Paper Vs Plastic Wrapping For Your Meat: Which Is Better?

Paper Vs Plastic Wrapping For Your Meat: Which Is Better?

It is a fact that most people love food. While there are a few of us that look at it as sustenance and nothing more, the rest of us can see it for the art form that it is. A true cook is an artisan, and the kitchen is their studio, but there are so many parts of food prep that don’t get as much attention as the cooking itself.

A process that is often overlooked in food handling is how it is wrapped before it's even cooked in the first place. Many people assume that all wrapping methods are equal, but there is quite a bit of a difference between the two options. You can choose between either plastic or paper wrapping options.

Wrapping Beef

In today’s article, we’re going to be discussing everything you need to know about the difference between these two meat packing techniques. From how they affect the taste and feel of your meat to how good they are for the environment, we won’t leave out a single aspect in this in-depth comparison guide.

Butcher Paper Vs. Vacuum Sealed

Plastic Wrap

The first choice is also the most common one, and it consists of vacuum-sealing the meat with plastic wrap, which is supposed to improve the time you can store it. Plastic wrap is the more affordable alternative, and many people prefer it due to the peace of mind they get from the vacuum seal.

Steak Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is a form of kraft paper which is made similarly to cardboard, but that’s where the similarities end. This type of paper is designed specifically to keep meat fresh and tasting good over the period that it’s stored. You can’t vacuum seal your meat with this paper, but wrapping it tightly has nearly the same effect, if not better.

Benefits Of Each Option

Let’s go over where each choice excels over the other one, so you can get an idea of which of these two options should work best for your needs. Some of us choose to store their meat for longer periods of time while others may prefer to cook it as soon as it arrives, and each wrapping method has its pros and cons.

Beef Wrapping Paper


When you wrap your meat in paper, you'll find that the taste comes out much better because the beef doesn't get any of that plastic taste to it, which can often be leached away from the wrapping. If you've ever noticed that flavor in your meat, it's likely that you'll prefer wrapping paper.


When you store your meat in wrapping paper, you’ll also find that it comes out on top when it comes to tenderness since the meat still has air around it. Contrary to what some may think, vacuum-sealing your meat isn’t always the best option, and it can actually affect the tenderness negatively.


We are often asked, “Is freezer paper the same as butcher paper?” While there are some slight differences, you’ll find that freezing your meat in wax-lined butcher paper is one of the best ways that you can avoid freezer burn developing. If you like freezing your meat, then wrapping paper is perfect for you.

Wrapping Beef In Paper

Plastic Wrap

Vacuum Seal

One of the main advantages of plastic wrap is that it can provide a vacuum seal for your meat, which is not possible with beef wrapping paper. If you plan on storing your meat in the refrigerator for a longer period of time, then you’ll typically want to stick to plastic wrap for this very property.


Another key advantage to plastic wrap and one of the reasons why it’s grown so popular at the expense of butcher paper is because it is a bit more affordable. While you likely won’t notice much of a difference when buying it for yourself, it can matter in the bulk levels that butchers buy it in.

Why You Should Favor Paper Over Plastic

You may be thinking that this is just a case of nostalgia, believing that the older option is better than the new one, but you'll find that butcher paper has a lot to show for itself. Let's go over some of the primary reasons why you should prefer butcher paper when wrapping your meat instead of plastic.

The Shelf Life Doesn’t Change That Much

If you properly wrap your meat in butcher paper, you’ll find that the vacuum seal of plastic wrap doesn’t make all that much of a difference. Properly wrapped beef in paper can last in your refrigerator for up to five days, provided that it has been aged properly and it is a quality cut.

Most of the time, you won't be able to exceed this five-day limit, even if the plastic has been sealed. There is also the benefit of wrapping paper being the better choice for meat in the freezer, so you have a lot more versatility when it comes to storing your food for the long-term.

Flavor Is Everything

When it comes to cooking, you’ll always want to make the best-tasting meals, and wrapping paper improves the quality of your dishes more than you would expect. Not only in terms of flavor, but also when it comes to tenderness, your steaks, roasts, and anything else you make will be much better off.

Hazards Of Plastic Wrap


If there is a hole in your plastic wrap which you had not noticed, you may find that the vacuum seal has failed unknowingly, resulting in spoiled meat. This is typically less likely to happen with wrapping paper because you would notice a tear and it is typically sturdier.

Holes On Plastic Wrap


As you can see from our short guide, plastic wrap tends to be inferior to butcher paper in almost every way except for cost and the ability to vacuum seal it. We hope that this article has helped you determine which meat wrapping method works best for you.

Leave a Comment: