Cooking a brisket to perfection is no easy feat. It requires low and slow cooking, careful temperature control, and a good understanding of the cut of meat itself. One technique that many barbecue experts swear by is wrapping the brisket in butcher paper during the cooking process. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what butcher paper is, why it’s a popular choice for cooking brisket, and what some experts have to say about this technique.
Butcher paper, also known as Kraft paper or pink paper, is a type of lightweight paper that is popular in the barbecue world for wrapping and packaging meat. It is made from unbleached, untreated wood pulp and does not contain waxes or resins like other types of food wrapping paper. Barbecue experts recommend using butcher paper for brisket because it helps to keep the meat moist, allows it to cook evenly, and enhances the smoke flavor of the brisket. Some barbecue experts also prefer using butcher paper to foil because it allows the meat to “breathe” more during the cooking process.
- Butcher paper is a type of lightweight paper that is often used in the meat industry for wrapping and packaging fresh cuts of meat
- It is made from unbleached, untreated wood pulp and is free of waxes and resins that can be found in other types of food wrapping paper
- Using butcher paper for brisket can help to keep the meat moist and allows it to cook evenly, resulting in a tender and flavorful final product
- It can also enhance the smoke flavor of the brisket
So why do I recommend using butcher paper for brisket? There are a few key benefits to this technique:
- It helps to keep the meat moist: When you’re cooking a brisket, the moisture that’s naturally present in the meat can escape through the surface of the meat. Wrapping the brisket in butcher paper helps to hold in some of that moisture, which can prevent the meat from drying out.
- It allows the meat to cook evenly: Wrapping the brisket in butcher paper can help to insulate it, which can result in a more even cook. This is especially useful if you’re cooking your brisket on a grill or smoker, where there can be hot spots and uneven temperatures.
- It enhances the smoke flavor: Some barbecue experts like to use foil to wrap meat during the cooking process, but I prefer butcher paper because it allows the meat to “breathe” more. This can help to enhance the smoke flavor of the brisket, which leads to a more delicious final product.
The Best Butcher Paper Products
There are dozens of suitable butcher papers on the market. I researched all the best brands and all the most popular papers on the market and put together a table. The price varies, and the products differ in quality. Thankfully, there are many brands to choose from, as paper has become more popular.
|Bryco Goods||175 Ft||18”||19.5 k+ Plus Reviews (Amazon Bestseller)||$16||Amazon|
|Bryco Goods||175 Ft||24”||7k plus Amazon reviews||$22||Amazon|
|Meat Hugger||175 Ft||17.25”||11.5k plus Amazon reviews||$20||Amazon|
|Reynolds||225 sq. Ft||20”||4.6k plus Amazon reviews||$30||Amazon|
|ABCO||1000ft||24”||Used at Franklin’s and Kreuz||Check||ABCO Paper|
|DIY Crew||200ft||24”||2k plus Amazon reviews||$25||Amazon|
|Reli||350 ft||18”||200 plus Amazon reviews||Check||Amazon|
|Tenderlicious||175ft||24”||8k plus Amazon reviews||$25||Amazon|
|YRYM||175 ft||18”||1300 plus Amazon reviews (Amazon Choice)||$15||Amazon|
What the Experts Say
Butcher paper for brisket is a popular choice among barbecue pitmasters and experts for cooking this cut of meat. It helps to keep the brisket moist and allows it to cook evenly, resulting in a tender and flavorful final product. Here’s what some experts have to say about using butcher paper for brisket:
“I always wrap my brisket in butcher paper when I’m cooking it low and slow. It helps to keep the meat moist and allows it to finish cooking without drying out.”– Myron Mixon, pitmaster and owner of Jack’s Old South BBQ in Unadilla, Georgia
“I find that wrapping a brisket in butcher paper helps it to cook more evenly and retain more moisture. It’s a great way to get a tender, flavorful final product.”– Adam Perry Lang, chef and barbecue expert
What Butcher Paper Does Aaron Franklin Use?
At one point, I know Aaron Franklin was using the ABCO paper company to supply the butcher paper for Franklin’s BBQ restaurants. ABCO sells large 24-inch rolls of 100% FDA approved paper. It can be used as a tray liner, or for deli meats. The cost varies, so you need to contact ABCO directly for a quote. For the backyard cook, ABCO may not be suitable. I would only recommend this company for competition cooks, catering companies or restaurant owners. However, if you like to buy things in bulk, check out ABCO.
“Brisket, I like to cook it low and slow, wrapped in butcher paper. It comes out juicy and tender every time.”– Aaron Franklin, pitmaster and owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas
What Size Paper For Brisket?
It’s more economical to buy a wider roll of butcher paper. Butcher paper is usually sold in 18-inch width or 24-inch width. The 24-inch width is wide enough to wrap a whole brisket, whereas, with an 18-inch, you need to lay two sheets outside by side. So although an 18-inch roll may be more affordable, you may go through more.
“Wrapping a brisket in foil or butcher paper can be a great way to keep it moist and tender during the cooking process. I prefer butcher paper because it allows the meat to breathe, which can help to enhance the smoke flavor.”– Chris Lilly, pitmaster and owner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama
What Kind of Butcher Paper For Brisket?
It’s important to buy the correct wrapping paper for brisket. Make sure you buy food-grade, FDA-approved paper. Craft paper is not suitable for cooking brisket. The FDA-approved craft paper or traditional butcher paper is okay for wrapping raw meat, but cooking is another matter. Parchment paper is not suitable for wrapping briskets because it contains wax. Parchment paper is heat resistant, and it contains silicon, which is not what you want when wrapping brisket.
Can I Use White Butcher Paper For Brisket?
The correct butcher paper for wrapping brisket is usually pink or peach, but some products are white. Just make sure it is not the traditional white butcher paper you see your butcher wrapping cold, raw meat. Although this craft paper is FDA-approved to hold raw meat, this paper is not appropriate for cooking brisket.
“Wrapping your brisket in butcher paper can help it cook more evenly and retain more moisture, which leads to a more tender and flavorful final product.”– John Markus, barbecue expert and host of “BBQ Pitmasters”
How To Wrap Brisket In Butcher Paper–Step By Step
- If you have an 18-inch roll of butcher paper, lay out two sheets. Sit your brisket on the paper, fat side facing upwards.
- Wrap the brisket tightly with two layers, and make sure it’s tight so no moisture or heat can escape.
- Fold the corners so it tucks in around the point and the flat of the brisket.
- Insert the thermometer probe back into the brisket before putting the meat back in your smoker.
Add Beef Tallow Before Wrapping
Another tip is to pour beef tallow onto the brisket just before wrapping the tallow onto the bottom of the butcher paper and place the brisket on top. This will give the brisket an enormous flavor boost, plus it will help keep the meat moist for the rest of the cook. Tallow is easy to make with beef fat. I’ve written a full article on the subject; you can check it out here: Beef Tallow On Brisket.
How Many Layers Of Butcher Paper For Brisket?
It’s best to use two layers of butcher paper to wrap brisket. Lay two sheets side by side, placing the brisket in the middle. Fold the corners to fit tightly around the brisket flat, and repeat around the brisket point. You want to ensure no moisture or heat escapes from the wrapped brisket. The idea of wrapping is to retain all the moisture and trap the heat, so it cooks faster. If you buy a roll that is 24-inches wide, you may get away with one layer of paper. However, you will find most rolls are 18 inches wide.
“I think wrapping a brisket in butcher paper is the way to go. It helps to hold in all of the juices and smoke, resulting in a tender, flavorful final product.”– Tim Love, celebrity chef and owner of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas
Why Wrap Brisket?
Wrapping your brisket will do several things. First, it protects the brisket from overcooking and having the edges charred. The last thing you want is a dry brisket, and wrapping will help the brisket remain moist. Also, wrapping helps cook the brisket faster. As you would know, brisket is a marathon effort, taking anywhere from 10 to 18 hours total cook time. Usually, pitmasters will leave the brisket unwrapped for the first stage, but then wrap the maid for the second half of the cook.
Wrapping Will Speed Up The Cook
The paper will trap steam inside the package, which will help the brisket cook faster and retain moisture. Trapping the heat inside the package will also enable the brisket to cook faster—especially through the stall.
“Wrapping a brisket in butcher paper allows it to cook evenly and helps to keep it moist. I find that it results in a more tender and flavorful final product.”– Tootsie Tomanetz, pitmaster at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas
Wrapping Helps Push Through The Stall
A brisket will stall in the later part of the cook. This occurs when the meat sweats, which has a cooling effect on the brisket and therefore will bring the cook to a halt. The best way to power through the stall is to wrap the brisket. The brisket will usually stall at about 150° F to 160° F. Often, the brisket will be moving along nicely, on its way to the 203° F, the ideal done temperature, but will stall at around about 160° F. It may remain there for hours. The best way to push through the stall is to increase the temperature of your smoker and wrap your brisket.
“I wrap my brisket in butcher paper about halfway through the cook. This helps to keep it moist and lets it finish cooking without drying out.”– Wayne Mueller, pitmaster at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas
Why Use Butcher Paper On Brisket?
You can leave your brisket naked for the entire cook; however, it may dry out and will take much longer. As it is, a brisket will take 10, 12, 15 hours, or even longer. If you leave the brisket unwrapped, expect it to take two more hours.
Paper Or Foil?
It’s most common to wrap brisket in aluminum foil; however, butcher paper has become a trend. Thanks to Aaron Franklin, and other barbecue gurus, everyone wants to try a paper. It is well known that a paper-wrapped brisket will have a better bark. A foil-wrapped brisket has a softer bark because the foil traps all the moisture. Butcher paper allows the meat to breathe, trapping less steam, meaning the bark is preserved.
Butcher Paper Or Parchment Paper For Brisket?
Make sure you use the right type of butcher paper rather than parchment paper or wax baking paper. The heat-proof baking paper or wax paper contains silicon, which is not good for your brisket. Make sure you buy approved FDA butcher paper that is heat proof rather than parchment paper.
Can I Use Waxed Butcher Paper For Brisket?
Parchment paper, wax paper, or baking paper are not suitable for smoking brisket. We use this type of paper for baking and lining trays, but this paper contains silicon; therefore, it’s not recommended.
When To Wrap Brisket In Butcher Paper?
Timing is everything. You don’t want to wrap your brisket too soon, but you also don’t want to leave it too late. Brisket is cooked in two stages; unwrapped, then wrapped. The first stage of the cook is all about developing the flavor and the bark. Let he brisket absorb smoke for the first 5 to 7 hours, just absorbing the smoke. During this time, the outer layer of the meat will harden and form what we know and love as the bark. If you wrap the brisket too soon, the bark won’t develop, and there will be less smoke flavor on the meat.
The ideal time to wrap brisket is once the internal temperature is between 150° F and 170° F. However, do not go by temperature alone. Look at the brisket and go by color and touch. After 6 or 7 hours, the brisket should have developed a nice dark color. It should look like a black meteorite when it reaches the wrapping stage.
Wrapping too soon will cause the brisket to have a soft, soggy bark. You want the rub to fuse to the meat and become part of the bark. If you wrap the brisket too early, the bark will fall off. Periodically touch the brisket, and if any of the rub comes off on your finger, it’s not set. Once the rub does not stick to your finger when you touch it, the bark is set, and the brisket is safe to wrap.
What Temp To Wrap Brisket In Butcher Paper?
No two briskets are the same, and no two pitmasters run their pits the same way. The internal temperature will depend on your smoking temperature and your techniques, such as spritzing or mopping.
Generally, the best time to wrap brisket is around 160° F. Usually, the brisket at this temperature has developed bark, and it is close to stalling. However, if the bark isn’t ready until 170° F, then that is when it’s ready. Don’t go by temperature alone; learn to know what to look for, and make your judgment based on the look and feel of the brisket rather than time and internal meat temperature.
As you can see, there is a consensus among these experts that using butcher paper for brisket is a great way to ensure a tender and flavorful final product. If you’re looking to cook a delicious brisket, consider giving this method a try!