How to Use Peach Butcher Paper

Peach butcher paper has evolved from paper your local butcher wraps your meat order into a must-have BBQ accessory. Peach butcher paper resists heat up to 450°F. With leak protection to stay strong when wet, it holds in moisture and heat while allowing steam to escape, preserving that flavourful bark you want. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly what peach butcher paper is, what it’s used for and why it’s a such a popular alternative to foil.

What is peach butcher paper?

Pink or peach butcher paper is made from virgin pulp paper. It’s FDA-approved, 100% food grade, thick and robust paper with added sizing for increased strength when wet. This means you can wrap raw meat with it, use it in your smoker while cooking, and it won’t fall apart or leak.

Why is it called peach butcher paper?

Peach refers to the colour of the paper and not any kind of peach content or flavouring. The pink or peach colour indicates a natural base, unlike the bleached white butcher’s paper.

Why do we wrap barbecue meats?

Wrapping meat helps to keep it tender and juicy. Pitmasters usually wrap meats toward the end of their cook to protect the meat from losing moisture while cooking and when resting. It can be used to get past the stall or to retard any further darkening of the crust if the cook has gone more quickly than expected.

What do you use peach butcher paper for?

Peach butcher paper is a versatile accessory that can be useful for just about every step of your cook. You can wrap your meat in peach butcher paper while brining in the refrigerator. It works great as a prep surface while smoking and after cooking to preserve the warmth and tenderness while the meat rests. Fold it into a pouch with seasonings to steam delicate meats like fish and other seafood. Serve your meal on a sheet of butcher paper, shape it into a cone to serve fries or wings and wrap leftovers to send home with your guests.

Does smoke get through butcher paper?

Yes. Unlike wrapping meat with aluminium foil when smoking [aka Texas crutch], butcher paper is permeable. Smoke infusion continues, and the bark is preserved. When wrapped in foil, smoke can no longer reach the meat. In addition, heat and moisture cannot escape, which can result in beef that’s too moist without the texture and crispy bark you want. Additionally, foil traps heat and reflects it back onto the meat, accelerating your cooking time and increasing internal temps. Because paper allows the steam to escape, the exterior of the meat doesn’t get soggy. And since it doesn’t reflect heat like foil, you don’t have to compensate for drastic changes in cooking time.

How do you smoke a brisket with peach paper?

Wrap your brisket in peach butcher paper about three-quarters of the way through the cook. It retains moisture to help get it through the stall. The stall happens when smoking a brisket at low temperatures over a long period of time. The internal temperature of the meat peaks between 150°F and 170°F and then plateaus for a few hours as a direct result of moisture evaporating from the surface of the meat. Since peach butcher paper retains moisture, it can prevent the stall or shorten its duration.

You can, of course, smoke a brisket without wrapping it. When smoking a brisket for 12 to 14 hours without wrapping it, you need to maintain a very clean fire with minimal smoke. Too much smoke can ruin a perfectly good brisket.

Do pit masters and pros use peach butcher paper?

Many pit masters use peach butcher paper to retain moisture during the last stages of cooking to keep it tender. Some use it to help get past the stall when smoking meat, especially brisket. Wrapping your meat late also helps to retain heat as the meat nears the end of the cook and while resting. When wrapped loosely, the fibreed paper allows the meat to breathe better than foil, which does not breathe and tends to be wrapped too tightly.

We asked some of our American pros about using peach butcher paper. Here’s what they had to say.

Wrap or no wrap? When do you wrap meat & why? What types of meat do you wrap?

Hondo Hernandez: Absolutely wrap. I always wrap to colour...but some guys wrap to temp. When pork gets that nice deep mahogany, it’s time to wrap. As for brisket, I want a dark robust bark.

Jim Stancil: I try not to wrap if possible. If I do, it’s for the last 25% of the cook. Mainly to maintain that moisture, not to help speed up that cook. And it can apply to most of the longer BBQ cooks like brisket pork butts or maybe ribs.

Chiles Cridlin: Wrap, wrap and wrap some more! Whether it’s paper or aluminium foil (the Texas Crutch), there is no reason not to wrap once your meat hits about 150 degrees. At that temperature, you will not develop any more of a smoke ring, and the exterior colour should be perfect for presentation. If you wrap before you get to the stall (about 160 degrees), you keep more moisture inside the meat and speed up your cook time. I find no downside to wrapping.

Enrico Pasquale: This one is a tough question, to be honest for me. If I am at a competition, I will always wrap my meat to add more flavour in there. When I am at home cooking for the family, we will cook it Texas-style just the rub and smoke to make the beautiful bark.

Tommy Self: In competition, wrapping is a must in order to keep the meat moist. I give my pork and brisket a good 3-4 hour smoke before wrapping. Most times, both meats are about 160-170 degrees internal temp. When wrapping, I do not pour the mixture over the bark created from the smoke as I do not want it to wash away.

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