In the UK, butcher paper continues to grow in popularity amongst the BBQ community. I wanted to get some for myself to find out what all the hype was about.
Butchers have been using butcher paper for decades to wrap their meat and fish. It wasn’t until they started barbecuing and selling their own goods direct to customers that it started lining the delicious trays of meat that we’re used to seeing today.
Nowadays, it’s used the world around and is synonymous with traditional, American barbecue.
What can I use it for?
Butcher paper can be used to wrap all kinds of meat, but is more often used for bigger cuts such as beef brisket. Wrapping is typically done partway through a cook, once the meat as absorbed plenty of
Is it better than foil?
What you decide to wrap your meat in will have an impact on the end result. When smoked for long periods, meat develops a delicious and dark outer layer often referred to as bark. Often referred to as the “Texas Crutch”, wrapping meat in a tight layer of foil will certainly expedite the cooking process. However, the trapped steam resulting from wrapping the meat in foil will soften and degrade the bark.
Wrapping your meat in butcher paper gives you the best of both worlds. Whilst still expediting the cooking process, the paper naturally sits more loosely around the meat. The end result is a brisket that has retained moisture and cooked faster without the degradation of the crispy, outer layer of bark.
Not all butcher paper is suitable for use in BBQ. A good product, like the one listed here, is 100% food grade and is made from natural ingredients. It’s also unwaxed, which means that it can withstand high temperatures without melting and affecting the taste of the brisket.
Why wouldn’t you wrap?
There’s no doubt about it, wrapping isn’t necessary. But for novice cooks, wrapping can be an easy way to retain moisture and flavour. I highly recommended that you learn about the quality of your meat and how your smoker behaves before attempting to cook without the use of paper or foil.
Looking for more?
To see what equipment I use, including butcher paper, check out my Resources page.