December 29, 2017

Cooking Without Foil & The ‘Texas Crutch’ Method

The Texas Crutch

When cooking a BBQ there are two different types of people. Those who choose to wrap their precious meat in foil, and those who leave their meat unwrapped.

Wrapping your meat is also known as the Texas Crutch. The name is believed to have been created in Texas because competition BBQ pit masters used this style of cooking.

There are people who feel very passionately about their chosen method. However, each different method has its own time and place to be used.

To become a better barbecue master it is best to understand both techniques and know exactly when to use each. 

The Texas Crutch's Frequently Answered Questions

After getting so many questions about the Texas Crutch we decided to put together an FAQ

The below FAQs should and answer all your questions. It will help you see all of the perks to cooking your meat both unwrapped and unwrapped.

Why Should I Use The Texas Crutch?

In general, there are three main reasons why you should use the Texas crutch:

  1. To stop the meat from absorbing too much smoke - this can make the meat bitter.
  2. To create a nice moist condition for your meat, this generally produces a more tender & juicy piece of meat.
  3. Significantly cuts down the risk of the stall.

Will The Texas Crutch Enhance The Flavour?

To answer this question we need to understand how the meat absorbs the smoke.

To understand how much smoke your meat should be absorbing we need to first understand that a piece of meat will only absorb smoke flavour until the internal temperature hits around 145 degrees internally.

When not using the Texas crutch method it is important to pay attention to the internal temperature of your meat and exactly how much smoke is being absorbed into it.

You will know when your meat has absorbed to much smoke because it will get that dreaded ‘lighter fluid’ taste.


How To Overcome This?
One way to overcome this problem is to closely monitor the internal temperature of your meat. When the internal temperature hits 145 degrees stop adding wood to the fire.

At this stage of cooking, you want to create a clean burning fire so no more smoke is produced, only heat. This will continue to cook the meat the whole way through without adding more unwanted smoke to the meat.


So, Does the Texas Crutch Enhance The Flavour?
If you have your meat wrapped you are able to control the amount of smoke that is penetrating the meat.

Will The Meat Be More Moist Unwrapped?

Moisture is an essential part of BBQ. Even if you have the best gas smoker, without moisture, you are stuck with a dry, tough piece of meat and let's face it no one wants to eat that.

Wrapped
When cooking wrapped, the moisture from the meat is trapped, creating a perfect environment for a tender & juicy piece of meat. When you cooking unwrapped you are in a constant battle to keep your meat moist. 

Unwrapped
During the cooking process your meat is trying to push out all the internal moisture, so if you are cooking unwrapped you need to replace the moisture one way or another to stay away from dry, tough meat.

When you are not wrapping it is quite important not to trim too much fat off your meat. Leaving a thicker layer of fat on your meat will act as a natural wrap and will help your meat stay moist throughout the cook.

There are a couple of ways you can replace the moisture lost in the cooking process:

  1. Mopping or basting your meat throughout the cooking process. This helps keep a layer of moisture on the outside of your meat so it doesn't dry.
  2. Injecting liquid into your meat.throughout the cooking process. Injecting is a great way to keep the centre of the meat moist.


Charlie's Hot Tip

If injecting meat make sure you inject after your meat is 180 degrees internally, this will ensure the outer layers of the meat are cooked and less juice will escape.

Will Cooking With The Texas Crutch Stop The Stall?

The last thing you want when you are mid BBQ is to find that the temperature of your meat is not going anywhere. It can turn even the best of us into hangry animals.

This phenomenon is often referred to as ‘the stall’. The stall often occurs around 170 degrees, and if you are not wrapped there are two ways out of this.

The first is to give your meat more cooking time. 

The second is to crank up the temperature of your grill. However, in doing this you risk drying out your meat. It is highly recommended that you only do this if you are injecting your meat.

Will I Get A Better Color & Appearence in My Meat?

There is nothing better than opening your grill and seeing a glorious charred piece of meat. This is one big advantage to not wrapping your meat.

When you don’t wrap your meat you are going to get a better bark on the outer of your meat. When you wrap or use the ‘Texas Crutch’ often the outer layer of the meat will be soft and mushy, not ideal. You want to have a nice crunchy dark outer, but not too dark. That will just taste burnt.

Charlie's Hot Tip

The trick to getting a good bark is to cook the piece of meat unwrapped until you are happy with the colour and texture of the outer layers.


When you are happy that you have found your almost perfect outer, throw over a piece of tinfoil. This is not wrapping, it is only shielding, shielding from your meat becoming to burnt.


When the meat is almost ready, take the shield off and let the outer crispen up to perfection, this ensures a perfect bark and no burnt taste.

My Favourite Smoked Ribs Recipe

Over the years I've been asked how to cook ribs on the gas smoker, Well folks here is what I like to call the best foil-wrapped ribs around!

Another common request is our smoked turkey, we find not only our family and friends are requesting but so are you guys!

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The Texas Crutch Smoked Ribs

Over the years I've been asked how to cook ribs on the gas smoker, Well folks here is what I like to call the best foil-wrapped ribs around! Another common request is our smoked turkey, we find not only our family and friends are requesting but so are you guys!

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • Rack of Ribs
  • Method

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to 350°- 450°F.
  2. The best rubs are always when you make your own rub. To make my favourite rub, mix together the ground black pepper, kosher salt, granulated garlic, dried thyme and paprika.

  3. Remove any membrane at the back of the rack. Cut each in the middle, creating two smaller racks.
  4. Evenly, season the rack with your homemade rub. Wrap each rack individually using heavy duty foil. Making sure you seal tightly.
  5. Place your ribs on the preheated grill, oh a medium heat. Cook for 1 hour with the lid closed. Turn occasionally so you get an even cook.Tip: Do not to pierce the foil.
  6. After 1 hour take the ribs off the grill and let rest for 1 hour. Open each packet and remove the ribs, discard any cooking juices.Tip: Use caution and watch out for steam when opening packets.
  7. Add your favourite wood chips to the burning coals or to the smoker box. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Once you get a good smoke place the ribs on the grill, bone side down.
  8. Grill with the lid closed for about 10 - 12 minutes, make sure to turn and baste a couple of times. Once they are lightly charred take off the grill and rest for 5 minutes. Cut and serve with lots of sauce!


Grill with the lid closed for about 10 - 12 minutes, make sure to turn and baste a couple of times. Once they are lightly charred take off the grill and rest for 5 minutes. Cut and serve with lots of sauce!

Final Thoughts

Unless you are in competition BBQ I would always go with the Texas Crutch method.

I love the nice moist meat that is produced from cooking this way. If you see my hot tip above, I usually follow that method. That way I also get a nice bark on the meat. 

If your looking for some more great rib recipes I follow many other top notch BBQers. So if want to see where I get my inspiration, have a look at favourite BBQ bloggers.

Do you use the Texas Crutch method?

Charlie

5 (100%) 3 votes

Charlie

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