The ‘Texas Crutch’ Method [Jan 2020]

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 the BBQ pitmasters 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.

I get so many questions about the Texas Crutch! So I have we decided to put together a FAQ for yall.

Hopefully this FAQs should and answers most of  your questions. It will also help you see all of the perks to cooking your meat both unwrapped and unwrapped. 

If I have missed something let me know and I will try and answer your questions!

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 Flavor?

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.

Note: Always use a digital meat thermometer to monitor your internal temp

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 Flavor?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?

Two ways you can replace the moisture lost when cooking:

  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 center of the meat moist.”

Moisture is an essential part of BBQ. Without it 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.

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 & Appearance 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.

The second advatage is that 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.

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.

Do you use the Texas Crutch method?

Happy Smoking

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