10 Butcher Paper Substitutes [Best Options]

Cooking hack alert! If you want to make tender, moist smoked meat, wrap it in butcher paper before you smoke it.

Try it once and you will be obsessed with this easy way to make incredible smoked meat. 

Butcher paper also has tons of other uses, making it a home essential in my eyes. You can use it for crafting, freezing foods, and even for making t-shirts!

However, if you are ready to smoke that perfect pork roast right now and don’t have any butcher paper on hand, don’t worry!

The best substitute for butcher paper is parchment paper. It is a natural alternative that is porous like butcher paper. Use a paper bag as a butcher paper substitute for freezing. Kraft paper can be used as a butcher paper substitute for sublimation. 

Butcher Paper Substitutes

1. Parchment paper – Best Alternative for Smoking

Parchment paper

Can you use parchment paper in place of butcher paper? Absolutely! 

Parchment paper is the best substitute for butcher paper. It is made from wood pulp just like butcher paper but is much thinner.

Despite being lightweight, it can still withstand very high heats, up to 400 degrees F before burning. 

Use parchment paper exactly as you would use butcher paper. Wrap your meat or fish in the paper and place it in your smoker, in the oven or on the grill. Be sure to use uncoated parchment paper for the best results. 


Foil is a great butcher paper substitute for grilling and smoking because it can withstand very high heats.

Remember that foil is fireproof and will not ignite no matter how high the grill or oven temperature is.

Foil is also very easy to find. I bet you already have some in your kitchen right now!

Foil is not very porous like butcher paper. It will retain a lot of moisture during the cooking process. This will keep your meat very moist and tender but will not allow a thick bark to form around your meat.

If you want your smoked brisket or meats to have a drier bark, wrap the meat in foil and then poke a few small holes in the foil.

Place the meat in the smoker or on the grill with the holes positioned upward. The juices from the meat will stay in the foil packet but the smoke can permeate the foil and reach the meat. 

3)Silicone Baking Mats

Silicon baking mat

Baking mats are thin, flexible pieces of silicone that are made to withstand high heats and also prevent foods from sticking to a pan or grill.

They are pretty breathable as well, allowing the smoke from your cooker to easily reach the meat. 

Baking mats are becoming more popular so you may be able to find them in your local grocery store.

Order a few different sizes of baking mats online so you are ready to cook anytime!

They are completely reusable so don’t be afraid to splurge on the best mats possible. Wrap your meats in a baking mat and then place it directly in your smoker.

Baking mats won’t bend quite as easily as butcher paper. You may need more than one mat to really enclose the meat completely. 

4)No Paper

You can smoke or grill meat without butcher paper. Simply place the meat directly on the grill grates and start cooking! It doesn’t get any easier than that! 

Cooking meat without butcher paper or any other paper does make meat a little bit drier.

Keep this in mind when cooking meats for a lengthy amount of time. You may want to consider basting the meat more often to lock in any moisture. 

5)Paper Bag – Best Butcher Paper Substitute For Freezing

Have a few extra paper grocery bags? Save them to use as a butcher paper substitute for freezing! 

Paper bags are made from uncoated wood pulp just like butcher paper. They are not quite as thick as butcher paper which makes them unsuitable for cooking applications (you don’t want to start a fire!). 

Cut a paper bag into a flat sheet. Wrap your freezer bound foods in the bag. Tape the bag closed and label the bag using a permanent marker.

Place the food in your freezer and rest assured it will be protected from freezer burn just like when you freeze food using butcher paper. 

6)Freezer Paper

Freezer paper is a wax coated type of paper that is designed to preserve meat in cold conditions.

It is very thick and sturdy. You can find freezer paper in most grocery stores near the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. 

Freezer paper is a little thinner than butcher paper which makes it more flexible. It is easier to wrap meats in freezer paper than thick butcher paper. 

Freezer paper is often confused with wax paper. They do both have a waxy coating!

That wax film is also the reason why you should not use freezer paper to smoke or cook meats. The wax will melt!

Use freezer paper just as you would use butcher paper to preserve your foods in the freezer. Your meats will resist freezer burn and stay juicy in the cold temperatures. 

7)Plastic Wrap

raw meat wrapped in plastic wrap
Raw meat wrapped in plastic wrap.

Plastic wrap is great to use in place of butcher paper for freezing. It clings tightly to foods to prevent freezer burn. It also is very easy to find in any grocery store.

Plastic wrap is made of polyvinyl chloride which is a chemical compound. Some people may not like that it is not as natural as butcher paper.

However, it is recognized as a food safe product and is used by many people globally. 

8)Airtight Plastic Container

Place your meats, fish and other foods in an airtight plastic container to freeze. Storing foods in plastic will prevent them from getting freezer burn and keep them fresh for lengthy amounts of time. 

Plastic containers typically have a rubber seal around the top to really seal the food well. They are also completely reusable so you can use them time and time again. Look for containers that are dishwasher safe to make clean up easy. 

9)Kraft Paper – Best Substitute for Sublimation

Kraft paper is a very thick paper that is uncoated and typically brown.

Kraft paper is made using several chemicals that are not considered to be food safe. It should only be used as a butcher paper substitute for crafting rather than cooking.

You can find rolls of kraft paper in most craft stores. Cut a piece of paper from the roll in the size you need.

Use it just as you would use butcher paper to make your amazing cricut craft projects!

10)Wax Paper

Wax paper can be used in place of butcher paper for sublimation. Wax paper has a nice waxed coating that will prevent ink from bleeding as it is transferred onto fabric. Be sure to keep your iron heat set to low so the wax does not melt. 

Wax paper is very easy to find in any grocery store. It is also an economical substitute for butcher paper, costing less per square foot. Use a piece of wax paper just as you would use butcher paper to get perfect craft results. 

I could go on and on about all the uses for butcher paper in the kitchen and around the home.

But I’m sure you already have a use in mind, you just need a good substitute! So let’s keep going!

What Is Butcher Paper?

So what exactly is butcher paper and what is butcher paper made of? Great questions!

Butcher paper is a thick paper made from wood pulp. It is treated with a sizing agent to become more durable and elastic. Butcher paper is free from plastics and has no waxy coating.

Butcher paper is usually sold in large rolls. It is very breathable and allows air to freely pass through the paper. This prevents foods from getting soggy when wrapped up. 

There are a few types of butcher paper and each one has its own special use. Here is a quick look at the different kinds of butcher paper.

1. White Butcher Paper

This type of butcher paper is uncoated, FDA approved and perfect for wrapping sandwiches, meats and cheeses.

It is perfect for wrapping meats to go in the smoker as it allows smoke in but keeps the meat moist.

fresh raw beef steaks on butcher paper
Fresh raw beef steaks on butcher paper.

2. Pink Butcher Paper

Also known as peach butcher paper, it is often used by butcher to wrap raw meat. The pink color works well to mask any blood or juice from the meat, making it look more appealing.

The paper is strong enough to hold liquids but will still allow meats to breathe. It is also a top choice for smoking meats.

3. Gardenia Butcher Paper

This is a high performance, premium paper that offers superior protection against moisture.

It seals in oils and juices and also lets the contents breathe to prevent sogginess. The off white, pinkish color is perfect for wrapping raw fish and poultry, matching the color of the meat well. 

4. Freezer Paper

Special, coated butcher paper protects foods in the freezer. It has a moisture coated barrier on one side and thick paper on the other side. 

Butcher Paper Uses

Butcher paper has a lot of incredible uses. It is actually one of the most useful home tools you will ever find! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use butcher paper.

  1. Wrap seasoned meat in butcher paper and smoke it. The paper allows the smoke to permeate the wrapped meat, adding flavor and cooking it perfectly. However, it protects the meat from drying out too quickly.
  2. Use butcher paper as wrapping paper to give your gifts a clean, modern look. 
  3. Use a piece of butcher paper to cover a charcuterie board. Place the meat and cheese on top. Use a marker to label the paper as an easy way to display the selections.
  4. Wrap meat in butcher paper and freeze it. It will protect the frozen meats from freezer burn and can easily be labeled so you can quickly identify what’s inside. 
  5. Use it to wrap sandwiches or leftovers in place of plastic wrap.
  6. Cover your table in butcher paper and let your kids color while they eat. 
  7. Use it for making crafts. Butcher paper can go through a cricut crafting machine and be cut into perfect decorations.
  8. Use butcher paper to catch excess ink during sublimation t-shirt printing. White butcher paper is perfect for this!

Use of Butcher Paper For Cricut

Are you a master at the cricut crafting machine? Then you likely know all about how to use infusible ink and butcher paper. 

BBQ Texas Sandwich with slow roasted brisket beef meat.

Perfect Smoked Brisket

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 10 minutes

Brisket is one of the best meats to cook on the smoker. It becomes so tender and flavorful as it slowly smokes all day long. Give our simple smoked brisket recipe a try.


  • 12 pound brisket, trimmed
  • 2 ½ cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Place the brisket on a piece of butcher paper.
  2. Use a cooking syringe to inject the meat with 2 cups of the beef broth, evenly injecting the meat so it is as full of broth as possible.
  3. Mix the salt, sugar, pepper, garlic and cayenne in a small bowl then rub the seasoning all over the meat. 
  4. Insert your meat thermometer in to the meat. Remote digital thermometers work the best.
  5. Wrap the meat in the butcher paper, enclosing it completely. 
  6. Preheat your smoker and get it stabilized at 235 degrees F.
  7. Put the wrapped meat on the smoker and add about 2 cups of wood right into the smoker. When the smoke stops, add 4 ounces more. This means adding more wood about every 30 minutes. 
  8. Smoke your meat until it reaches 195 degrees F.
  9. Once the meat is at that temp, remove it from the smoker and let it sit in the butcher paper for about 20 minutes to seal in the juices. Unwrap and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1324Total Fat: 84gSaturated Fat: 33gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 481mgSodium: 1033mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 132g

Final Considerations

Butcher paper is great for smoking meat and giving them a nice crispy crunh. It is great for preserving meat for the freezer. Butcher paper is also great for crafting. 

All of these butcher paper substitutes will help you cook and craft for those times when you just don’t’ have butcher paper on hand.

However, I do recommend picking up some pink butcher paper next time you see it, It is so useful to have on hand!

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