Pink Butcher Paper: What Is It & When To Use It!

Butcher Paper

What is Pink Butcher Paper?

Pink butcher paper, also know as peach paper, is a durable, tear resistant food safe paper. It comes in large rolls and has many uses from wrapping meat for storage to wrapping meat when cooking. Unlike other types of paper, pink butcher paper doesn’t contain chemicals or wax making it safe for use when smoking or cooking meat.

Butcher paper has become increasingly popular in the meat smoking community thanks to Aaron Franklin, one of the most notable Pitmasters today. Used as a “Texas Crutch”, pink butcher paper is commonly used because of its great qualities.


The biggest draw to Pink butcher paper is its durableness. It much stronger than other types of paper and won’t tear even when it absorbs moisture. This makes it great for smoking meat because it stays it tact when absorbing fat renderings and moisture during cooking.

Pink butcher paper gets its durableness because it is made using the Kraft process. The Kraft process starts by using wood chips and breaking them down into a wood pulp. That wood pulp is then used to make the butcher paper. Because the Kraft process doesn’t completely break down the wood, it keeps some of its strength.

Wax Free

A lot of papers used with food get their durableness from wax or other chemical coatings; however, you cannot cook using those papers because the wax will melt, and chemicals can leech into your meat. Pink butcher paper on the other hand is wax free, allowing you to use it while cooking. Pink butcher paper can withstand temperatures up to 450° and is FDA approved for food use.

What Do You Use Pink Butcher Paper For?

Pink butcher paper is very versatile and has many uses. When smoking meat, there are two main uses for using pink butcher paper.

Wrapping While Cooking

The main, and most important, reason pink butcher paper is used, is to wrap your meat during the cooking process. Typically you wrap your meat when the internal temperature of your meat reaches 160°. While wrapping your meat while smoking isn’t necessary, there are 3 reasons why people do it.

  1. Speed Up Cooking: Smoking meat is already a long process and wrapping meat can take hours off your total cooking time. Wrapping your meat helps it to retain more heat not only speeding up the cooking process, but also helping you to power through the stall.
  2. Retains Moisture: Wrapping meats helps to trap moisture and fat renderings in with the meat creating a more humid cooking environment which helps meat to retain more moisture.
  3. Protective Barrier: Wrapping can also protect your meat from burning and taking on too much smoke by adding a layer of protection. If you notice the surface of your meat starting to burn, or you don’t like a lot of smoke flavor, wrapping can help protect it.
butcher paper pork


Because of its durableness, you can also use pink butcher paper to prepare your meat for smoking. It will not rip when it absorbs moisture, gives you as much space as you need, and makes for easy cleanup. After you are done preparing your food, simply throw the paper away and your mess is gone!

What Is The Difference Between Butcher Paper And Pink Butcher Paper?

White butcher paper and pink butcher paper are essentially the same thing. The only difference between the two is white butcher paper is bleached to achieve the white color whereas pink butcher paper is a natural color. Some white butcher paper will also contain wax on one side whereas pink butcher paper is always wax free.

Can You Use White Butcher Paper In A Smoker?

You can use white butcher paper in a smoker as long as it does not have a wax coating. Some brands of white butcher paper have a wax lining on one side which will melt and contaminate your meat when placed in the smoker. White butcher paper that is free of wax is safe to use in your smoker.

Does Butcher Paper Have Wax In It?

Pink butcher paper does not have any wax in it making it safe for smoking; however, some brands of white butcher paper do have wax coatings. When using butcher paper in a smoker, you should make sure it is wax free and food approved.

butcher paper

What Can I Use Instead Of Pink Butcher Paper?

If you don’t have pink butcher paper on hand, or aren’t able to source it at your local stores, there are a few alternatives you can use to wrap your meat when smoking.

  • Aluminum Foil: One of the most popular options when it comes to wrapping meat for the smoker. It is important to know that aluminum foil will act differently than butcher paper (more on this below).
  • Brown lunch bags: Just make sure that there is no writing, prints, or anything else on the bag. You want a pain brown lunch bag.
  • White Butcher Paper: As mentioned above, just make sure that it doesn’t contain any wax before using it in your smoker.
  • Parchment Paper: Parchment paper is safe to cook with; however, shouldn’t be your fist option when it comes to smoking meat. It just doesn’t have the qualities we need for smoking meat.

Can I Use Parchment Paper Instead Of Pink Butcher Paper?

In a pinch, parchment paper can be used instead of pink butcher paper. Parchment paper does not contain any wax making it safe to cook with; however, using parchment paper over pink butcher paper will not give you the benefits the butcher paper would. Parchment paper has a silicone coating that prevents the meat from breathing and taking in smoke.

Pink Butcher Paper Vs. Tin Foil

Pink butcher paper and tin foil are two of the most popular options to wrap meat when smoking; however, they are very different in how they work. Butcher paper, unlike aluminum foil, is porous. This allows the meat to “breathe” and continue to take on smoke as well as let some of the moisture inside evaporate.

Tin foil on the other hand, is going to trap all the moisture. All the fat drippings and moisture produced have no where to go essentially steaming the meat. So why does being porous matter?

It matters because of the “bark”, that tasty crust that forms on the outside of the meat. When you wrap meat in tin foil, the steaming that takes place breaks down the bark. On the other hand, because pink butcher paper is porous, this steaming process doesn’t happen thus protecting the bark.

So, in short, aluminum foil is going to trap more moisture but reduce the amount of bark whereas pink butcher paper is going to let more moisture out protecting the bark. As a general rule of thumb, most people will use aluminum foil when smoking pork and pink butcher paper when smoking beef.

This is further supported by a few polls that I ran asking which type of wrap people use for specific cuts of meat. The results below show that butcher paper is more popular for beef whereas aluminum foil is more popular for pork.

Pork wrap poll

Is Pink Butcher Paper Better Than Aluminum Foil?

When comparing pink butcher paper to aluminum foil for smoking meat, there is no one better than the other. They each have their place and it comes down to personal preference; however, in general, aluminum foil is used when smoking pork and butcher paper is used when smoking beef.

Brisket wrap poll

Is It Better To Wrap Brisket In Foil Or Butcher Paper?

You can wrap brisket in either foil or butcher paper when smoking; however, it is more common to use butcher paper when smoking brisket. Butcher paper allows the meat to continue to breathe and take on smoke giving it a better flavor. Wrapping brisket in aluminum foil tends to give it a beefier flavor.

Is Pink Butcher Paper Oven Safe?

Pink butcher paper is oven safe up to 450° Fahrenheit. Pink butcher does not contain any wax and is very durable making it a great option to use when cooking. When smoking meat, it is common to wrap your meat in butcher paper then finish in the oven.

Can You Put Butcher Paper In The Microwave?

You should not use butcher paper in the microwave. Butcher paper does not contain any protective coating and cannot withstand the high temperatures of the microwave. Using butcher paper in the microwave is a fire hazard.

Where To Buy Butcher Paper For Smoking Meat?

Butcher paper has become very popular when smoking meat and for that reason it is much easier to find it at your local stores. Here are a few stores that I have found carry pink butcher paper. Most of these stores have a dedicated isle of supplies for smoking meat.

  • Home Depot
  • Walmart
  • Lowes
  • Ace Hardware
  • Local BBQ shop

If you can’t find any butcher paper at your local stores, you can always order pink butcher paper on Amazon.  

Michael W.

Half of my family lives in Texas and we would visit them often. As a food lover, naturally I fell in love with smoked meat. Smoked brisket and peach cobbler is a staple around where my family grew up and quickly became a favorite of mine. Unfortunately we didn't have good BBQ where I grew up. After enough years, I finally decided to get a smoker so I didn't have to wait for good BBQ until I went to Texas. Getting into a new hobby can be overwhelming. When I first started smoking meat, there was so much conflicting information and so many different styles and techniques that I didn't know where to start. I started this website to help people BBQ better and learn the ropes by sharing my knowledge and experiences.

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