Have you ever noticed how brisket recipes tell you to wrap the meat during the cooking process?
Wrapping large chunks of meat halfway through the cooking time can speed up the cooking time, and it has lots of other benefits.
Aluminum foil is probably the most apparent choice. However, many BBQ experts use parchment paper or butcher paper.
As you can imagine, people have started putting these two materials against one another, trying to figure out how which one is the best.
What Is the Purpose of Wrapping Smoked Meat
Wrapping meat is often referred to as the Texas crutch. Enthusiasts of this technique say it helps preserve pulled pork and brisket’s moisture.
The temperature will rise quickly once the meat has been wrapped.
This, in turn, will make it easier to estimate the cooking time of large pieces of meat.
Another reason to wrap meat is to preserve its moisture. Meat consists of approximately 75% water.
Although this may vary from cut to cut, one thing is clear the water will evaporate once the meat cooks.
This is why meat tends to weigh less after it bene cooked.
Wrapping the meat creates a shallow pool allowing the moisture to stay close to the meat’s surface.
In the end, the meat will remain tender and moist.
As I mentioned above, it can also speed up the cooking process.
Ever noticed how brisket stopped cooking while it had a temperature between 150°F-160°F.
This is called the stall. The stall is unavoidable and will happen whether you use the newest offset or electric smoker.
The stall occurs because the moisture that evaporates cools the meat’s surface quicker than the portable pellet smoker can keep up with it.
This process is known as evaporative cooling.
Unfortunately, the stall can last for 5-6 hours. Six hours is a really long time, but if you wrap your pork butt, it can speed up the cooking process.
Wrapping the meat will combat evaporative cooling, allowing the temperature to increase faster.
The butcher paper or parchment paper can also serve as a makeshift barricade and protect the meat from the intense heat.
Ultimately, it will prevent the meat from having scorched patches and decrease the meat’s chances to dry out.
What Is Butcher Paper?
In short, butcher paper is a kind of kraft paper that’s used to wrap meat.
This thick paper is produced from kraft pulp that’s been treated with caustic soda and sulfide.
It is also treated with sizing agents to inhibit leakage.
Although the treating agents I may have mentioned can seem scary, butcher paper is FDA approved for coming into contact with food.
It is also moisture-resistant, so it is a popular choice for wrapping meat.
Types of Butcher Paper
Like natural gas frills, there are different styles of butcher paper.
However, there are 4 common types of butcher paper: white, pink, peach-treated, and gardenia.
Typically, white butcher paper is used as a table cover or in crafts. White butcher paper is also used to wrap sandwiches and subs since it is uncoated.
Pinch butcher paper or peach paper hides the color of the meat. It is popular among butchers. They use it to wrap brisket as well as other types of meat.
Seasoned barbecuers also use pink butcher paper because it is a breathable material.
In contrast, peach-treated butcher paper looks like pink butcher paper.
However, it is made with a sizing agent that allows the paper to be water-resistant.
It can also preserve fresh meat better than other kinds of butchers.
Gardenia butcher paper is a high-end product. It protects the meat from external moisture. It also enhances fish and poultry products.
What Is Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper or baking paper a paper made from cellulose. It is usually treated with sulfuric acid as well as silicone.
Parchment paper is famous because it is grease-resistant, non-stick, and heat-resistant.
It is usually laid on countertops to create a non-stick workstation or to line baking sheets.
Types of Parchment Paper
The two types of parchment paper include bleached and unbleached parchment paper.
Both types of parchment paper can tolerate temperatures up to 450°F.
Bleached parchment paper is treated with bleach to give it a white color. On the other hand, unbleached parchment paper is not bleached with chlorine.
It has a tan color and costs a bit more than bleached parchment paper.
Bleached and unbleached paper is sold in rolls or pre-cut sheets.
Butcher Paper vs. Parchment Paper
Even though butcher paper and parchment paper are effective for the cooking process, they do not have the same effects.
For example, butcher paper is denser than parchment paper. Therefore, it should be used for heavy-duty meals like smoking pork butt in a pellet smoker.
On the other hand, parchment paper is covered with a silicone layer that is responsible for its non-stick surface.
The parchment paper should be used for baked goods.
Nevertheless, neither butcher nor parchment paper should be mistaken for wax paper. Wax paper is paper that’s coated with a thin layer of paraffin wax.
Never use wax paper when baking. The wax coating could melt and may cause a fire.
Parchment paper is not as breathable as butcher paper.
Parchment paper traps moisture in will butcher paper, allows moisture to escape, and lets the food breathe.
Both parchment and butcher paper are affordable products.
However, you will spend less money on parchment paper than peach or peach-treated butcher paper.
White and brown butcher paper is as cheap as or cheaper than parchment paper.
Nevertheless, if you purchase parchment or butcher paper in bulk, you will save money regardless of which paper you choose.
When it comes to availability, parchment paper is easier to find. You will probably find it in the same aisle as aluminum foil or cling wrap.
On the other hand, you may find butcher paper in larger grocery stores, but it will be harder to find.
If butcher paper is not in the same aisle as parchment paper, it may be best to look in the grilling supply aisle.
You may be able to source butcher paper from your local butcher shop, but if it’s not peach butcher paper, it’s not worth the trouble.
When it comes to versatility, parchment paper beats butcher paper. Parchment paper can be used to line baking sheets and cake pans.
You can even make makeshift muffin liners from parchment paper and use it for steaming vegetables or fish en papillote.
In contrast, butcher paper is limited in its versatility. You can wrap meat or use it to cover kitchen surfaces to protect them from cross-contamination.
But that’s about it; butcher paper can’t be used like parchment paper.
Can You Substitute Butcher Paper for Parchment Paper?
Essentially, whether to use butcher or parchment paper will depend on what you are cooking.
When you are storing cuts of meat or grilling and smoking foods, you can use butcher paper.
On the other hand, parchment paper can be used to line cake pans, baking sheets, and pizza stones.
In addition to this, if you want to retain your food’s moisture levels, parchment paper is best.
Wrapping meat is optional. However, if you decide to wrap your meat, weigh your options carefully.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.