Smoking meat is an extremely popular pastime for people. It is a fantastic and super flavorful way to cook your cuts while still being able to do other projects — or just take a breather!
However, smoking requires specific materials. At least, that’s what all the blogs and forums say. Now, what if you don’t have them? Or what if you simply cannot find any?
Can you smoke meat with parchment paper? Parchment paper is a great material to smoke meat with. On top of the fact that it works just as well as traditional materials, it is also a lot more versatile and eco-friendly.
Today, we will look at exactly what parchment paper is and why it works so well. We will also take a look at exactly how you can use it to wrap your meat for smoking.
Why Do You Need To Wrap Meat For Smoking?
Now, if you love smoking foods and do it on a regular basis, you likely already know what the benefits are when wrapping meat for smoking.
But, if you are new to this cooking technique, you probably have no idea what we are talking about. Don’t worry! Neither did we when we started smoking food.
But that is exactly why we are here: to help you better understand the process of smoking meat in its entirety.
Today, we are looking at wrapping meat for smoking. Now, why do some people use this technique?
There are a lot of benefits to wrapping meat. First, it helps trap moisture while the meat is smoking for long periods of time. That helps ultimately prevent the cut of meat from becoming dry.
Then, it is also a way to help trap a ton of flavors. It helps protect the fat and juices from escaping the meat, which directly means more flavor. And simultaneously, it creates an overall more tender piece of meat.
And finally, the final notable benefit of this cooking technique is that it helps the meat cook evenly and quicker. The wrapping will keep the temperature constant so the meat can cook uniformly.
And, because it insulates the heat much better, the cooking time will speed up slightly.
What Do You Normally Use To Wrap Meat For Smoking?
Now, most people use aluminum foil when they are smoking meat. And honestly, it is probably your best option.
Aluminum foil is very easy to find and very affordable. It is also disposable, but depending on the damage, you may be able to reuse it for another project.
Aluminum foil will without a doubt cause the meat to cook faster. It not only traps heat, but it retains it. It also helps maintain a more stable cooking temperature and ultimately helps reduce the cooking time.
However, the biggest downside to foil is that it traps heat a little too well when smoking meat for longer periods of time.
That causes the cut of meat to steam instead of smoke. It can also cause the meat cut to sweat. Both of these can lead to chewy textures and a lack of flavor.
Another downside to using aluminum foil is that it cannot be recycled if it isn’t completely cleaned. And, as most smoking enthusiasts know, smoking meat causes a ton of burnt pieces on the foil.
Next, people also use butcher paper, a more eco-friendly alternative. It is technically a type of Kraft paper, but you get food-safe options. Butcheries use this special type of paper to wrap their meats.
Why? Because this paper is able to withstand all kinds of wet ingredients and won’t tear apart. It is also more porous than aluminum foil, meaning it isn’t as likely to cause steam build-up or the meat sweating.
Butcher paper can also withstand high cooking temperatures and won’t catch fire.
Can You Really Smoke Meat With Parchment Paper?
Now, unfortunately it isn’t always possible to find butcher paper. And as we have mentioned, using aluminum foil does have its downsides.
So, is parchment paper the best alternative to use for smoking meat?
Luckily, parchment paper is perfectly fine to use. It can even be used for grilling your meat! This alternative will help retain the moisture, create extremely tender and juicy cuts of smoked meat, and will help more evenly cook the meat.
Now the next question we will be answering is: what is parchment paper?
Many of you may be thinking this is a silly question. However, you’d be surprised to learn how many people have a misconception about what this paper is. You may even be one of them!
Parchment paper is not the same as butcher paper or wax paper. It is, however, the same thing as baking paper — it’s just another name for it.
The reason there are two different names for the same thing is that it goes by various names in various parts of the world.
Now, let’s take a look at what parchment paper is and how it differs from other types. It’s important to know because you don’t want to buy the wrong thing and have it go up in flames in your smoker!
What Is Parchment Paper?
This type of paper is specifically used for cooking foods. It is extremely thin and has an almost sheer appearance.
However, some manufacturers do sell them in various colors, textures, and consistencies.
Parchment paper is made from a cellulose-based composite that has been treated to become non-stick in nature.
Some also have a silicone-based lining to make it extra non-stick.
The non-stick coating helps make it water-resistant and grease-proof.
This coating is on both sides of the paper — so, unlike aluminum foil, you don’t have to use one side or the other!
Parchment Paper Vs Wax Paper
These two products are somewhat similar, but their composition is completely different. Wax paper is coated with a soybean wax or paraffin wax layer. It is also non-stick.
But, the main difference in their function is that wax paper cannot be used for cooking — it isn’t able to withstand high temperatures. This will literally cause the paper to burn when the wax coating melts away.
Wax paper is suited to coat and cover items that need to be stored in the fridge. It helps prevent them from drying out, seals in moisture, and protects the meat cut from foreign particles (like bacteria).
Parchment Paper Vs Butcher Paper
Butcher paper is very thick compared to parchment paper, which is paper-thin (often even sheer).
It also doesn’t have the same non-stick coating that parchment paper has. So, while they both can withstand intense heat, parchment paper generally has a more versatile amount of functions.
How To Smoke Meat Using Parchment Paper
Wrapping meat with foil is incredibly easy. But when you work with papers that don’t hold their shape, they can become more difficult to work with.
So, if you already know how to wrap meat in butcher paper, the process remains exactly the same when using parchment paper.
But again, if you are new to this process, here is a guide that will help you properly wrap your meat:
1. Cut out a very large sheet of parchment paper. The sheet’s length should allow you to wrap your cut of meat about three times in total. The width of the sheet should also allow you to comfortably fold over those edges.
2. Place the meat, fat side facing upwards, on the edge of the parchment paper.
3. Fold over the meat, covered with paper, so that the fat side now faces downwards. The top (no-fat side) should face upwards and be covered with parchment paper.
4. Pull the meat and paper towards you so that the meat is tightly closed in the parchment paper.
5. Tuck in the ends on both sides underneath the meat. Then, fold over any excess parchment paper to form a sheet the same width as your cut.
6. Then, roll the meat again on the paper. Now, the fat side is facing upwards again. Remember to keep the roll tight!
7. Any excess parchment paper on the length of the sheet can be folded over and tucked underneath the meat. Now your wrapped meat is ready to be smoked!
Comparing Parchment Paper With Other Types For Smoking
Now, to be completely honest, we couldn’t find any information on which works better than the others. And in our personal experience, all of them are great choices. What it comes down to is your personal preference.
All the options will help cook the meat evenly, retain moisture, and help make it more flavorful! But, the material you use really depends on your preference.
For example, we love using butcher paper or parchment paper. We end up using parchment paper more because it’s always in the house. Butcher paper is more limited in its uses.
Parchment paper is also completely recyclable, environmentally friendly, easier to find, and very affordable.
Aluminum foil works equally well, but it isn’t a very eco-friendly option and tends to cause the meat to sweat when it is left unattended.
So, all in all, in terms of final results, all the options will give you virtually the same quality of meat.