Smoked meat has a signature crunchy crust on the outside and is perfectly tender and juicy on the inside. But, if you want a smokier flavor and a crispier bark or perhaps that traditional ‘mahogany-colored’ crust, then you are recommended to try using ‘butcher paper’.
Once the meat reaches the ‘stall phase’, remove it from the smoker and place it lengthwise on one side of the butcher paper. Fold the bottom edge of the paper and place it on top of the meat. Next, tuck the sides and roll as tight as you can until you reach the end. Tuck the end-fold underneath the meat to double the thickness.
Butcher paper is specially designed for smoking meat and is used by professional pitmasters to prevent the meat from drying out during long cook hours. Compared to aluminum foil (or the original Texas Crutch method), butcher paper keeps the meat moist, without turning it soggy. Here’s a complete guide on how to wrap meat in butcher paper for smoking.
How To Use Butcher Paper For Smoking
All large cuts of meat may undergo ‘stall’ – a process when the rapid rate of evaporation from the surface of the meat halts the ongoing cooking process. When the meat reaches the stall phase, there is a stalemate battle between evaporation and the stall which rapidly cools down the entire cut before achieving the desired degree of doneness. Wrapping the brisket in butcher paper or aluminum foil prevents a prolonged stall phase.
How To Wrap A Brisket In Butcher Paper
Wrapping a brisket is technically called the ‘Texas Crutch’. There are three main reasons to wrap brisket – speeding up the cooking time, having control over the bark, and achieving juicer results.
Watch this video to learn how simple it is to wrap brisket in the butcher paper.
Step 1: Place the butcher roll or sheet on your workstation (roughly to the size of ~40 inches or according to your preferences).
Step 2 (Optional): Spray some cooking oil on the paper.
Step 3: Place the meat lengthwise on one side of the butcher paper. You might spritz some apple cider to add some extra moisture.
Step 4: Fold the bottom edge of the paper and place it on top of the meat and pull it as tight as you can towards you. Keep rolling and tucking the sides underneath the brisket until you reach the end of the paper.
Step 5: The end fold can be tucked underneath the brisket to double the thickness.
How To Wrap Spare Ribs In A Butcher Paper
Pitmasters generally use the ‘3-2-1’ rule to cook spare ribs, that is, 3 hours of smoking, 2 hours of wrapping, and 1 hour of unwrapping. Make sure the foil conforms to the shape of the ribs when you wrap it with the butcher paper.
When Should You Wrap A Brisket?
Wrap with the butcher paper when the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (or 73.8-76.6 ℃). Some pitmasters may wrap the meat when it reaches the ‘stall phase’, others may wrap it when they get the bark to the color they want.
|Unbleached Parchment Paper for Baking, 15 in x 200 ft, 250 Sq.Ft, Baking Paper, Non-Stick Parchment Paper Roll for Baking, Cooking, Grilling, Air Fryer and Steaming||Learn More|
|Katbite 200PCS 12x16 In Heavy Duty Flat Parchment Paper, Parchment Paper Sheets for Baking Cookies, Cooking, Frying, Air Fryer, Grilling Rack, Oven(12x16 Inch)||Learn More|
|Pink Butcher Paper Roll - 18 Inch x 175 Feet (2100 Inch) - Food Grade Peach Wrapping Paper for Smoking Meat of all Varieties - Made in USA||Learn More|
|White Kraft Butcher Paper Roll - 18 Inch x 100 Foot White Paper Roll for Wrapping and Smoking Meat, BBQ Paper for the Perfect Brisket Crust - Durable, Uncoated and Unwaxed Food Grade Paper||Learn More|
Why Use A Butcher Paper?
Smoked food has a beautiful texture. Isn’t it? But, when you wrap it, you have better control over the texture and color of the meat. Aluminum wrapping is the original Texas Crutch method. However, in the modern culinary world, top chefs prefer using butcher paper rather. The butcher paper is time-tested for being a superior product to aluminum foil for trapping smoke and releasing steam. It also speeds up the cooking time.
|Original Texas Crutch (wrapped with Aluminum Foil)||Unwrapped||Wrapped with Butcher Paper|
|Bark||Softest||Crunchy||A little crunchy|
|Taste||Beefy||Smokiest||Between Smoky and Beefy|
The wrap insulates the meat against direct heat, which allows you to increase the temperature of your smoker without worrying about burning or drying out the surface of the meat.
While there are several advantages to wrapping the meat in butcher paper, the only downside is a slight loss of smoky flavor than when left unwrapped. However, since most of the smoke gets into the meat in the first few hours of cooking, this is not much of a worry.
If you are not acquainted with the process of how to wrap meat in butcher paper for smoking, there might also be chances of overcooking and loss of texture to the bark of the brisket.
Best Butcher Paper For Smoking
When choosing butcher paper, always keep these four factors in mind:
- Quality & Certifications – The butcher paper should be free from toxic ingredients and should preferably have official certifications from bodies like FDA.
- Moisture Resistance – The butcher paper should be strong enough to hold all the moisture from the food being cooked without losing its strength. This is because if the butcher paper loses its strength, it could compromise the smoking process and render the meat dry.
- Heat Resistance – The butcher paper should not lose its strength upon exposure to high heat.
- Unflavored/ Uncoated – To increase durability, some manufacturers transfer a wax coating on the butcher paper. This interferes with the original flavor/ taste of the food being smoked. Therefore, always make sure to buy one that is made with virgin pulp and is unflavored, unbleached, or uncoated.
Types of Butcher Paper For Smoking Meat
The two most common types of paper used in smoking are:
- Pink Butcher Paper – It is the most recommended butcher paper by top chefs. Pink butcher paper for smoking meat (also known as peach-treated butcher paper) is engineered to protect the meat from moisture and can withstand high temperatures. It is also used to store raw meat. The composition and the design keep the meat fresh for the longest time.
- White Butcher Paper – These are the most common types of papers used to wrap meat, subs, and sandwiches. White Butcher Papers are FDA approved and help to keep foods fresh.
Keeping these factors in mind, some of the best butcher papers to buy are:
|BRYCO Goods Pink Butcher Paper Roll||YRYM Brown Butcher Paper Roll||Oren’s Original Smokin’ Pink Butcher Paper Roll||Bryco Goods White Kraft Butcher Paper Roll||Reynolds Kitchen Pink Butcher Paper||Traeger Pink Butcher Paper|
|Food grade certified||Yes||N/A||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes/ FDA approved|
|Available in sizes||18 inches by 100 feet
18 inches by 175 feet
24 inches by 175 feet
|18 inches by 176 feet||17.25 inches X 200 feet and 24 inches X 200 feet||18 X 100”||18 inches X 150 feet||18 inches X 150 feet|
|Best for||Smoking Brisket, Pulled Pork, and Ribs||Chicken, Beef, lamb, Turkey, Fish, and Pork||Beef Brisket, Ribs, Pork Shoulder, etc.||Brisket, Ribs.||Smoked Brisket & Pork.||Smoking Brisket, Pulled Pork, and Ribs|
|Special Features||Reinforced interior for enhanced wet strength. Made in the USA. Ultra-durable. Can also be used for sublimation.||Can be used for smoking, cooking, wrapping, or storing meat. Excellent aesthetic choice. Made from brown recycled paper. The package also includes a 1” Hemp roll.||Has a paper density of 40 lb which makes it extra strong and perfect for smoking, wrapping, or storing any meat.||Reinforced to prevent breakage. Multifunctional.||Easy dispensing and clean cuts. Can withstand temperatures up to 300℉. Certified by the Sustainable Forest Initiative.||Keeps meat moist and seals moisture. Can also be used for beautiful gift wrapping.|
It is completely the chef’s choice for keeping the brisket wrapped or unwrapped, but there are several benefits of using butcher paper for smoking. Wrapping butcher paper is an art and it may require a lot of practice to get the perfect results every time.
Scot has loved smoking food in his free time for the last few years. Each major holiday or off-weekend, Scot spends days testing and prepping new recipes for perfection.