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What Is Pink Butcher Paper And Why It’s Used For Smoking BBQ?

by Lianne Jones February 22, 2022

What Is Pink Butcher Paper And Why It’s Used For Smoking BBQ?

When smoking their meat, a lot of people do not choose to wrap their meat, or they might focus on aluminum foil instead. However, pink butcher paper is not something you want to ignore.

Pink butcher paper can take your BBQ to the next level by speeding up cooking time, by helping you to retain all that moisture, and can ultimately result in a much more successful barbecue.

We look into the method that uses pink butcher paper and why investing in some might be your next step in the BBQ world. Read on to find out more.

Why Pink Butcher Paper?

If you are ever looking for an alternative to aluminum foil to use when smoking and grilling, pink butcher paper might be the way forward. Although foil can retain heat, it is not great when you are looking for that crispy, brown bark as it creates too much condensation.

As a result, in recent years, pink butcher paper has become a must-have BBQ accessory and has been used by professionals for many years. 

If you are wondering what it is, if you picture what your meat is wrapped in at the butcher’s or the butcher’s counter in your local grocery store, the wrapping your cuts are packaged in is pink butcher paper.

The paper comes in large rolls and has multiple uses from wrapping meat when cooking to storage and decorating. Unlike other types of paper, pink butcher paper does not contain any chemicals or wax and this makes it safe to use on the smoker.

Pink butcher paper can also be referred to as peach paper and it should not be mixed up with white butcher paper or freezer paper as they have completely different properties. Pink butcher paper is pure and is not bleached like white butcher paper is.

Whilst freezer paper has a plastic film on the one side and it is not suitable for high temperatures such as on the BBQ. Pink butcher paper is made from virgin pulp, is FDA approved, and is 100% food grade. 

The Popularity Of Pink Butcher Paper

When something gains popularity, a lot of the time a famous star in that field has been seen with the product. The same can be said for pink butcher paper. Aaron Franklin, who owns Franklin Barbecue joint in Austin, Texas notably started to wrap his brisket in pink butcher paper and word got around the BBQ world pretty fast.

The Franklin Barbecue is a BBQ joint where people line up for hours on end to taste what has been cooking on the grill, and it’s no surprise even Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain have been captured praising the beautiful brisket.

Aaron Franklin has won multiple barbecue awards in the past and therefore when he tries a new technique, people often take note. 

Since then, BBQ professionals all over the world have used pink butcher paper a lot more and it has gained popularity with backyard grillers and pitmasters too. It is a durable choice and promises not to tear whilst cooking.

It is also wax-free and can withstand temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit so why would BBQ professionals pass up on the opportunity?. 

Can I Put Butcher Paper In My Smoker?

Yes, you can put pink butcher paper in the smoker, as long as you have chosen the right sort of paper. If you try putting wax paper or freezer paper in the smoker, these materials will likely catch fire and the wax can emit particularly toxic fumes into the air around you.

Never skimp on finding the right paper that is FDA-approved and suitable for smoking. A roll of butcher paper can be budget-friendly and if you try to replace this with a brown paper bag, this will ruin the food and it will catch on fire. 

Advice On Using Pink Butcher Paper

Pink Butcher paper can hold moisture when the meat is in the final stages of cooking. A lot of pitmasters will wrap the bigger cuts of meat such as a full-sized brisket so that it can get past what is known as ‘the stall’.

The stall, for those who are not familiar, is when the internal temperature during cooking stops rising and stalls at one number. The stall is also known as the ‘plateau’ zone and occurs when the meat reaches the internal temperature of around 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the meat reaches this temperature, you should wrap the meat in pink butcher paper.

Wrapping your meat during the last stages of cooking will keep the heat locked in and keep it as moist as possible. During this process, pink butcher paper is preferred over aluminum foil as it allows the meat to breathe.

You can also speed up the whole cooking time by wrapping your meat in pink butcher paper, and so is a hack used by pitmasters and BBQ enthusiasts who are in a hurry to feed their hungry guests. 

You can use pink butcher paper to smoke a variety of meats, and this is what makes it so much better than aluminum foil. It is mostly used when smoking beef at a low and slow temperature but you can wrap any food you cook on a smoker to give you the best cooking result possible.

You can use it to wrap pork, beef, and ribs, but just make sure the meat you are wrapping can cook at a low and slow temperature.

More often than not it is beef brisket that BBQ professionals like to wrap in butcher paper but pulled pork and beef ribs make for some interesting cooking experiments, often with great results. Never use waxed butcher paper, however, as this can ruin the process. 

Pink Butcher Paper Vs Steak Paper

Although steak paper might resemble pink butcher paper, they have distinct differences that set them apart. Steak paper is a lot heavier and thicker and is purely designed to protect the meat from the air and resist staining.

It is also available in various colors such as pink, white, and gardenia, and these indicate the type of meat it is holding, this can range from beef, pork, fish, and more. Smoking with steak paper is not ideal as it is so thick and heavy.

It will not allow smoke or that rich flavor you are after to penetrate the food and you will end with a very disappointing result. Instead, the properties of steak paper make it great for storage. 

Pink Butcher Paper Vs Aluminum Foil

The Texas Crutch is the most famous way of wrapping during low and slow smoking. The method is often used for pork ribs and in particular the 321 ribs. However, it is less effective when used with beef.

After you have wrapped something in foil, you have already created an impermeable and reflective layer. This means it will not allow any more smoke to reach the meat, yet since the heat cannot escape, cooking will be unabated and no moisture can get out.

This means the beef becomes too moist and resembles a pot-roast, rather than a crispy bit of brisket. It will lose the famous crispy bark and will lose any texture associated with beef.

Pink butcher paper on the other hand is a lot more consistent and there is no moisture lock. You will get extremely moist meat and the paper can allow the meat to ‘breathe’.

You can preserve the bark you want on your brisket or your beef ribs and it has even been compared to a warm blanket of paper soaked in fat.

Other Uses For Pink Butcher Paper

Pink butcher paper is very versatile and can be used for multiple purposes in and around the kitchen. It can keep the meat warm and tender before serving and this is famously what Aaron Franklin uses the paper for.

It can also be used to wrap leftovers or even for serving on a plate to guests, to add a pop of color as you present the meat. Some cooks like to make cones out of pieces of butcher paper and serve chicken wings, cuts of beef, or even fries in them. 

Moreover, pink butcher paper can be used for alternate cooking techniques such as dry brining and ‘en papillote’. When day brining, you need to salt your meat and wrap it in the paper before allowing it to sit in the fridge.

A lot of professional cooks choose dry brining to wet. ‘En papillote’ on the other hand is a famous French cooking technique. To carry this out, you need to create a pouch for the meat out of butcher paper or aluminum foil.

You then need to add your spices and seasoning and close up to cook. It’s often used for steaming seafood and fish. 

Though this might seem unusual, you can also use pink butcher paper for entertainment. If you have young children, a large roll of butcher paper and a selection of crayons can occupy your kids for hours on end. Unroll several feet of the paper and tape down to the corners. Let them get creative and go crazy.

Some have even used pink butcher paper when designing their wedding decorations. A suitable roll of pink butcher paper can be used as a name card, table runners, decorative banners, or placemats. You could also get creative yourself and start making your designs on paper. 

Buying Pink Butcher Paper

Until recent years, you could only find pink butcher paper and buy it for commercial purposes. For this reason, it is not the easiest piece of BBQ equipment to find on the market.

You may be able to buy it at a barbecue emporium, but you will likely end up needing to order it online from a wholesaler or special manufacturer. 

Pink butcher paper comes in a big roll and you can even find ways of ordering 1000’ rolls at a time weighing over 25 pounds.

Unless you own a restaurant or BBQ joint like Aaron Franklin, you are not going to need this much pink butcher paper. However, you can also get the paper in 150’ rolls and these are a lot more manageable for every BBQ enthusiast for personal BBQ use. 

When buying pink butcher paper, ensure you buy a roll that is approved for food use and one you can manage to maneuver. 

When you are buying pink butcher paper, you need to ensure you buy paper that is suitable for smoking meats as regular butcher paper, is only designed for storage. This will not work in the same way as pink butcher paper that is designed for smoking meat and can ruin the whole BBQ. 

We recommend this Pink Butcher Paper Rollfrom Amazon. This is perfect for smoking all varieties of meat. This superior pink butcher paper can be used for serving, storing, cooking, and smoking meat, making it one of the most versatile materials to wrap meat on the market.

The butcher paper also is reinforced on the interior to enhance wet strength. It’s also safer than a lot of other butcher paper sheets as it is 100% food-grade certified.

This is something you need to double-check before purchasing pink butcher paper from any website or seller. 

We also recommend this Pink Butcher Paper from the Meat Hugger brand as is food grade whilst being non-toxic and smoker safe. It is heavy-duty and has superior strength, so promises not to fall apart if you enjoy using lots of oil or extra food juices.

Finally, it comes with a roll dispenser to simplify the whole smoking process. It has an easy-tear dispenser and this makes wrapping the meat faster and more convenient.

Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you now know why pink butcher paper can be so useful when smoking meat. This technique might have been lying under your nose the whole time, so why not go out and try it on your next BBQ.

Unlike aluminum foil, using pink butcher paper makes it easier to maintain a suitable temperature, it prevents too much steaming and most importantly, it allows the meat to breathe so you can easily achieve that beautiful brown and crispy bark.

Moreover, it can also speed up the entire cooking process so what’s holding you back?

Next time you decide to cook some meat using the low ‘n’ slow method on the BBQ, wrap it in some pink butcher paper and you’ll find out why Aaron Franklin loves it so much. We promise you will too!

Lianne Jones
Lianne Jones


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