What is Butcher Paper?
Butcher’s paper is a professional FDA-approved, food grade thick sheet paper designed for meat wrapping, cooking and storage. Also known as peach paper, BBQ paper, smoking paper and freezer paper, the sheet is specially engineered for strength and moisture retention.
Butcher Paper for Preparation and Storage
When storing meat in a fridge or freezer butcher paper acts as a protective barrier which can easily be wrapped to cover exposed surfaces. Wrapping prevents the loss of excess moisture which helps retain meat’s color and extends preservation. Butcher paper is easy to apply and peel away, the sheet does not stick to or tear meats as other alternatives would.
Butcher Paper Additional Uses
Butcher paper can act as a multi-functional sheet, highly useful for kitchen usage in other applications such as, a tray liner, wrapping sandwiches and burritos, packaging burgers and meats, deli sales or creating a food display. The durability and smart appearance also make butcher paper applicable for wrapping gifts, table liners, posters, banners and arts and crafts.
Butcher Paper for Barbecue
Butcher paper is especially useful for barbecue, used to wrap meat which prevents it from drying out and suits large cuts which receive long slow cooking such as spare ribs, brisket, beef chuck or pork butt.
When barbecuing there are three main options; bare meat, aluminum foil or butchers paper. Each of the three methods has its own benefits and will depend on the kind of barbecue you’re looking to achieve.
Bare meat (unwrapped) is a popular method for barbecue purists as it provides powerful flavours of smoke with the development of bark (the crust on the outside of the meat). This being said unwrapped meat is prone to drying out as there is no retention of moisture, wrapping paper solves this problem. The other two methods of barbecue are forms of wrapping, either in aluminum foil or butcher’s paper.
Butchers Paper vs. Aluminum Foil
Butcher paper and aluminum foil are both common methods of preparation for barbecue used as insulators when cooking. After testing we have found that butcher paper is superior for a number of reasons.
|Butcher paper is made from thick specially designed sheets which will hold shape during cooking. Aluminum foil in comparison is often thin and has a tendency to tear easily especially against the metal of a barbecue. Tearing means the meat needs to be re wrapped, can be messy and cause the delicious cooking juices to be lost.|
|The design of butcher paper allows the meat to breathe. Butcher’s paper allows the flow of air which releases excess steam while taking in the barbecue smoke to create smoked characteristics. The breathability also allows the development of bark as the heat passes through the paper.|
Smoke and Bark Development
|Butcher paper and aluminum foil both act as insulators for the meat but foil can be too strong an insulator that it prevents the smoke from permeating the meat. The fat and juices which render during cooking are trapped within the aluminum foil which creates the desired braising effect but can cause too moist an environment preventing the crust/bark development.|
|A benefit of both butcher’s paper and aluminum foil is the decrease in cooking time. As the wrapping insulates the meat, braising it in its own juices which further develops flavor and prevents it from drying out.|
A classic pit-master technique for cooking ribs is the 3-2-1 method.
This represents 3 hours cooking unwrapped, 2 hours wrapped, then a final 1 hour unwrapped. Our recipe utilizes butcher’s paper to create the perfect tender smoky barbecue rib meat.
Servings: 1 rack spare-ribs
Two sheets of Butchers paper, four times the length of the ribs
Prep 15 mins
Cook 5 hours
Rest 1 hour
|Barbecue Rub Spice Blend|
|3 tbsp||brown sugar|
|1 tsp||ground cumin|
|1 tbsp||onion powder|
|1 tbsp||garlic powder|
|1 tbsp||mustard powder|
|2 tbsp||ground black pepper|
|2 tbsp||smoked paprika|
|200ml||apple cider vinegar|
|100g||unsalted butter, sliced|
- Light the barbecue to 240 with your choice of wood or charcoal and preheat.
- Prepare the ribs by removing the membrane from the ribs and trim any excess areas of meat.
- Apply two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the meat then coat in preferred barbecue rub. Above is a recipe for a classic barbecue blend which can then be transferred to a spice shaker and applied liberally to the meat.
- Place the seasoned ribs directly into the preheated barbecue and cook for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes open the lid of the barbecue and spritz the ribs with apple cider vinegar. The spritz allows more smoke to stick to the meat and develops a crust by creating a cold surface on the exterior of the ribs. Repeat this process at 30 minute intervals.
- After 3 hours total the ribs should be a deep dark colour, at this stage remove the meat from the barbecue to wrap.
- Onto a workstation place one sheet of butcher’s paper vertically and then a second sheet of paper horizontally at the middle. Place 100g brown sugar and 100g butter into the centre of the paper as a base for the ribs, then top with the ribs and spritz with apple cider vinegar.
- Fold from the bottom of the vertical sheet of paper in towards the ribs and pull tightly, tucking in at the edge.
- Then fold from the right end of the horizontal sheet, again into the ribs to cover and compress. Smooth out the paper so that the ribs are tightly wrapped without air pockets.
Next fold in the top end of the vertical sheet and finally fold in the left horizontal sheet. The butcher’s paper should fit to the shape of the ribs.
- Place the wrapped ribs back into the barbecue fold-side down and cook for 1.5 – 2 hours more. The weight of the meat will prevent the butcher’s paper from opening during cooking.
- Remove the ribs from the barbecue and allow to rest for 1 hour. At this stage you can follow the traditional method and return the ribs to the barbecue for one hour but we’ve found that resting produces a juicier tender meat.
- Open up the butcher’s paper to reveal smoky tender ribs, carve and serve.