04-06-2011, 08:44 PM
Join Date: 04-03-11
Location: Dickinson, Texas
The Legendary Texas Crutch - Foil
The Texas Crutch - Foil
A Commentary by Pitmaster "T" - The Late Popdaddy' s Valet and Personal Chef from 1999 to 2011.
Paul Kirk - Originator of the term - Texas Crutch
I was going to post this in Anchors Smokeshop excellent thread called "To wrap or not to wrap" but I decided not to so that there would be no distraction from that excellent thread.
First, I never got the reference to the "Texas Crutch" because the crowd I hung around when I was competing in Texas in the nineties did not use it.
But as I proved under another name when I worked for ...Him....
....taboos and insistence in doing things one way in this forum is just... silly... unproductive, narrow-minded and frankly... at some point your standard is going to get challenged somewhere. I tried to show at times how silly being stoically inflexible looked like lunacy then I would turn around and write a long article on the art of simmering cuts and why tradition is... well... subjective. In short, I became the purposely contradictory to prove the point... that insistence that another way is wrong - is a poor path.
Me and my Crutch - a wrapping of impenetrable plastic and a hot box for a boogie night - taken 2009 - MY Rub Technique is tweaked so that after you unwrap this brisket and let it sit in the air, the bark pops back.
To the question of whether or not to foil I have this to say along the same vein. Someone once said on here that "BBQ was what you ended up with not how you got there." At one point in time in this forum that statement would not fly...
My, how some of us have grown.
But humor me my point. I have helped prove on this forum, and others have subscribed to it, that brisket for instance can be cooked at temps closer to 300 than 200 and crank out a marvelous product in half the time. I have proved ribs can be attained that way too. I did not invent hot and fast nor was i the first on this forum to talk about it, but I would say no one had talked about it more than I, shot more videos about it, written more history about it and it all proved one thing... that there is more than one way to get somewhere. Myron Mixon has proved to all that even at the competition level, you can win using charcoal lighter fluid to start your fire and green wood to cook your meats. But the caveat is high heat -- that and steam - which tickles me, is essentially making the pit operate in the same conditions the foil does.
John Fullilove Popping his hood - "Nope, no foil here"
Just like a rub tweaked to cook at a smoking temp of 220 can be a disaster at 290, and a rub tweaked for no wrapping can be a disaster when you wrap it, foiling has its applications. But is it a cheat?
If I once made the case long ago that foiling mimics the same thing as simmering a cut of BBQ, well then that makes us all "simmerers" and thus not traditional. So isn't the reverse true? LOL
There is nothing wrong with foiling. In both cultures, the culture of caterers and restaurateurs, and the culture of competition, both foilers and non-foilers have strong clienteles that swear by them, and awards and accolades.
So when does one reach for it? I will tell you the only thing that made me STOP using it was it was a pain in the neck to wrap 50 briskets and it cost too much. At times I use butcher paper. My Church allows me to have a nice warming oven and the way we do things I actually just wrap in plastic after the stall and let them ride the rest of the way in the oven. Is that a crutch? Some would say, hell yeah! I am one of them!
I have discussed and tried to prove that one man's technique is another man's crutch. Injections? Is that natural? Nope! Is it effective? In the right hands. Is it tasty? MMMMMMM yep. Especially if you are like me - and as far as I know I am the only one - who when he injects - uses the smokey brisket juice------ from the last brisket.
Foil is no different... a blessing in the right hands and a curse and crutch in others. Its a tool. And I would ask, are you fixing the car if you use an air tool to undo your manifold bolts?
Here are some excellent web writings.
The wisest article written on foil by the beloved Craig the Meathead. Lists not only pros and cons but remember what I said about "in the right hands?" He shows you both ways to produce a good product with and without foil.
This article below assigned the entire term to Paul Kirk, who reportedly arrived at a competition with a crutch wrapped in foil to poke fun at the process. Here would be excellent commentary from Paul regarding why you should not use it.
Last edited by Pitmaster T; 04-06-2011 at 09:19 PM..