Smoking brisket is an art.
While the basics are relatively simple, there are many steps in creating a tender, smoky brisket.
For some, this means spending hours over hot coals.
But for others, it means throwing the brisket into the smoker with nothing but salt and pepper.
The real secret to smoking meat (beef or otherwise) is allowing it to absorb the flavors of the wood, herbs, and spices in the smoker box.
Because this process takes time, many cooks turn to a butcher paper wrap when smoking meats to speed up cooking times.
However, not any type of paper wrap will do.
Butcher paper is typically used, but several substitutes can be made at home and work great for smoking purposes.
Read on to learn how to make the best substitutes for butcher paper.
What is Butcher Paper?
First used by butchers in the 1950s, butcher paper (also known as meat paper) is a large-format specialty wrapping paper applied with glue.
Butcher paper is mainly used to line foodservice display cases, cover concrete floors, and protect tables during messy tasks like cake decorating or moving pastries.
You can buy it in different thicknesses and strengths, including a heavyweight variety that does not tear easily.
Butcher paper can also help keep food fresh by sealing in moisture, which is helpful when transporting products to grocery store floors or restaurant display cases.
Butcher paper is available in rolls, sheets, or bags.
It can be easily cut to size with a utility knife, making it easy to wrap things like sub sandwiches and sushi rolls.
People also use butcher paper as gift wrap, especially when giving away food items.
Its low cost and versatility make butcher paper a popular choice for many reasons.
It’s disposable, so it can be thrown away after use, which is a good option when creating displays that will only be used temporarily.
Butcher paper is also tough enough to protect products from damage during transport or storage.
Its moisture-resistant properties make this type of paper a helpful solution for sticky situations like dough decorating.
The 4 Best Substitutes for Butcher Paper
Butcher paper is a versatile material commonly used in the culinary world for wrapping meats, smoking, and storing food.
However, if you find yourself without butcher paper or looking for alternative options, there are several substitutes available.
In this guide, we will compare the top 4 substitutes for butcher paper, discussing their key characteristics and suggesting proper ratios to help you achieve similar results.
|Substitute||Key Characteristics||Proper Ratio|
|Aluminum Foil||Durable, heat-conductive material; provides excellent moisture retention and protection from direct heat||Use the same amount of aluminum foil as you would with butcher paper, ensuring proper wrapping|
|Wax Paper||Coated with a thin layer of wax for moisture resistance; suitable for short-term storage and non-direct heat applications||Use the same amount of wax paper as you would with butcher paper, ensuring proper wrapping|
|Parchment Paper||Silicone-coated paper with non-stick properties; withstands moderate heat and allows for even cooking||Use the same amount of parchment paper as you would with butcher paper, ensuring proper wrapping|
|Kitchen Towels||Absorbent fabric that can wrap and protect food; suitable for short-term storage and absorbing excess moisture||Wrap the food in 2-3 layers of kitchen towels, ensuring secure wrapping and proper moisture control|
Now let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:
1 – Aluminum Foil
Positioning aluminum foil at the top of this list is understandable.
Aluminum foil is incredibly helpful in wrapping foods for cooking, baking, freezing, and reheating.
It can also be stored with regular food items like cereal or chips.
Aluminum foil is flexible and durable.
This means it’s both easy to pack up leftovers and easy to fold into tightly-packed storage containers.
In addition, aluminum foil doesn’t tear or rip easily.
You can use it repeatedly without worrying about replacing it shortly.
Aluminum foil is a standard in any kitchen because of its durability and flexibility.
It’s a better option than butcher paper in most situations, so you’ll rarely have a reason to use this wrap.
- Key Characteristics: Aluminum foil is a durable, heat-conductive material that provides excellent moisture retention and protection from direct heat. It is commonly used for grilling, baking, and smoking.
- Proper Ratio: Use the same amount of aluminum foil as you would with butcher paper, ensuring proper wrapping to seal in moisture and protect the food during cooking.
2 – Wax Paper
Wax paper is another great option for replacing butcher paper.
It’s also incredibly affordable, which makes it an attractive option for those working on a budget or needing to restock their supply frequently.
At the same time, wax paper can be hard to cut.
It’s essential to place it on a smooth work surface before cutting.
In addition, you should use a sharp knife or box cutter when doing so.
Why? Dull blades may cause the wax paper to tear or rip.
In terms of appearance and design, wax paper is usually white with blue lines going across it at regular intervals.
It’s also available in brown if you’re aiming for a more natural design.
As far as thickness, wax paper is thin but not dense like butcher paper.
- Key Characteristics: Wax paper is coated with a thin layer of wax, making it resistant to moisture. It is suitable for short-term storage and non-direct heat applications such as wrapping sandwiches or lining baking sheets.
- Proper Ratio: Use the same amount of wax paper as you would with butcher paper, ensuring proper wrapping and securely sealing the food.
3 – Parchment Paper
The final alternative to butcher paper is parchment paper.
In fact, it’s a more popular choice than butcher paper because of its low cost and ease of use.
It can be used without additional preparation or tools, so it’s really simple to utilize.
The best thing about parchment paper is its flexibility.
It’s a great substitute for butcher paper because it’s thin and pliable, which makes it perfect for wrapping things like sandwiches or sushi rolls.
At the same time, you can also use parchment paper as a baking sheet liner or to line cooking pans.
Since this is oven-safe, you don’t have to worry about using it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Best of all, parchment paper comes in several colors, so you can pick whichever one best fits your needs.
- Key Characteristics: Parchment paper is silicone-coated and has non-stick properties. It can withstand moderate heat and allows for even cooking. It is commonly used for baking and roasting.
- Proper Ratio: Use the same amount of parchment paper as you would with butcher paper, ensuring proper wrapping and securely sealing the food to retain moisture.
4 – Kitchen Towels
Kitchen towels are another great option for replacing butcher paper.
They’re not as common as parchment paper, but they work just as well.
Kitchen towels are ideal for gift wrapping, cooking, and baking.
If you’re using the kitchen towel to gift wrap a food item like a pie or cake, make sure that it completely covers your product and then twist and tie it shut with some pretty ribbon (if necessary).
When it comes to cooking and baking, kitchen towels are ideal for covering dishes while they’re in the oven.
There are several things to consider when it comes to kitchen towels, including which side of them is more absorbent and how well you can clean them.
In terms of absorbency, you should always choose a towel with a directional design to know which side is better suited for absorbing liquids.
As far as cleaning is concerned, you should buy a towel with some stretch and durability.
If the kitchen towels are too flimsy, they can tear from wear and repeated use.
In addition, make sure to choose a towel with a design you really like because you’ll be looking at it all day long.
- Key Characteristics: Kitchen towels are absorbent fabric that can be used to wrap and protect food. They are suitable for short-term storage and can help absorb excess moisture from the food.
- Proper Ratio: Wrap the food in 2-3 layers of kitchen towels, ensuring secure wrapping and proper moisture control. Use twine or rubber bands to secure the towels around the food.
Butcher paper isn’t the best option for most people because it’s not flexible.
Wax paper and parchment paper are also difficult to cut with regular knives, so you should choose something more durable, like aluminum foil or kitchen towels.
In most cases, parchment paper is the easiest choice because of its low cost and flexibility.
It can be used for gift wrapping, cooking, and baking purposes.
Kitchen towels are also a great alternative to butcher paper because they have a directional absorbency design and come in several colors to choose from.