When you buy your meat from a butcher you will most likely get your purchase wrapped in butcher paper. You can wrap items in parchment paper but it is primarily used in baking so the baked goods do not stick to the pan or cookie sheet.
How does this fit into your grilling scenario? First, we’ll look a little closer at the difference between them, then we will see if either one of them are good to use when you are grilling.
What is the Difference Between Butcher Paper and Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper is a much thinner paper that is non-stick in nature because it has been treated with silicone. You can get it unbleached or bleached and it is used to keep foods from sticking while baking or cooking. It is confused sometimes with wax paper but they are entirely different.
Wax paper has been covered with paraffin wax for its non-stick appeal but it cannot be used in the oven as it will melt. Parchment paper comes in small rolls in boxes similar to plastic wrap where it can be torn off as needed or it is also available in convenient pre-cut sheet sizes that you can pull right out of a box.
Parchment paper can be used in grilling (ideas listed below) and it can be used to line a sheet pan so you can cut down on a mess while outdoors. And good news for those who use a George Foreman Grill.
Take a large piece of parchment paper and put it on the grill. Put your meat on the bottom and pull the top piece of parchment paper over meat to sandwich it in. Close the lid, grill as usual, then toss the paper and the mess!
One of my all time favorite uses for parchment paper is pizza on the Big Green Egg. Cornmeal can be tricky to get right but with parchment paper you can easily make this Pepperoni or Pulled Pork Pizzas!
Butcher paper originated from Kraft pulp which makes it a durable and resilient paper that doesn’t tear easily. Its primary use has been to wrap fish and meats that were purchased from a butcher shop.
It is available in white or brown and while it is still used to wrap foods, it is also used in craft projects in hobby shops or art classes in school. It is generally inexpensive and it is sold on a large roll so it can be torn off at just the right length.
Butcher paper cannot be used directly on the grill but it can be used to keep your grilled meats and fish warm. But wait, there is actually something new on the horizon. Check out the newest type of butcher paper and how it is used in grilling.
If you are smoking meats, then butcher paper is a great alternative to using tin foil. For cooking things like my favorite Baby Back Ribs, Pulled Pork or even Brisket, butcher paper is a great alternative.
Peach Paper – The Latest Trend Used in Grilling
If you really want to impress your friends the next time you are grilling a nice brisket, pull out your box of pink butcher paper and wrap the meat so it will stay nice and juicy while you are waiting to serve it.
This procedure was actually used long ago but Aaron Franklin brought it back to life. Franklin knows his way around a grill and has received the highest award possible, the James Beard award, for his unbeatable brisket.
Aaron began wrapping his brisket in a pink/peach colored butcher paper to keep it moist and juicy. Switching from regular white-bleached butcher paper to the pinkish/peach colored paper caught everyone’s attention and grilling enthusiasts joined the trend. “Peach” is just the color of the paper and it is not scented in any way.
Butcher paper is used to stop the meat from cooking any further. Foil stops meat from cooking any further as well but it does keep the food hot so it can actually cook a little bit more while wrapped.
True grilling enthusiasts do use foil to keep their pork ribs warm and this is referred to as the Texas Crutch.
You can find authentic Peach Barbecue Butcher Paper at several places online. Amazon is an easy option and you can get it there relatively inexpensive.
Grilling with Parchment Paper
Grilling mostly involves direct heat giving your meats and seafood that delicious smoky flavor that we love. But parchment paper can deliver a twist on grilled foods when they are wrapped up and then placed on the grill.
Here are a few ideas to try next time you are cooking out.
Grilled Fish in Parchment Paper (Fish en Papillote)
Fish cooked this way ends up being more steamed than grilled but the flavors that you top it with will create a delicious seafood entrée you will cook again and again.
Take a nice piece of your favorite thick white fish – sole, haddock, cod – and place it on a piece of parchment paper. Some people like to place slices of yellow squash and/or zucchini on the bottom and put their fish on top of them.
You can season it any way you like – salt, pepper, dill, lemon juice, a little olive oil – and top it with thin slices of lemon. Pull the parchment paper up and fold it over on top and on the sides so you create an envelope for the fish.
Because the fish is still a delicate item, cook it on the cooler side of your grill for 10 to 12 minutes.
Potatoes or Vegetables on the Grill Using Parchment Paper
This is a cool way to fix and forget your veggies or potatoes while you are getting everything else ready for your cookout.
Take peeled and cubed potatoes, or a mixture of vegetables that are cut into bite- sized pieces and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil then season with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like.
Wrap each bunch of vegetables of potatoes in a bunch so you are making individual packets. Pull the parchment paper up and twist it around on top.
It will take a while to cook, probably about an hour on the cooler side of your grill but the work is already done and your guests can just pick up their veggies when ready.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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Wednesday 7th of July 2021
Thanks to the author for the interesting article. I have a big family and I have to cook a lot. This article helped me find out which paper is better https://allpaperworld.com/wax-paper-vs-parchment-paper-vs-butcher-paper/
Wednesday 27th of January 2021
Good article but incorrect on foil and butcher paper wrap not continuing cooking. During smoking It is used to wrap and continue the cooking process not generally the browning process. Although butcher paper is better for brisket as it will continue to breath and the crust / bark will not turn soft. Foil will generally steam the contents and break it down more quickly, hence wrapping ribs and pork butt is the better way to go.
Wednesday 10th of June 2020
I was wondering how your analysis falls on smoking meats, like brisket for instance. I’ve seen Tubers that wrap in butcher paper to get past the thermal stall and push up to 200F in the paper. I don’t do enough smoking to buy a whole roll of butcher paper but I have parchment on hand.
Thanks from a fellow engineer and Dad of 2!
Thursday 11th of June 2020
I don't think I would use parchment paper to wrap brisket but another option would be tin foil. While you can skip wrapping the meat all together I recommend wrapping once it hits 155-160 degrees. What happens when you don't wrap it is the length of time that it stalls tends to be much greater. I've had brisket stall anywhere from 30 minutes to almost 2 hours when it isn't wrapped, and that is okay as it wont dry it out or ruin it or anything. In my opinion, the big pro for wrapping the meat around 160 degrees helps push it right through the stall which gives me a more accurate finish time that I can plan on. I do the same thing when making ribs or even a Boston butt. Also, if your meat ends up done too soon you can wrap it in 3 - 4 bath or beach towels (in tin foil) and place it in cooler by itself. This will keep the meat piping hot for up to 4-5 hours in which it will still be perfect to eat. If you have a BGE or Kamado style grill, save that parchment paper to cook pizza on which will avoid any sticking transferring it from the pizza peel to the pizza stone. Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck on that brisket!