How to wrap ribs in butcher paper

Last Updated on: 7th November 2023, 09:03 am

After being adopted by various pitmasters in their smoking procedures, butcher paper has completely taken over the smoking industry.

It helps you beat stall and protects your meat from drying out during the smoking process.

When it comes to smoking ribs, butcher paper can help to avoid the over-smoking of ribs, make them tender, and also keep them warm for a longer time.

Related: how to keep ribs warm

It is preferred over foil because it allows your meat to breathe so that it does not get mushy due to the accumulation of moisture.

Wrapping ribs in a butcher paper is not rocket science and you can master it after some practice.

It is similar to wrapping in foil, although you will have to be careful about placing it in direct contact with fire because it will catch fire.

Here is a step-by-step guide to wrapping ribs in butcher paper.

Wrapping ribs in butcher paper

As simple as it seems, butcher paper may be used to wrap ribs.

If you have prior expertise in wrapping things in foil, you may complete this technique without any difficulty.

Even if you’ve never wrapped ribs before, you can accomplish it by using the detailed instructions below.

Ribs should be wrapped when the temperature of the ribs is around 150°F.

You should consider taking them out at this temperature and wrapping them to beat the stall. You can also follow the 3-2-1 method for smoking ribs.

  1. You must first gather the sheets of butcher paper that will be used to wrap the ribs.

    These sheets are available at nearby barbecue shops or online at Make sure that these sheets are food quality and free of wax.
  2. Since these sheets are often not very wide, ribs cannot be included inside a single sheet of them. As a result, you will need to lay two sheets of butcher paper parallel to one another so that they overlap.
  3. Then, you have to think about putting ribs in the middle of these sheets. To ensure proper wrapping, make sure the ribs are positioned in the middle so that both sheets may be wrapped around a single piece.
  4. You should think about wrapping the ribs in the paper after placing them in the middle of the butcher paper.
    To wrap the ribs in butcher paper, place them at the end of the paper sheets and roll them over.
  5. You might think about eliminating any air from the butcher paper after rolling the ribs in it once.
    The corners of the butcher paper may then be picked up and tucked beneath the rack.
  6. You should think about drawing the ribs back a little after tucking the corners to wrap it firmly and get rid of any air within.
    The air in the butcher paper might alter how the ribs appear as the moisture level rises.
  7. You should think about rolling the ribs over the butcher paper along the length of the sheet after securely wrapping them.
    The length of the sheet should allow the ribs to be rolled at least 2-4 times.
  8. You need to have kept your ribs covered in the butcher paper up to this point.
    Now you may proceed by putting it into the smoker if you intend to smoke it more or by taping it shut if you intend to send it to someone else.
  9. To raise the temperature of the ribs and ensure adequate cooking, you should smoke them for two hours.
    The ribs will become sufficiently pliable to be readily removed from the bones.
  10. You should think about removing and unwrapping your ribs after two hours. Place the ribs back into the smoker after that.
    Before being served, it enables the ribs to develop a smoky taste and better bark.

You should keep it out of the direct heat when putting it into the smoker.

Because butcher paper is comprised of natural wood pulp and can catch fire when in contact with heat, it may impair the flavor and look of the ribs.

Factors that determine how long it takes to wrap ribs

Without considering the many aspects of your smoking process, it is quite impossible to say when to wrap your ribs in butcher paper.

The key elements of smoking time are described here.

rib size

The length of time it takes to wrap your ribs is primarily determined by the size of the ribs you are smoking.

The longer it takes for the ribs to fully absorb the smoke and enter the stall, the bigger they get.

It will probably take less time for a smaller quantity of ribs to reach an internal temperature and absorb more smoke than a greater quantity.

After smoking for 3–4 hours, ribs weighing 7 pounds or less may often be wrapped.

bigger ribs will take a longer time to smoke and will thus have a bigger surface area before being wrapped.

Ribs that weigh more than 10 pounds typically require 5-7 hours to smoke correctly.

smoking temperature

The temperature of the smoker is the second factor that influences the wrapping time. It will take the ribs less time to reach the stall if the smoker’s temperature is greater.

When you get to the stall, you can proceed to wrap your ribs to raise the internal temperature.

You will need time to wrap the ribs since it will take longer for them to get to the stall if the smoker’s temperature is lower than it needs to be for optimum rib cooking.

Therefore, you shouldn’t just rely on the passage of time to determine whether or not to wrap.


The bark of the ribs is the third element that might impact how quickly they are wrapped. No one wants to eat a piece of meat with a great flavor but an unappealing look, so keep that in mind.

The quantity of smoke that the ribs have absorbed is also indicated by the bark.

Before choosing how to wrap the ribs, you should think about thoroughly inspecting their look.

If the ribs have a thick bark, you should cover them to prevent darkening; however, if the bark is thin, it will take a little longer to wrap the ribs in butcher paper.

internal humidity

The interior wetness of the ribs is the last aspect that affects when to wrap them. Consider covering the ribs if they are fragile or have begun to dry out early to prevent drying out.

Usually, 3 hours of smoking is when ribs should be wrapped.

why wrap ribs in butcher paper

Wrapping ribs in a butcher paper is a personal choice.

There is no limitation that you have to wrap your ribs with butcher paper, aluminum foil,parchment paper or to wrap it at all.

Butcher paper can be used to preserve it from drying out and excessive smoking.

To begin with, covering ribs prevents them from drying out while they are being smoked.

The moisture from the ribs is evaporated when the butcher paper captures it and deposits it back onto the ribs. This aids in keeping the ribs soft.

Second, butcher paper guards against excessive smoking of meat.

Smoke begins to collect on the meat’s surface once the bark has formed and ceases permeating the flesh.

It can result in over-smoking and a bitter taste in the mouth.

By covering it in butcher paper, the smoke is prevented from coming into direct contact with the ribs, lowering the risk of over-smoking.

when to wrap ribs in butcher paper

There is no black-and-white answer to this question because different pitmasters use different metrics to decide when to wrap their ribs in butcher paper.

The most common of them are based on the temperature, time, and color of smoked ribs.

You should preferably wrap your ribs when they have a good smoky appearance, have been exposed to smoke for at least a couple of hours, and the internal temperature of ribs is around 150°F.

It will allow you to wrap your ribs at the best time possible.

Wrapping ribs by taking into account the time

Some pitmasters use the temperature as a determinant of the perfect time to wrap ribs.

The reason for this is that when the internal temperature of ribs reaches around 150°F, it stalls and the temperature stops rising.

By wrapping ribs at this temperature, you can make sure to beat the stall and increase the temperature rapidly.

The ribs become tender and are cooked properly when the internal temperature of the ribs is around 190-200°F.

Wrapping ribs by taking into account the time

The second technique is to take into account the time of ribs being smoked. It usually follows the 2-2-1 or 3-2-1 methods.

It is a technique by which you want to smoke ribs for 3 hours, then cook them while being wrapped, and finally smoke them unwrapped for the last hour.

When smoking ribs by the 3-2-1 method, ribs are first placed in the smoker for 3 hours to allow it to be smoked properly.

After that, the ribs are taken out of the smoker and wrapped in butcher paper.

After wrapping, they are placed back into the smoker for 2 hours to increase their internal temperature and cook properly.

Finally, after 2 hours, the ribs are again taken out of the smoker and smoked for 1 hour to allow the ribs to have some smokey flavor and good bark.

Wrapping ribs by taking into account the color of the ribs

The last technique to determine when to wrap your rib is to examine the color of the ribs. 

It is based on the fact that if the ribs have absorbed enough smokey flavor, then their color will change to dark or pinkish.

So if the color of the ribs indicates that they have absorbed enough smoke, you can take the ribs out and wrap them in butcher paper.

Finally, you should consider smoking ribs for some time without wrapping them to allow them to have a good bark.

Is it better to wrap ribs too early?

You should keep in mind that wrapping ribs too early is as dangerous for ribs as wrapping them too late.

If you wrap ribs too early then ribs will not have enough time to absorb the smoky flavor. Due to this, they will have a mild smokey flavor.

frequently asked questions

here are some faqs that you might have.

what temp to wrap ribs in butcher paper

The ribs are wrapped when the internal temperature is around 150 °F because, at this temperature, the moisture in the ribs starts evaporating and cools down the surface of the meat.

Due to this, the internal temperature of the ribs shows a plateau.
This plateau of temperature is known as the stall. Wrapping ribs inside a butcher paper helps us to beat the stall.

The reason is that the butcher paper traps the moisture and avoids evaporation. due to which the internal temperature increases as a result of streaming
Butcher paper allows us to skip the stall stage by just wrapping ribs at 150°F.

The surface of butcher paper is also porous, which lets smoke sink and a small amount of moisture escape.
This makes the taste and appearance of the food better at the same time.

Is it better to wrap ribs too late?

Wrapping ribs late is also bad for the ribs’ flavor. You can smoke ribs without wrapping them throughout the smoking process.

But if you want to get the benefits of wrapping, then you should make sure to wrap at the right time.

If you fail to do so and wrap too late, then the ribs will be over-smoked and have a bitter taste.

Moreover, you will also have to experience stall, due to which the smoking time will be increased and tenderness of ribs will be reduced due to evaporation of moisture.

The final Verdict

Ribs are usually wrapped in butcher paper and foil. You should choose one that you like.

Furthermore, they are wrapped at 150°F to avoid stalling and quickly raise the temperature of the ribs. should consider examining the ribs carefully before wrapping them.

Jakob miller