Some people smoke their meats without wrapping, while others use aluminum foil. However, many backyard BBQers are opting to use pink butcher paper, and here’s why.
Why Use Pink Butcher Paper
Butcher paper is more breathable than aluminum foil, which helps keep the meat moist during the last stages of cooking without sacrificing the quality of the bark.
There is a huge debate online about whether to use aluminum foil or butcher paper when smoking a brisket.
*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
When I cooked my first brisket, I had never heard of using butcher paper. I had always used aluminum foil for smoking meats.
However, after using butcher paper, I will most likely never go back to aluminum foil.
In this article, we’re going to cover why barbecue enthusiasts use pink butcher paper and why you might want to for your next cook.
What Is Pink (Peach) Butcher Paper?
Butcher paper is a type of kraft paper that has high elasticity and difficult to tear. It is made from Southern Pine pulp that has been approved by the FDA.
The paper is treated with a sizing agent that preserves meats for storage. This process is what makes the butcher paper difficult to tear easily when exposed to moisture.
Butcher paper can be purchased in either rolls or sheets and is typically white, pink, or brown in color. The pink (peach) paper is the most popular one to use for backyard BBQs.
Can Butcher Paper Go In A Smoker?
Yes, as long as you’ve chosen the right paper, it’s safe to put in the smoker. That said, if you try using wax paper or freezer paper, they can catch fire. In addition, the wax can emit toxic fumes.
Don’t skimp on the right paper when smoking meats. A roll of butcher paper is inexpensive and trying to use a brown paper bag will ruin your cook or catch on fire.
When and How Do I Use Pink Butcher Paper?
You’ll want to wrap the meat at the final stages of the cook, to help keep it moist and prevent it from drying out. So how do you use it?
Well, the only time I’ve used it when I cooked brisket, I let the meat smoke bare until it reached “the stall.” The stall is basically when the internal meat of the meat stops rising. It only occurs on meats that are cooked low ‘n’ slow for an extended period of time.
So what is the “stall” you ask?
The stall or plateau zone occurs when your meat reaches an internal temperature of 165° – 170°F.
Once the meat reaches the stall, you wrap it with the the pink butcher paper.
I know what you’re thinking, why not just use aluminum foil? After all, most people have a roll of foil in their pantry and don’t want to buy pink butcher paper.
Well, here’s some of the reasons to opt for pink butcher paper.
What Foods Should I Use Butcher Paper With On The Smoker?
Pink butcher paper is mostly used when smoking beef at a low ‘n’ slow temperature. That said, you can wrap any type of food that you cook on a smoker.
Pork, Beef, and even ribs can be wrapped in butcher paper. Basically, you only want to use butcher paper for meats that you cook at a low ‘n’ slow temperature.
Beef brisket is the most popular cut of meat to wrap in butcher paper. But you can also experiment with wrapping beef ribs and Pork butt (pulled pork).
It’s up to you on what you wrap your meat with. I’d recommend experimenting to see if it comes out better when it’s wrapped in foil or butcher paper.
That said, you should avoid using waxed butcher paper, as it isn’t the same and can ruin your cook.
Butcher Paper Vs. Alumumin Foil
Many people use foil to wrap their meats during low ‘n’ slow smoking. It is a smoking technique that is known as the “Texas Crutch.”
There’s a huge debate online as to whether aluminum foil should be used for all meats? It can work great for ribs but can cause beef to dry out.
Aluminum foil creates a tight seal that speeds up the cooking process and is non-porous (meaning no air gets in or out). This means the meat doesn’t get any smoke, which affects the bark, and the heat is not allowed to escape.
This in turn will cause the brisket to become tough. Remember, brisket is one of the most challenging meats to cook, if it is cooked too fast, it will become chewy and tough making it impossible to eat.
Using pink butcher paper enables the meat to breathe as it doesn’t lock the moisture. Since it is porous, it allows for the smokey flavor to penetrate the meat.
Most people invest in a smoker because they crave the smokey flavor of their BBQ.
Smoking with butcher paper means your meat will finish cooking slowly and you don’t have to worry about adjusting the cook time.
Pink butcher paper by nature can’t be wrapped as tightly as foil, which means you will have a better probability of achieving a great bark. Foil would prevent the bark from forming at all. If your meat had a bark formed at “the stall” there’s a chance that the foil would ruin it.
Butcher Paper Vs. Steak Paper?
Steak paper is sometimes confused with pink butcher paper, because they are similar.
The biggest difference is that steak paper is used for retail meat display or storage. It is also thicker and heavier than butcher paper, as it is meant to protect raw meats from contaminants.
It can be purchased in several different colors such as:
- Pink (it looks similar to pink butcher paper, but it’s not)
If you’re buying pink butcher paper for smoking meats, make sure you get the right one. Regular butcher paper is designed for storage. It won’t produce the same effect as pink butcher paper that is designed for smoking meats.
Where Can I Buy Pink Butcher Paper?
The best place to find pink butcher paper is online. I ordered mine from Amazon.
- Butchers Paper is ultra durable and strong; does a superior job trapping smoke while releasing steam
- Use our superior Pink Butcher Paper for serving, storing, cooking and smoking your choice of meat
- Uncoated and Unwaxed Butcher Paper: This paper won't leave anything unwanted behind on your food
- Our pink butcher paper for smoking meat is reinforced on the interior to enhance wet strength
- Crafters can use our butcher paper for sublimation, our uncoated paper will absorb residual ink
It comes in a roll of about 175ft, which allows you to use it for several cooks.
What Else Can You Use Pink Butcher Paper For?
Even if you don’t cook a lot of beef briskets, it doesn’t mean you have to put the roll in the pantry never to be used again. There are other uses such as:
Keeping Meat Warm
Pink butcher paper can be used to wrap your smoked or grilled foods in and maintain them at a warmer temperature during the resting period.
If you dry brine your meats, you can use butcher paper to wrap the meat in before putting it in the fridge. Here’s how you dry brine meat.
Like regular butcher paper, pink butcher paper can be used to display your shredded or sliced smoked meat. Cut off a piece and lay your meats on it. Not only does it look great, but it helps keep the meat from touching the surface of the table.
If you have young children, then you’re likely looking for things to do. A roll of butcher paper and crayons can keep your kids busy for hours.
Unroll several feet of it and tape down the corners to the floor. Give your kids some crayons and watch them go crazy.
Some crafty people have even used butcher paper when designing their wedding decor. The right butcher paper can be used as name cards, place mats, table runners, and decorative banners.
En Papillote is a French style of cooking. Basically, you’re creating a pouch with the paper and cooking or steaming foods. It’s mostly used for cooking fish and other seafood.
You can also use parchment paper or foil.
Now you know why more BBQ enthusiasts and backyard BBQers are switching to pink butcher paper as an alternative to foil.
Unlike foil, using pink butcher paper makes it easier to maintain proper temperature, prevents over steaming, allows the meat to breathe, and you can achieve a better bark.
The next time you cook some meat at a low ‘n’ slow temperature, wrap it in pink butcher paper instead of foil and you’ll know why you should have keep a roll in your pantry!