He says he does his with butcher paper for his restaurant. His theory is that it lets the brisket breathe a little instead of a full out simmer when wrapped in foil. Paper still helps insure moistness. In short, as you can predict, the foil wrapped had the softest bark and lightest smoke flavor, the no wrap had dense bark and lost of smokiness and the paper wrapped was somewhere in between.
Soooo.... my theory is that in the #2 I need all the cook time to develop adequate bark (likely due to excessive moisture), but with the pellet smoker I get good color and bark formation at the 4-6 hour mark thereby allowing for a wrap but still getting good bark. And I wanted to try the paper wrap. The problem was I couldn't find proper butcher paper like Franklin uses. So I tried parchment paper. Well, parchment paper is more like a foil wrap since it is not permeable. At least mine wasn't. But the brisket was awesome. Really awesome. The flat was epic. Really epic. AND IT HAD BARK. Even my wife, who doesn't like BBQ or brisket (she hid that from me until after the wedding) liked it. In fact she is taking some to work tomorrow to share with some girlfriends.
Anyway, sorry to be long winded, but I had to get that out and explain my wrapping journey. I will pursue proper butcher paper and give that a shot, but I firmly believe now that I could use foil and achieve similar results by delaying the wrap a bit longer.
The brisket was rubbed the night before with brown sugar and a touch of rub (Fast Eddy rubs the meat with brown sugar for several hours), 9 hour smoke using pecan/oak pellets and boosted with the AMZNPS with hickory in it and a 4 hour rest:
Here she is:
Probe in there to verify what the smokers probe is saying:
After the 4 hour rest: