What is Pink Butcher Paper? (And Why You Should Use It)

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If you want to know what pink butcher paper is, you’ve come to the right place! In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you will learn:

  • What pink butcher paper is
  • Pink butcher paper vs aluminum foil
  • And much more!
what is pink butcher paper

Pink butcher paper is a fantastic alternative to aluminum foil, thanks to its versatility in wrapping, grilling, and smoking meat.  

For centuries the French have been wrapping food prior to cooking. This method is called “en papillote” and traditionally means that food is folded into a pouch and baked. It was previously most often done using parchment paper, but the use of pink butcher paper and aluminum foil have grown in popularity.  

Seasonings, butter or oil, sauce, and vegetables are often folded into the pouch with the protein. Pink butcher paper can be used while baking, grilling, or smoking meat. It is most often utilized for slow-smoking. It is becoming somewhat of a trend with self-proclaimed pitmasters. 

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What is Pink Butcher Paper? 

Pink butcher paper is a thick, food-grade paper made from virgin Southern pine pulp.

It is FDA-approved for its use in food preparation and cooking. It was traditionally used by butchers to wrap meat before sale, but because of its ability to retain moisture without becoming mushy, it can be used throughout the cooking process as well. 

Pink butcher paper has added “sizing”, which is an internal treatment that increases the strength of the paper when it encounters moisture. This means that the liquid from raw meat will not turn the paper soggy. 

Pink butcher paper is pink because it is not bleached, like traditional butcher paper. It retains a more natural color that is often referred to as “peach paper” as well, even though it does not contain any peach flavor, which can be misleading. 

Be careful not to confuse pink butcher paper with freezer paper or white butcher paper. They have very different qualities and should be used for different things. As opposed to the white variety, pink butcher paper is unbleached, while freezer paper has a plastic film on one side that is unable to withstand high heat.  

Why Use Pink Butcher Paper Instead of Aluminum Foil? 

 There are several reasons why wrapping your meat in pink butcher paper is a better choice than aluminum foil. For starters, foil creates an environment that is heat-reflective and sealed. This means that moisture is unable to escape while cooking. This can cause your meat to become over-steamed.  Over-steaming causes the meat to become mushy, as opposed to tender. 

Pink butcher paper cannot be wrapped as tightly as foil and is more breathable. This allows some of the steamy moisture to escape, but it also ensures that your meat retains enough moisture to keep it juicy and tender.  

The paper is also porous enough to let the good smoky flavor in as some of the moisture escapes. This is an added benefit if you are smoking or grilling your meat with flavored pellets or charcoal. You want that good flavor to infuse into your food as it cooks, and pink butcher paper will allow that to happen.   

Paper is not heat-reflective, so you don’t have to change your cooking time as you would when using foil. Heat stays more consistent within the paper wrapping than it does inside aluminum foil. 

Why Did Pink Butcher Paper Gain Popularity? 

Grilling and barbecuing often follow the latest trends, especially with the growth of social media. Award-winning chef Aaron Franklin is a popular barbecue expert who is known for using pink butcher paper in his restaurant, FranklinBBQ.  

Franklin teaches classes about barbecuing and uses the paper in the video trailers for his classes. Because of his restaurant’s success, more grillmasters and even beginners are trying to follow his methods when it comes to meat preparation.  

He wraps his famous brisket in pink butcher paper and many enthusiasts try to replicate his barbecue. President Obama and Anthony Bourdain have raved about Aaron Franklin’s brisket, lending to its popularity. 

Should the Meat Be Wrapped Prior to Cooking, or Later in the Process? 

When utilizing paper to wrap your meat, you should consider what cut of meat you are cooking and what you are hoping to achieve with the use of wrapping. For instance, brisket is most often wrapped toward the end of the cooking process to ensure that the meat develops a nice crust, but still retains its moisture. 

Wrapping beef ribs for slow-smoking can allow that nice brown crust to develop, but the meat to still fall easily off the bone. 

Some grillmasters wrap when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165- degrees Fahrenheit, while others wrap based on the appearance of the crust or bark. 

Wrapped meat cooks faster and still allows the meat to breathe. Wrapping ribs or brisket can help prevent the crust from becoming too dark. On the other hand, if you wrap too early it may prevent a crust from forming at all. Timing seems to be the key to successfully wrapping using pink butcher paper. 

Cooking “en papillote” is great for steaming fish or seafood with vegetables. It helps protect the delicate meat from overcooking or over-steaming. 

Are There Other Uses for Pink Butcher Paper? 

You can wrap your meat in pink butcher paper while dry brining. Just wrap the brined meat and place in the refrigerator.  

Along with using it while cooking, you can also use pink butcher paper to wrap meat after cooking, but before serving. This will help to keep the meat warm and tender.  

It can also lend to the presentation of the meal. Try folding it into a cone and using it to serve fries or wings! You can even use it to cover a table for easy cleanup, or to wrap leftovers you might send home with guests.  

Where Can I Buy Pink Butcher Paper? 

Due to its rising trendiness, you can find pink butcher paper in most grocery stores and specialty BBQ stores. It is also available on Amazon and many niche BBQ websites.  

When browsing be sure not to mistakenly purchase steak paper instead, as it is much thicker, less breathable, and will not have the same good results when used for cooking. 

Final Thoughts on Butcher Paper

Pink butcher paper, or peach paper, is a growing trend for good reason. It is versatile and can lend to the success of your meal preparation and presentation.  

It is a fantastic alternative to aluminum foil due to its breathability and temperature consistency. 

Pink butcher paper is becoming more popular as well-known barbecue enthusiasts promote its use on social media and even some, in their restaurants.  

It can be used toward the end of the smoking process to ensure that your meat develops and maintains a good crust, while keeping its smoky flavor. 

It can be used to steam delicate meats such as fish and seafood, along with accompanying vegetables.  

Pink butcher paper can be used to wrap meat during the rest period between cooking and serving, because it ensures that the meat remains warm and moist.  

It can be used to cover a table or used as part of the presentation of the meal. It can be coned to serve sides with an artistic flair, or used to keep leftovers warm on the ride home. 

It is easy to find and purchase and is very budget-friendly.  

Pink butcher paper is a welcome addition to every grillmaster’s collection. Try wrapping your brisket and see how close it comes to chef Aaron Franklin, or wow your guests with your perfectly-crusted beef ribs! 

Hayley Schneider

Hayley Schneider

Hey y'all, I'm Hayley. I'm a former bar manager and bartender. I have a passion for writing about my life and the things I love. I am a self-proclaimed "foodie", and love my red meat. I will always take a good beer over a glass of wine. You can find me wrestling my 5 children in the backyard, playing with our 8 rescue pups and tending to a new flock of chickens and our garden. We love grilling in our household, and we are always trying to find new recipes and flavors. We love yard games and playing barefoot in the grass.

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