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Wrapping Brisket In Cling Wrap: Should You Do It?

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In the smoking world, selecting the appropriate wrapping material is a hotly disputed topic that appears to be ongoing. As a result it can be difficult to identify the relevant information to employ.

Fortunately, we gathered the greatest information we could find, along with personal advice learned from experience, and are pleased to share it with you.

In this post, we’ll look at whether using plastic cling wrap is a good idea and what the best wrapping materials are.

Can Brisket Be Wrapped with Cling Wrap?

It all depends on why you’re wrapping the brisket.

No, plastic cling wrap should not be used to wrap a brisket for use inside the smoker.

Some argue that employing cling wrap is a perfectly safe and useful method, believing the heat inside isn’t hot enough to melt the plastic completely.

That is not exactly correct. Some plastics may be able to resist higher temperatures, but most will melt in the smoker’s heat.

There are special “smoking bags” developed for this purpose, however standard plastic cling wrap should not be used to cook with the brisket.

When Should Cling Wrapped Be Used with Brisket?

Despite the advice provided above, there are a few instances where cling wrap can be useful.

Cling wrap, for example, can be particularly useful when resting or holding a brisket. Especially when used with foil or paper, it can provide an extra tight seal, keeping the brisket warmer and containing it within its rendered juices.

Cling film can be used to keep the brisket fresh till the next day in addition to resting it. After the newly smoked brisket has cooled, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. The juices present therein will aid in the reheating process.

Furthermore, if you accidentally overcook your brisket, cling film can save the day.

Wrap overcooked brisket tightly in plastic wrap, being careful to include any and all rendered drippings from the smoking. (If there isn’t enough, simply mix in some beef stock with the meat in the wrap.)

Remove the wrapped brisket the next day and cut it into slices. For around 30 minutes, braise it in the oven with all of its fluids on a low heat. It will be presented more like a roast this manner, but it will still be excellent in flavor.

Should Brisket Be Wrapped While Smoking?

The primary reason for wrapping meat on a smoker is to expedite the cooking process and get through the stall at a much quicker rate. Smoking briskets can take up to 12 hours, or even more, depending on how forgiving the stall is.

The stall happens when you smoke meals at low temperatures or for long periods of time. At some point during the smoking process, the juices in the meat begin to rise to the surface, which then cool and evaporate around the surface of the meat. 

As a result, the meat cools at the same (or faster) rate at which the ambient smoke temperature can cook it, causing it to “stall.” This is also referred to as “evaporative cooling.”

When the meat is wrapped, all of the rendered juices that rise to the surface are tightly held against the meat, keeping it warm and preventing evaporative cooling.

This delivers them out of temperature stalling at a much faster rate. 

What Can Be Used to Wrap Brisket?

Aluminium foil and butcher paper are the most popular wrapping materials, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The material you use depends on your particular preferences and how you like to smoke your brisket.

Foil is ideal for first-time smokers. It’s simple to wrap with and creates a much tighter seal around the brisket. That means it keeps the meat warmer, allowing it to be pulled from a stall faster.

The disadvantage is that foil can almost over-seal it. Foil can sometimes cause soggy brisket or damage perfectly achieved bark or crispy skin.

Butcher paper is typically preferred by more experienced smokers. It provides for more airflow than foil, allowing the smoker to have more control over how the brisket cooks.

Paper is an excellent solution for individuals seeking high-quality bark because it is not as securely sealed.

It will, however, take longer to exit temperature stalls because it isn’t as tight and allows more airflow around the meat.

Final Thoughts

While plastic cling wrap is absolutely appropriate in other aspects of the smoking process, it is not recommended to use it while the brisket is cooking.

It is possible that the plastic will melt and contaminate the meat. Furthermore, plastic can introduce hazardous pathogens that are unsafe to breathe, let alone eat.

We recommend wrapping when smoking with foil or butcher paper. Both are entirely safe to use and will produce excellent results.