How To Wrap Pork Shoulder In Butcher Paper? The Key Facts (2023)

Are you looking for a way to keep your pork shoulder moist and flavorful while smoking it? Wrapping it in butcher paper might just be the solution you’re looking for.

Butcher paper is a great alternative to aluminum foil, as it allows for more moisture to escape while still keeping the meat wrapped and protected. Plus, it adds a delicious smoky flavor to your meat.

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In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of wrapping your pork shoulder in butcher paper, including tips on when to wrap and how to ensure a tight seal. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a beginner, this technique is sure to take your pork shoulder to the next level.

So grab some butcher paper and let’s get started!

How To Wrap Pork Shoulder In Butcher Paper?

Before you begin, make sure you have the right size butcher paper for your pork shoulder. Measure the length of the pork shoulder and multiply it by four. Cut two sheets of butcher paper that are the exact same length as the figure.

Arrange the first layer of butcher paper vertically on a flat surface in front of you. Then, arrange the second sheet of butcher paper horizontally on top of the first sheet. The two sheets should overlap.

Next, remove the pork shoulder from your smoker and place it onto the butcher paper fat side up. Be sure to spritz the pork shoulder with apple cider vinegar or juice to add some extra flavor.

Fold both layers of butcher paper over the pork shoulder, making sure to wrap it tightly. Continue folding the butcher paper over the pork shoulder until it is completely covered. Fold it over one last time, then flip it over and tuck the edges of the paper in to seal the pork shoulder.

Why Butcher Paper Is A Better Option Than Aluminum Foil

While aluminum foil is a popular choice for wrapping meat, butcher paper is a better option for several reasons. Firstly, butcher paper is highly breathable, which allows moisture to escape from the meat. This prevents over-steaming and ensures that the outer crust of the meat remains crispy and flavorful. In contrast, aluminum foil traps all the steam inside the package, which can lead to a softer bark on the meat.

Secondly, butcher paper is more porous than aluminum foil, which allows more smoke to pass through and infuse the meat with even more flavor. This is especially important if you wrap your meat too soon and it hasn’t absorbed all the smoke it can.

Thirdly, butcher paper is more eco-friendly than aluminum foil as it is made from wood pulp using the Kraft process. It is 100% food safe and can be easily disposed of after use.

Finally, butcher paper is tougher than aluminum foil and can withstand higher temperatures without burning. While it is ideal for smoking, butcher paper shouldn’t be used for cooking at temperatures higher than 450 ̊F (232 ̊C). Aluminum foil, on the other hand, can compromise your bark if you wrap too early.

When To Wrap Your Pork Shoulder In Butcher Paper

Knowing when to wrap your pork shoulder in butcher paper is crucial to achieving the perfect texture and flavor. As a general rule, you should wrap your pork shoulder in butcher paper when it reaches an internal temperature of 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit. This is usually when the meat hits the “stall,” a point in the cooking process where the temperature seems to plateau and can take several hours to overcome.

By wrapping your pork shoulder in butcher paper at this point, you can hasten the cooking time and prevent the meat from drying out on your grill or smoker. Butcher paper retains most of the integrity of the bark while enveloping the meat in a moist, tenderizing environment. It also helps to keep a lot of the moisture inside the meat, preventing it from evaporating and resulting in dry pork.

However, it’s important to note that wrapping with butcher paper can slow down your cook, especially if you’re smoking a brisket and you hit a stall. If you’re looking for a faster cook time, you may want to consider wrapping your pork shoulder in aluminum foil instead.

Ultimately, the decision to wrap your pork shoulder in butcher paper comes down to personal preference. Wrapping can help retain moisture and speed up cooking time, but it may also affect the texture and flavor of the meat. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for you and your taste preferences.

Tips For Ensuring A Tight Seal

To ensure a tight seal when wrapping your pork shoulder in butcher paper, there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

Firstly, make sure that the fat side of the pork shoulder is not in contact with the paper. This will prevent the fats and other juices from pooling at the bottom and drying out the meat.

Secondly, be sure to fold both layers of butcher paper tightly over the pork shoulder. You don’t want any noticeable air pockets trapped inside, as this will affect the cooking process and may cause the meat to dry out.

Thirdly, if you’re having trouble getting a tight seal with the butcher paper, you can use a layer of aluminum foil to help lock in moisture. Simply wrap the butcher paper-covered pork shoulder in a layer of foil, making sure to fold it tightly around the meat.

Lastly, take your time when wrapping your pork shoulder in butcher paper. Rushing through the process may result in a loose or uneven wrap, which can affect the cooking process and result in dry or tough meat.

The Benefits Of Using Butcher Paper For Smoking Meat

Using butcher paper to wrap your pork shoulder when smoking has several benefits. Firstly, butcher paper is more breathable than aluminum foil and traps less steam, which helps to keep the meat moist without making the bark soggy. This is especially important when smoking pork shoulder, as it tends to dry out quickly if not properly wrapped.

Butcher paper also allows the meat to “breathe” a little, letting some of the moisture escape and preventing the meat from getting mushy. This helps to maintain the texture of the meat and allows for a better bark/crust on the exterior of the pork shoulder. The paper also helps to protect the meat from the full impact of the smoker, while still allowing it to absorb smoke, spices, and other flavors.

Another benefit of using butcher paper is that it creates an air-tight seal around the meat, trapping the smoke and flavor within while it cooks. This ensures that your smoked pork shoulder has the perfect flavor and texture. Butcher paper also soaks up the grease from the pork shoulder, leaving it with even more flavor.

Compared to parchment paper, butcher paper is thicker, more absorbent, and more permeable (breathes better). It also has a lower heat threshold, making it perfect for slow-smoking meat. Parchment paper, on the other hand, is better for retaining moisture and collecting juices for a sauce while smoking meat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wrapping Pork Shoulder In Butcher Paper

Q: What is the purpose of wrapping pork shoulder in butcher paper?

A: Wrapping pork shoulder in butcher paper helps to hold in moisture during the last stages of cooking. It also helps to get past “the stall” when smoking meat, especially brisket. The paper allows the meat to breathe better than foil does, which can be wrapped too tightly. Wrapping can speed up smoking times, too.

Q: How does wrapping pork shoulder in butcher paper differ from wrapping it in foil?

A: Wrapping pork shoulder with aluminum foil will seal in moisture, but it will also soften the bark. In contrast, wrapping pork shoulder with butcher paper will cause some of its moisture to be lost. Butcher paper is a breathable material, allowing some moisture to escape through the paper’s pores. This will prevent the bark from softening up too much.

Q: When is the best time to wrap pork shoulder in butcher paper?

A: The best time to wrap your pork shoulder is when it has achieved an internal temperature of 160 to 170 degrees. Wrapping your pork shoulder at the right time in butcher paper gives it the best combination of texture and flavor while retaining the tasty juiciness of the pork.

Q: Can I use any type of paper to wrap my pork shoulder?

A: No, you should only use FDA-approved 100% food-grade pink butcher paper that is made from Southern Pine pulp. Waxed butcher paper, wax paper, and freezer paper should never go in your smoker or grill as they can catch fire and emit toxic fumes at high heat.

Q: How do I know if I wrapped my pork shoulder correctly?

A: You should wrap your pork shoulder tightly in butcher paper, making sure to fold it over until it is completely covered. Tuck the edges of the paper in to seal the pork shoulder. If done correctly, you should be able to lift and move the wrapped pork shoulder without it falling apart or losing its shape.


Is it better to wrap pork shoulder in paper or foil? ›

Butcher paper will protect the bark and helps to keep a lot of the moisture inside the meat. The paper will absorb some moisture but doesn't allow nearly as much liquid to evaporate as aluminum foil does.

What temperature do you wrap pulled pork in butcher paper? ›

As a technique, wrapping in butcher paper works best when the meat is allowed to reach the stall (usually between 160 and 170 degrees internal temperature) before wrapping.

How to smoke a pork shoulder with butcher paper? ›

Wrap the pork.

Use grill-safe heavy duty foil, or food grade butcher paper to wrap the pork shoulder, then place it back on the smoker until it reaches 203 degrees Fahrenheit, about 4-5 hours. This is called the Texas Crutch Method.

What does wrapping a pork shoulder do? ›

Wrapping also captures the meat's fat, juices, and smoke flavor from the dry rub paired with apple cider vinegar, so it can all be reabsorbed once the meat is taken off the smoker to rest at the end of the cooking process, making for tender and juicy pulled pork.

Do you add liquid when wrapping pork shoulder? ›

I elect to wrap, and make sure I do so after the stall, which is when the internal temperature of the meat reaches around 165 degrees F. Place shoulder in a large aluminum pan, large baking sheet, or even a glass dish. Add a couple tablespoons of the spritz liquid into the pan and then wrap to top in foil.

Does smoke penetrate butcher paper? ›

Butcher Paper is porous, when using butcher paper for smoking, your meat can breath throughout the process. Smoke is then able to still penetrate the paper and meat.

What happens if you wrap pulled pork too early? ›

Yes, you can wrap your pork too early. This can lead to uneven cooking and a dry, tough texture. Make sure to wait until the internal temperature of the meat is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before wrapping it for maximum flavor and tenderness.

Does wrapping in butcher paper speed up cook? ›

Wrapping brisket in butcher paper is the favored method of the top Texas barbecue joints. It speeds up the cooking time like foil does, but still allows some smoke to get through which foil doesn't.

What temperature do you increase after wrapping pork shoulder? ›

Place the wrapped pork back onto the center of the grill, then increase the heat to 300°F and continue to cook. It's common for the internal temperature of a pork shoulder to plateau, or stop climbing for a while, between 165°F and 170°F.

Does wrapping pork shoulder speed up cooking? ›

Speeding Up Smoking Process

Smoking the meat is a long process as it can take hours for the meat to cook. If you want to fasten the process, then you need to wrap the pork shoulder properly. This will retain all the heat and guarantee even distribution so that it can cook faster.

Should you rub a pork shoulder before smoking? ›

Sufficiently coating your pork butt with a rub will help season the meat, bring out the natural flavor of the pork, and help create that great exterior bark as it is smoking. Many good pork rubs have a combination of salt, sugar, paprika, and pepper in varying degrees.

How long does it take to smoke a pork shoulder at 225? ›

At 225, figure roughly 2 hours per pound of meat, so the same piece of smoked pork shoulder takes from 12- 16 hours at 225. There are a lot of factors in how long it takes, including the humidity in the air, how consistent the grill holds temperature, the outside temperature, and more.

Do you rest pork wrapped or unwrapped? ›

If you chose to wrap your pork butt during the cooking process there is no need to unwrap it before the resting period. If anything, it's better to keep it wrapped and keep as much of that moisture touching the meat as possible.

How long does pork shoulder take after wrapping? ›

Place pork butt in aluminum pan and wrap tightly with foil. Place back in smoker (or oven) until internal temperature hits 200. For a 10lb butt this usually takes me 10 - 12 hours. Let rest for an hour before pulling.

Why wrap pork shoulder in butcher paper? ›

The stall can last between 2-6 hours. To help combat that, you can wrap the pork butt in a butcher's paper to reduce the evaporation of liquid, as well as speed up the cooking process. The method of wrapping meat like this is called the Texas crutch.

How do you keep pork shoulder juicy? ›

Try brine: Choose a wet marinade rather than a dry one. Dry rubs may work fine but brine or a wet rub will add that extra moisture along with the flavor that will penetrate deep inside the meat. Keep a spray bottle handy: Keep spraying the meat during smoking or reheating to replace the lost moisture.

What liquid is best for pork shoulder? ›

Chicken Broth – This broth will add some extra flavor to your slow cooker pork shoulder. Beef broth is another one too that can be used when making pulled pork. Apple Cider Vinegar – Just a tiny amount will help to tenderize the crock pot pulled pork.

Do you put pork shoulder fat side up or down after wrapping? ›

Because pork shoulder is so similar to pork butt, it should be cooked with the fat cap facing the direction of the heat source. In most ovens, convection or standard, the main heat source comes from the bottom, so point that fat cap down.

Do you wet butcher paper? ›

Let's try to think about how Butcher Paper works: the paper should be soaked with meat juices to the point where the absorption capacity reaches its limit, making it a sort of leakage plug which, however, ensures a better breathability than foil.

Should you rest meat in butcher paper? ›

Pull the fully cooked meat from the grill. Wrap it in aluminum foil. Better yet, use unwaxed butcher paper to allow a little air flow, which will help maintain the crusty exterior. Swaddle a few old towels around the wrapped meat and place the whole shebang in the ice chest.

Does butcher paper keep meat moist? ›

Wrapping the meat towards the end helps to lock in the meat's internal moisture and heat, keeping it tender and juicy. The loose-fibered and loose-fitting pink butcher paper still allows the meat to breathe and can even help speed up smoking times without drying the meat out.

Do you let pork cool before shredding? ›

Either way, allow the meat to rest for at least 30 minutes before shredding. This allows the juices to redistribute so the pulled pork will be super tender and moist. Plus, it's much easier to shred after it has cooled.

How long should pulled pork rest before shredding? ›

Allow pork butt to rest for as little as 30 minutes to as long as 5 hours; however, the ideal resting period to rest pork butt is between 1 and 2 hours. This gives the meat enough time to relax and allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

What is the highest temperature for butcher paper? ›

Butcher paper can burn up on a scorching grill. So, while it is ideal for smoking, butcher paper shouldn't be used for cooking at temperatures higher than 450˚F (232˚C).

How long can you leave meat in butcher paper? ›

“We recommend using fresh, paper-wrapped meats within three to four days of purchase. If meats are vacuum sealed, you want to use or freeze them within two weeks of the 'packed on' date.”

How high can butcher paper go in oven? ›

Parchment paper can be used up to 420-450 degrees Fahrenheit, while butcher paper has a higher temperature tolerance and can be used up to 500+ degrees Fahrenheit.

Will pork shoulder shred at 190? ›

Pulling the Pork

Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 F to 190 F, it is ready to be pulled. You can serve the meat once it reaches 165 F, but it won't be tender enough to pull apart properly.

What temperature should a 10lb pork shoulder be? ›

10 pound pork roast: Start with the heat at 450° for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 250°F and continue to cook for 8 1/2 to 10 1/2 hours until the middle of the roast registers 180°F.

How do you not overcook pork shoulder? ›

BBQ Host explains that 205-210 degrees Fahrenheit yields perfectly tender pork, but cooking over 210 degrees causes the meat to dry out and toughen up. While cooking your pork, be sure to reserve the juices, fat drippings, or cooking liquid if you're the type to set it and really forget it.

Does pork shoulder get softer the longer you cook it? ›

Unlike the more lean tenderloin and chops, pork shoulder is an incredibly forgiving cut of meat. It becomes more tender as it cooks and benefits from a lengthy cook time, so even if it stays on the heat a few minutes too long, you won't suddenly end up with something dry or rubbery.

Does pork get tougher the longer you cook it? ›

And since overcooking shrinks meat fibers and squeezes our juices, overcooked pork is tough and dry. It's well worth investing in a meat thermometer or slender multi-use digital thermometer, to take away the guesswork .

How do you keep a pork shoulder moist in a smoker? ›

Be sure to keep some moisture in your smoker pan. Beer is good, as is apple cider vinegar or apple juice, but even water will work. You can also add some apple cider vinegar or apple juice to a spray bottle and spritz the pork a few times during smoking.

Is it better to smoke a pork shoulder at 225 or 250? ›

For the best results, smoking pork shoulder at a low temperature of 250°F for 8-10 hours will help ensure that it doesn't dry out.

Does pork get more tender the longer you smoke it? ›

Yes, pork butt will typically become more tender the longer you smoke it at 225 degrees. This is due to the gradual breakdown of the meat fibers over time and the release of fat and juices that help keep it moist and juicy.

How long will a 10 lb pork shoulder take to smoke? ›

When slow-smoking a pork shoulder, you should figure 1 1/2 hours per pound of pork. A 10-pound, bone-in pork shoulder takes a long time to cook, but for the majority of that time it is in the smoker. You can get it started right after breakfast and have it ready in time for dinner.

Is pulled pork better at 195 or 203? ›

Some prefer the slightly firmer texture of pork cooked to 195 degrees Fahrenheit, while others prefer the melt-in-your-mouth texture of pork cooked to 203 degrees Fahrenheit. The good news is that both temperatures will result in delicious pulled pork, so it's just a matter of taste.

How long does it take to smoke a 10 lb pork shoulder at 250? ›

The cook time for pork shoulder is around 90 minutes per pound in a 250° F smoker.

Do you leave the fat cap on pulled pork? ›

Leave the false cap on and remove it after smoking. This idea results in way less bark if you just removed it from the get-go. After smoking they'll pull the pork and then remove pieces of fat that didn't render.

How many people will a 10 pound pork shoulder feed? ›

For example, a raw 10-pound pork shoulder (or two 5-pounders) will yield about 6 pounds of finished meat, serving 12 to 18 people.

How long is too long to rest a pork shoulder? ›

The longest you should let a pork butt roast rest is about two hours. That's because, at this point, the temperature will have dropped down to a level that is approaching the danger zone. You never want to let meat (raw or cooked) sit between 40 degrees and 140 degrees.

Why do butchers use butcher paper? ›

Butcher paper is a special paper product designed for wrapping raw meats and fish to protect against airborne contaminants and flavor contamination.

Why is pork shoulder not shredding? ›

If the pork does not shred easily, it might be due to undercooking or improper cooking methods. In such cases, consider returning the meat to the smoker until it reaches the appropriate temperature, or adjusting the heat and cooking time in your oven or crockpot.

What is the difference between butcher paper and wrapping paper? ›

Butcher paper is engineered to withstand moisture better than kraft paper and offers superior blood, and moisture holdout than standard kraft paper. Learn more about the most popular butcher paper uses. Butcher paper is FDA approved for direct contact with food.

When should I wrap my pork shoulder in foil? ›

Most chefs recommend wrapping your pork butt when it reaches 150-160°F (65-71°C). At this point, the fat has begun to render and you want to prevent further drying out. Once you done wrapping your pork, the final dish should be typically achieved after three to four hours of smoking at temperatures between 225-250°F.

Should I wrap my pork but in foil? ›

Wrap in aluminum foil to keep the meat from getting too much smoke and to catch the moisture being released during the cooking process. Maintain the fire: No need to add any more wood or coals; just maintain the fire and let the butt finish cooking.

Can you wrap pork shoulder in parchment paper? ›

Place roast at one end and roll roast tightly in the parchment. Cut a second piece of parchment and roll the roast, positioning it in the opposite direction before rolling. Cut a long piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and tightly wrap the parchment-wrapped roast.

At what temperature do you wrap a pork shoulder? ›

It is always encouraged to wrap your pork shoulder at some point in the smoking process. Many BBQ pitmasters believe that you should wrap it in foil or peach paper once it hits an internal temperature of 165°.

Should I wrap my pork shoulder in butcher paper? ›

While not all pitmasters wrap their meat in the final stages of a cook, wrapping is an effective way of finishing a long cook without drying out the meat. You can wrap your meat in either foil or butcher paper. There are advantages to both, whether you're cooking brisket, pork butt, or spare ribs.

What is the difference between butcher paper and pink butcher paper? ›

What is pink butcher paper exactly? To get precise for a moment, pink butcher paper is made from FDA-approved, 100% food-grade virgin Southern Pine pulp. The paper is pink because it isn't bleached, unlike the more traditional white butcher paper you'll find in most local butchers.

Do you let pork shoulder rest before shredding? ›

45 minutes is the sweet spot for pulled pork

The Bearded Butchers recommends a minimum rest time of 15 minutes for a six to eight-pound piece of pork, though they say 45 minutes is their sweet spot. The BBQ Host also says that 30-45 minutes is the optimum time to let the meat rest before shredding.


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