Why Your Brisket Might Come Wrapped In Pink Butcher Paper

Ever wonder why your local butcher wraps always wraps cuts of meat in pink-colored butcher paper? The iconic blush wrapping can be used to neatly package anything from steaks and sausages but is especially praised when used for hunks of brisket. Beyond keeping things sanitary on the trip back home, the pastel butcher paper actually serves a few other purposes that might surprise you.

A type of FDA-approved kraft paper, Home Cook World explains that pink butcher paper is made from pulp that hasn't been bleached or waxed, hence its colorful aesthetic. That said, the paper does undergo a treatment known as sizing, which helps improve its durability. In contrast to other types of paper like waxed paper or non-stick parchment paper, this type of butcher paper is also significantly thicker and boasts greater permeability, allowing air to pass through whatever is wrapped inside. While butchers use it to avoid directly handling raw meat, there are also several other reasons as to why pink butcher paper is the quintessential choice for brisket — and no, it has nothing to do with tradition.

Pink butcher paper has multiple purposes

A useful material to wrap meats, one of the most obvious benefits of the peachy-hued paper is that it provides optimal protection against leakage. In fact, MasterClass explains that pink butcher paper can also better mask the color of the meat, along with aiding any saturation caused by blood or juices. Likewise, when compared to other means of storage like vacuum packaging, the paper also maintains the quality of fresh meat, resulting in better texture and taste after cooking, reports the National Post.

But, before meat even hits the grill, pink butcher paper can also help minimize mess during prep. Due to its level of durability, the Webstaurant Store shares that the wrap can be used as a surface to season meat when applying dry rubs and brines. However, that's not even the most impressive feature of the packaging. 

Pink butcher paper can also be the secret to making the best-smoked brisket. Thanks to the material's breathability, Broil King explains that the wrap is ideal because it allows the brisket to absorb smoky flavors and retain moisture all while letting steam escape — just remember that while the paper has high heat resistance, it's wise to use it either in the oven or in a smoker where temperatures won't exceed 450 degrees Fahrenheit. So, do as James Beard award-winning pitmaster, Aaron Franklin does, and wrap your brisket in pink butcher paper. The results? A tender and juicy piece of brisket with an incredibly crispy coating.