Should You Wrap Ribs In Butcher Paper Or Foil? (Which Is Better?) Updated December 2022


Ribs are a great cut of meat and when they are cooked well they are delicious. When you are grilling your ribs or smoking them (to get that amazing smoke flavor) at a lower temperature the cook time for them to be ready can vary greatly. However, no matter which method you use you can have delicious ribs. 

If you are a grill master, you may have heard of a method of cooking meat called the Texas Crutch.

This common technique involves wrapping the meat in butcher paper instead of the traditional aluminum foil. It is known to give the meat lots of flavor and make it incredibly moist. 

This method is very commonly used for meat like brisket or pork butt. But what about ribs?

Can you wrap ribs in butcher paper as well?

Although it is recommended to wrap ribs in foil, you can wrap ribs in butcher paper in its final stages of cooking. When you wrap ribs in butcher paper, it keeps the meat moist but not too soggy.

Should You Wrap Ribs In Butcher Paper Or Foil?

You can wrap ribs in butcher paper. Spare ribs are a common cut of meat that are cooked using this method, but any pork ribs or beef ribs can be wrapped in butcher paper and grilled as well. 

The main reasons to wrap the ribs (or any meat) in foil or butcher paper are to keep them moist and tender while also cutting down on your cooking time. This is because without wrapping your ribs moisture escapes and they can quickly start to dry out. 

By using the Texas Crutch method, you are also able to control the color and smokiness of the meat. 

It can also be a good way to maintain the temperature until you are ready to serve it. Butcher paper or foil is used to wrap the meat when it is almost done cooking. This will keep moisture and flavor in so the meat soaks it all up. After wrapping the ribs tightly in the butcher paper or foil, it is placed back on the grill to finish cooking. 

Although foil is said to work better than butcher paper it can be used to wrap ribs in for cooking.

Is It Better To Wrap Ribs In Foil Or Butcher Paper?

Foil vs butcher paper. Some use foil for wrapping their ribs and claim it makes them better, while some wrap their ribs in butcher paper and claim it works better than the foil does. So, which is it? 

Is it better to wrap ribs in foil or butcher paper?

Wrapping ribs gives them more flavor and will give you much more tender ribs. Both foil and butcher paper are good to use to cook ribs in. It is simply a matter of personal preference which is the better wrapping to use to cook ribs in.

To wrap the ribs, you will need to use either foil or butcher paper. It is said that foil is better to use but butcher paper also gets the job done. The difference between using foil or butcher paper for the Texas Crutch method in cooking ribs is very similar. 

Foil is just slightly better in the way its bark turns out. But then again, there are some who say that butcher paper delivers a better bark. So, they are both good to use. 

To know which kind of wrapping is better to use, try them both out and find out for yourself which one works the best to give you tender and moist rib racks. 

How Do You Use Butcher Paper For Ribs?

Wrapping ribs in butcher paper helps them to cook more quickly. While you don’t have to do this step when you are cooking ribs, it can shorten the cooking process as well as make the ribs more flavorful and moist. 

So, how do you use butcher paper for ribs?

Wrapping ribs in butcher paper is easy and simple to do. You basically just let the meat cook until it is almost done, wrap it using a special technique and put it back on the grill. Wrapping ribs with butcher paper is the same as wrapping them with foil.

To wrap ribs in butcher paper, place them in the center of the paper, bone side up. Then fold the long end of the butcher paper over the ribs and repeat with the other end of the butcher paper so that they are all overlapping. 

The next step is to tuck the top portion of the paper around the bottom of the rack of ribs and then bring up the bottom edge and tuck in the corner. This will fully encase the ribs in the butcher paper wrapping.

Since the butcher paper wrapping should be tight, make sure to check that the paper conforms to the shape of the ribs as closely as possible. Now, you are ready to cook the ribs according to whatever recipe you are using. 

The video, How to Smoke Ribs Experiment: Texas Crutch – Foil vs Butcher Paper, shows exactly how to use butcher paper for cooking ribs.

How To Prepare Your Ribs For Grilling/Smoking

You just got some perfect ribs (mmm anyone for some baby back ribs) from your local butcher and are ready to begin grilling or smoking them. But what exactly are the steps that you need to take to get the best results for your delicious ribs? 

1. The first thing that you will want to do with your ribs after removing them from the packaging is to get them completely dry. The best way to do this is to simply use a paper towel and pat the ribs to remove the moisture. 

Once they are dry you can move on to step two. 

2. Once your ribs are dry you will want to remove the connective tissue (membrane) from the underside of your rack of ribs. Although you’re not required to remove the membrane if you don’t want to, it does help the dry rub get into the meat a lot better. 

It will also get rubbery when cooking so removing it is a good idea. Thankfully removing the membrane is not a difficult process and only takes a minute or two to do. 

Once the membrane is removed you will then need to place your ribs on a baking tray. 

3. Create a nice dry rub (using things such as brown sugar, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder etc.) or simply buy a nice dry rub at your local store or online. 

4. Rub oil (vegetable oil, olive oil, etc.) on the ribs meat side and then apply the dry rub (if using a liquid sauce you can skip this step). Flip your rack of ribs over and then apply the oil and dry rub to the surface of the meat on that side as well. 

Just make sure to get the dry rub everywhere on the exterior of the meat. Note: Make sure to get the oil and dry rub on the sides of the ribs as well. 

5. Pour a liquid (I prefer apple juice or apple cider vinegar) in a large disposable pan. You can get these for cheap at your local dollar store or Walmart. 

6. Place the prepared ribs inside of the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Then you will need to heat your grill (to 300-325 degrees) and pop your pan of ribs right on there. 

Make sure your grill isn’t too hot as to keep your ribs moist you will want them cooking at a lower temperature not a high one. 

7. When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145 degrees they will be safe to eat (according to the USDA) however many people prefer to leave their ribs cooking this way until they reach an internal temp of 175 to 200 degrees. 

The cooking time can be between 1-2 hours on the grill (depending on your exact grill temps) so make sure to leave enough time before dinner for this process. 

8. Remove the ribs from the pan and put directly onto the grill grate. At this point you can either add BBQ sauce or just leave them as is. Some chefs will add their “secret sauce” at this point as well. 

After the ribs have been directly on the grill for 5-10 minutes you will want to flip them over and then put the barbecue sauce on the other side as well. 

9. Once you have a nice bark on the outside of the ribs you are ready to remove them from your grill. Be sure and give them plenty of time to cool before slicing since they will typically be 175-200 degrees (as mentioned above). 

10. Once your ribs have started to cool a bit you can then slice them and serve! 

If you do all of these steps right you probably won’t even need to use a sharp knife to cut your ribs apart. Ribs that are grilled or smoked properly can easily be cut with a fork or butter knife. 

Final Thoughts

You can wrap ribs in butcher paper. This way of cooking the meat will make it flavorful and moist. It also helps the meat to cook faster. 

Foil is also used to wrap ribs with. Both butcher paper and foil deliver great and similar results. 

It is simple to use butcher paper to wrap ribs with. Just follow some of the helpful tips mentioned in this article on how to wrap them. To cook some tasty ribs quickly, wrap them in butcher paper.

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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