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Do Grocery Stores Sell Butcher Paper?

All of us have tin foil in our kitchen. But sometimes you Google a recipe that calls for butcher paper. We don’t always have that on hand, so do grocery stores sell butcher paper?

Yes. Grocery stores do sell butcher paper. It is usually found with the plastic wrap, tin foil, and parchment paper but you may also find it with charcoal due to its popularity with people who smoke briskets. However, since it is the same thing as kraft paper, Michaels and Hobby Lobby will have it also.

But that’s just a quick snapshot.

So in this article, we’ll take a deeper look into butcher paper and answer a few questions such as:

  • Is there more than 1 kind of butcher paper?
  • Can you substitute parchment paper or tin foil instead?
  • What kind of wrap do people like Aaron Franklin use for wrapping briskets?

Let’s get going!

What is butcher paper?

Butcher paper is a sturdy, coarse, and FDA-approved paper commonly used in butcheries and meat markets for wrapping and storing fresh meats. It’s designed to handle the moisture from meats without breaking down, keeping the product fresh while allowing it to breathe.

The paper is typically made from kraft pulp, giving it strength and durability, and is often found in white or pink colors.

White butcher paper is bleached and treated for purity, making it suitable for direct contact with food. Pink butcher paper, also known as peach paper, is unbleached and maintains a more natural composition.

It has gained popularity, especially in the barbecue community, for smoking meats. The porous nature of pink butcher paper makes it advantageous for smoking, as it allows smoke to penetrate the meat while retaining enough moisture to prevent drying out.

This feature creates a balance between the crispiness of the meat’s outer layer and moisture retention inside, which is a desired outcome in barbecue techniques.

Aside from its culinary uses, butcher paper is also used for craft projects and as table coverings in restaurants, owing to its low cost and large roll sizes. Its durability and resistance to tear make it ideal for various creative applications.

Is pink butcher paper different from brown?

Yes, pink butcher paper is different from brown butcher paper in several key aspects.

Pink, or peach, butcher paper is specifically designed for smoking meat, becoming a popular choice in the barbecue community. It’s unbleached and treated with a small amount of sizing, which helps it maintain strength when wet and allows the meat to breathe during smoking.

This feature is crucial as it lets the smoke penetrate the meat while retaining moisture, a balance essential for achieving a tender, flavorful barbecue.

Brown butcher paper, on the other hand, is typically used for general-purpose wrapping and packaging. It’s made from unbleached kraft paper and is thicker and more rugged compared to pink butcher paper.

The brown variety is excellent for wrapping and storing meat for a short period, but it’s not ideal for smoking purposes. Its composition doesn’t allow the same level of breathability and moisture control as pink butcher paper, which can lead to a steaming effect on the meat, affecting the desired bark formation in smoking.

In terms of appearance, pink butcher paper has a distinctive peach hue, while brown butcher paper retains the natural color of unbleached kraft paper. The pink color in peach paper is achieved through a safe, FDA-approved process, ensuring it’s food-grade and suitable for direct contact with meat.

In summary, while both pink and brown butcher paper serve the purpose of wrapping meat, pink butcher paper’s unique properties make it better suited for smoking meats, offering the right balance of moisture retention and breathability. Brown butcher paper is more robust and suitable for general wrapping and storage, but not ideal for the smoking process.

What store carries butcher paper?

All grocery stores will carry butcher paper in the same section as tin foil and plastic wrap. But arts and craft stores such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby will also have it under the name kraft paper.

Butcher paper is great for your brisket.

Specialty retailers and warehouses that sell paper in bulk, grocery stores, large supermarkets, bookstores, discount stores that sell school supplies, and art and craft supply stores.

Office supply stores are also a great place to check out too.

And there are also some dedicated paper merchants who sell, such as You can walk-in or order online from any of the stores.

It’s good to know that it’s also known as “Kraft paper.”

To simplify things for yourself, you could simply order from Amazon. The best one is this one on Amazon. I used it myself the last time I smoked a brisket on my Traeger.

Just click that link to see it on Amazon.

Later, in the article, I’ll share some info about the type of butcher paper that Aaron Franklin uses and the link you could use to buy from Amazon.

Do they sell butcher paper at Walmart, Home Depot, or Target?

Yes, you can buy butcher paper at Target, Walmart, and Home Depot. At Walmart and Target, it will be with the tin foil and plastic wrap. At Home Depot, you will find butcher paper with the BBQ supplies by the grills.

Now if you’ve never used it before, Home Depot might seem like an odd place to find butcher paper.

But that’s because while it has a wide variety of uses, it’s most prized by people who smoke brisket. Essentially, at least 4 hours into the smoking process, you take the brisket and wrap it in butcher paper. Then you put it back on the smoker and let it continue for another 4-8 hours depending on the size of the brisket.

If you grill a lot, you’ll love a recent article of mine on how to use a Traeger Wood Pellet Grill.

It’s loaded with tons of info. I just smoked my 1st brisket on mine about a month ago and it came out much better than any brisket I’ve every smoked on any of my other grills. I’m in Texas so of course, I have 3.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

But Traegers aren’t without issues and problems. And another recent article of mine is a companion piece to that titled ‘Why did my Traeger Catch Fire.

In the article, I covered topics such as, can a pellet grill catch fire, are food processors worth it, what to do if your Traeger catches fire, does a Trager have a flame or ever flare up, and how to put out a Traeger fire.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you use parchment paper in place of butcher paper?

Parchment paper, which is waxed, is not a good substitute for butcher paper. Parchment paper is used for baking. It’s non-stick, grease-resistant paper. Butcher paper is used to wrap the brisket during the smoking process but it soaks up grease which would not happen with parchment paper. 

The aim is to retain the moisture — to prevent the meat and its bark from drying up.

This “small’’ task makes a world of difference to the taste. So, butcher paper is mainly used for wrapping, while parchment paper is primarily used in baking, to make sure that what’s been baked does not stick to the pans and the oven.

Depending on your needs, you might want to get both — parchment and butcher paper.

But where would you get them in a grocery store? Truth be told, except for “veterans,” navigating a grocery store could be challenging.

That’s why, based on my experience and research, I wrote a detailed guide on the different sections of a grocery store in a recent article of mine.

In it, I explored the most common areas of a grocery store, the perimeter department, whether grocery stores are designed to make you walk in a certain way, the most common grocery terms, the most common grocery store categories, and aisles.

And I figured out why milk is always kept in the back of the store. It’s a highly detailed guide that’ll unravel the mystery of how grocery stores are laid out.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is butcher paper and parchment paper the same thing?

No. Butcher paper and parchment paper are not the same things. Butcher paper originated from kraft pulp and is sometimes called kraft paper. Butchers use it for wrapping meat and fish. Parchment paper is waxed and designed to prevent baked goods such as cookies from sticking.

So in a way, despite both being made from paper, they are totally different with different purposes.

Parchment paper is a paper pulp that’s been passed through sulfuric acid to treat or coat it so that it’s heat-resistant and non-greasy. In this treated state, it looks like parchment.

That’s why it’s called parchment paper.

The coating is not affected while you’re using the paper. Its main benefit is that it prevents food from sticking. It’s available bleached (white) or unbleached (brown).

Professional bakers and chefs love using parchment paper because it can be used for a lot of things. It can be used to wrap fish, to line cake molds and baking sheets, and to cook dishes en papillote.

While sifting or grating a small ingredient, you could use the parchment paper covered counter or tabletop and pour what’s been grated or sifted into a dish later. It can also be spread on countertops while you work so that cleaning up can be easy later.

You’ll simply remove it.

Can you use aluminum foil in place of butcher paper?

Aluminum foil can be used in place of butcher paper for certain cooking applications, but it behaves differently.

One of the primary differences is in how foil and butcher paper interact with heat and moisture. Foil is non-porous and completely blocks moisture and smoke, whereas butcher paper is porous and allows some degree of moisture and smoke penetration.

In smoking meats, the choice between aluminum foil and butcher paper can significantly impact the outcome.

Butcher paper is preferred for smoking as it allows the meat to breathe, enabling smoke to continue flavoring the meat while protecting it from getting too dark or dry. This process, often referred to as the “Texas crutch,” particularly when using foil, helps in breaking down tough fibers in the meat. However, using foil creates a tighter seal than butcher paper, which can result in a steaming effect.

This steaming often leads to a softer bark on the meat, which may not be desirable for those seeking a crisp outer layer.

In baking, roasting, or grilling, aluminum foil can be an effective alternative to butcher paper. It’s commonly used to cover or wrap food to retain moisture, cook evenly, and prevent burning. Foil’s heat-reflective properties can be advantageous in these cooking methods, but it lacks the breathability that butcher paper offers, which can be crucial for certain recipes, especially in smoking.

For tasks like resting meat post-cooking, both aluminum foil and butcher paper are suitable. Foil can retain more heat, but butcher paper allows for a slight release of steam, preventing condensation and keeping the crust of the meat crisp.

In essence, while aluminum foil can be used as a substitute for butcher paper in some cooking processes, it significantly alters the cooking environment due to its non-porous nature, impacting moisture retention, heat distribution, and smoke absorption.

Can you use freezer paper in place of butcher paper?

Freezer paper and butcher paper have distinct characteristics, making them suitable for different uses.

While it’s possible to use freezer paper as an alternative to butcher paper in some instances, their differing properties should be considered for the intended purpose.

Freezer paper is designed for freezing food items, especially meats. It consists of a paper side and a polyethylene (plastic) coating on the other side. This plastic layer provides an excellent barrier against moisture and air, protecting the food from freezer burn and preserving its quality over extended periods.

The paper side allows for easy labeling and wrapping, while the plastic side faces the food, sealing in moisture.

Butcher paper, on the other hand, is a single-layer paper product, commonly used for wrapping fresh meats and fish. It’s breathable, allowing air to circulate around the meat, which is important in applications like smoking meat.

The breathability of butcher paper is especially valuable in smoking, as it allows smoke to permeate the meat, contributing to flavor and texture, without overly drying it out.

In smoking or cooking processes, using freezer paper instead of butcher paper can lead to different results. The plastic coating of freezer paper can melt or warp at high temperatures, making it unsuitable for smoking or cooking. Additionally, the lack of breathability in freezer paper can impact the texture and flavor development of smoked meats.

For storage purposes, freezer paper is more effective than butcher paper in preserving the quality of meats in the freezer, due to its moisture and air barrier. But for cooking, particularly smoking, butcher paper’s breathable nature makes it the better choice.

What kind of butcher paper does Franklin’s BBQ use?

Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ in Austin, TX, uses pink butcher paper.  The product’s full name is Pink Kraft Butcher Paper Roll. 

You might be wondering why that particular paper? Well, it’s incredible. Let me share some of its properties. You can use it to store and wrap food without any anxiety that it’ll leak, and you can use it to smoke meat for hours.

It’s 100% natural virgin pulp (so you need have no worries about chemicals).

It’s unwaxed, uncoated, and unbleached. It’ll keep the flavor and purity of the roast untainted and safe. It’s made in the U.S.A, so you can be sure it’s safe to be used with your food.

In addition to using it while you barbecue, you can also use it to line birds’ cages and for your art and crafts.

Final Thoughts

So yes, all grocery stores carry butcher paper.

It’s usually found where you’ll find the aluminum foil and plastic wrap. However, you may see it in the section with charcoal too as it’s a popular choice for wrapping briskets halfway through the smoking process.

But we also learned that butcher paper is also known as kraft paper. So arts and craft stores such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby will have it too.

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Jeff Campbell