I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that you’re somewhat interested in barbecue.
I mean, who else is actually going to take the time to read about the best butcher paper for smoking meat instead of just grabbing the cheapest one at the local home depot, or dare I say it: simply using aluminum foil?
I jest, I jest, There’s a time and a place for foil too, just not now and just not here.
After going through enough rolls of butcher paper to cover most of Texas, I reckon I’ve picked up just a few things that separate good butcher’s paper from GREAT butcher’s paper.
I’ve tried the top brands of butcher’s paper so you don’t have to and here’s what I’ve found to be the best.
Why Butcher’s Paper Is Superior For Wrapping Meats
For all you barbecuers out there that are still using aluminum foil, this one is for you.
Alright, I’m not going to lie, using aluminum foil to wrap your briskets, ribs, or pork butts still has its place – but it pales in comparison to what a good butcher’s paper can do.
Both aluminum foil and butcher’s paper are good insulators, but butcher’s paper is simply the superior choice for wrapping meats as it’s
- More Breathable
- More Durable
- Better For Smokey Flavor
Alright, so what does more breathable actually mean? Well, if you’ve ever used aluminum foil to wrap your barbecue meat, you’ll notice just how steamy the meat can become (this can often lead to a brisket that cooks too quickly).
With butcher’s paper, the material actually allows moisture to escape. Not just through the paper absorbing some of the moisture, but through the gradual disbursement of the moisture from the meat through each layer of paper.
This helps bark retain its crispier texture, and allows the continual cooking of the meat, without the temperature simply skyrocketing as soon as you wrap it – like you’ll get when you use aluminum foil.
If you’ve ever smoked ribs using aluminum foil, you’ll know how easily it can rip or tear pretty much defeating the whole purpose of the wrap.
With butcher’s paper, its general thickness and stronger durability give you much more defense against general tears.
On top of that, high-quality butcher’s paper goes one step further, really protecting the integrity of the wrap.
Better For Smokey Flavor
When you wrap your meat in aluminum foil, there’s no place for the grease and fat to go so it generally piles in the bottom of the wrap.
However, butcher’s paper helps to absorb this excess of fat drippings. This, paired with the fact that it’s breathable, overall leaves you with a cleaner, smokier taste.
Or at least that’s what my experience leads me to believe!
Top 5 Best Butcher’s Paper For Smoking Meat
1. Pink Butcher’s Paper From Meat Hugger
- Perfectly Durable
- Unwaxed Finish
- Dispenser Included
- Variable Lengths Available
- Made In The USA
- No Seal On The Box
- The Cutter On The Box Could Be Stronger
The name says it all: the Meat Hugger. Yup, it does just that, except with a perfectly durable, unwaxed, and sleek material.
You can tell it’s been made by barbecue lovers, designed to produce tender, juicy, and smokey meat, and it even comes in its own dispenser for easy storage and use.
It’s 17.25 Inches wide, pretty much wide enough to wrap itself around any piece of meat. If you’re accustomed to smoking larger briskets, you can pick up the 24″ inch one instead.
It’s uncomplete unwaxed and ultra-durable so there’s virtually no risk of it ripping or tearing. Plus, it’s the perfect thickness to lock in that moisture, without turning it into a sauna.
I personally have a whole stash of Meat Hugger and it’s been my go-to since 2022. In my eyes, pretty much unbeatable in quality, price, and awesomeness.
2. Peach Butcher’s Paper Roll From Bryco Goods
- 18-Inch Width (Or 24-Inch For The Big Boys)
- Affordable, High Quality
- Unwaxed & Uncoated
- A Bit Thick (Hard To Get A Probe Through)
Their Tagline “Let Your Brisket Breathe, without sacrificing a drop of that juiciness”. Absolutely love it!
After finding out Bryco Goods Butcher’s Paper was #1 in the marketplace we had to try it out.
This USA Made butcher’s paper is FDA food-grade certified, unwaxed, and coated. All Naturale.
It’s made from Georgia Pacific paper, which is ultra-durable, aiding in trapping moisture, but still allowing the breathability you need.
You know they’ve got barbecuers in mind when you see you can get it in a classic 18-inch and a 22-inch width, perfect for when you’re smoking those bigger briskets.
Amazing butcher’s paper, definitely a solid second pick.
3. Cave Tools Butcher’s Paper Roll
- Heat Resistant
- All Natural
- Durable As
- Badass Looking
- Harder To Source
- More Expensive
You can truly embrace your inner pitmaster (and Neanderthal) with Cave Tools’ robust Butcher’s Paper.
It’s not just an ordinary piece of butcher’s paper; it’s got everything you NEED in a piece of butcher’s paper.
Resilient and tough, but breathable. All natural, unwaxed, unbleached, uncoated. 18” inches wide, and extra heat resistant. A classic example of quality, complete with a Badass look. Now THAT’S a wrap.
4. Pink Butcher’s Kraft paper By Tenderlicious
- Multi Use
- No Polymer Coating
- Great For Classic Barbecue
- Increased Strength
- Not the best size options
- Harder to source
Honorable mention: Tenderlicious Pink Butcher’s Kraft Paper.
Honestly, I couldn’t find anything to complain about, but it wasn’t worthy of a top-three spot. If you come across some it’s still well worth picking some up, and it’s still superior to most standard-branded butcher’s papers.
5. Peach Butcher’s Paper By DIY Crew
- Great Length
- Great Moisture Retention
- 24” Width
- Very Long Roll (Like, Almost Too Long).
Honorable mention: DIY Crew’s Peach Butcher’s Paper
For those that want to go great to great lengths for quality, the DIY crews butcher’s paper will provide great quality at long lengths.
Really though, DIY Crew’s was too highly regarded in the industry to leave off the top 5 list. Made specifically for classic traditional barbecue, this 24” inch wide roll will cover all your barbecue needs, even those bigger briskets and pork butts.
What We’ve Compared
So what really makes the best butcher’s paper – Yup, it’s not just the brand name and it’s not just how cool the packaging looks.
Here’s exactly what we’ve compared and exactly what you should look out for in a quality butcher’s paper when it comes to smoking meat.
When we say we’re measuring the quality of the butcher’s paper, we’re looking at how well it acts as an insulated for your meat, all whilst remaining breathable and absorbing stray juices and fats.
That’s the key purpose of using butcher’s paper, so naturally, a higher quality butcher’s paper should nail each and every one of these requirements.
Some factors that would indicate a lower quality butcher’s paper include ripping or tearing easily, inability to withstand high heat, and an overly insulated material.
Heat And Smoke Resistance
During meat smoking, a lot of heat and smoke is produced. If your butcher paper isn’t heat and smoke tolerant, it could very easily burn or taint the flavor of the meat.
Moreover, your butcher paper should resist moisture, but should still be semi-permeable to allow some moisture to escape or be drawn into the paper.
Some brands of butcher’s paper choose to wax or coat their product. Even though it’s claimed that this coating or wax can enhance the durability of the butcher’s paper, the reality is that it can also prevent breathability, and impart unwanted flavors on your meat.
There’s simply no point as the downsides actually outweigh the benefits. That’s why we’ve included only those options which are completely uncoated.
Size And Width
No matter the width of your butcher’s paper, it’s always beneficial to completely wrap your meat in TWO layers.
This gives you optimal durability and insulation, whilst still allowing some element of breathability.
So, although you can find butcher’s paper in widths of 18” Inches to 24” Inches, either option tends to be sufficient since you’re doing a multi-layer wrap anyway.
Butcher paper is generally more expensive than foil and parchment paper. In all honestly, it’s worth the cost as no other material really compares.
A decent butcher paper will cost you around $20 to $60 depending on its length. Even so, we’ve made an effort to factor in the cost to the overall review.
When To Use Aluminium Foil Over Butcher’s Paper
Remember when I said “there’s a time and a place for foil”.
Well, there are some specific scenarios where you might just want to rely on the ole’ reliable aluminium foil wrap.
That’s because if you wrap meat using aluminum foil, it will:
- Speed up the cooking process (as it fully locks in moisture, completely preventing evaporative cooling).
- Maximize moisture content, as no moisture can permeate through the foil, unlike with butcher’s paper
It’s in these scenarios where you’re looking to power through the stall or you’re wanting to harness every ounce of the moisture in the meat, then aluminum foil will serve you better than butcher’s paper will.
To Wrap Up (Literally)
If you’re planning to smoke a brisket, pork butt, or pork ribs, chances are you’re planning to wrap your meat.
If you’ve been using aluminum foil, well, then it’s time to make the change to butcher’s paper as it simply treats the meat better, being a bit more breathable and durable than aluminum foil.
If you want to skip straight to the top-quality stuff, get yourself some Pink Butcher Paper From Meat Hugger. It’s top quality, wide enough for all your barbecue meats, and comes with a dispenser for easy access.
Believe me, your brisket will thank me later.