Have you heard of grilling wraps? They are a fun and easy way to give smoky and woody flavor to your food.
These wraps are especially handy for those who love that smoky flavor but don’t want to deal with smoking woods.
Perhaps you’re a vegetarian and only grilling a mix of veggies. You probably don’t want the hassle of seasoning wood, cutting it, and storing it.
Then, these grilling wraps are the best solution. Let’s see what they are, how to use them, and a few of the best options to buy.
They are one time use thin strips of wood to wrap your favorite foods in. They are so easy to use; people love them! They have become the trendy new grill must-have!
These grilling wraps are thin as sheets of paper and come in different wood flavors and are recommended for grilling chicken, seafood, and a large variety of vegetables.
You can use grilling wraps on the grill or in the oven, whatever is more convenient for you!
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 A brief history of the grilling wrap
- 2 Benefits of Using Grilling Wraps
- 3 How to use a grilling wrap
- 4 Are they reusable? What about cedar wraps?
- 5 Best products, different woods, and flavors
- 6 Experiment with grilling wraps
A brief history of the grilling wrap
Grilling wraps were inspired by two famous cooking methods: en papillote and planking.
The first is the “en papillote” method, which is just a French term for cooking food wrapped in paper.
Fish en papillote is a popular dish in which fish or salmon is placed in parchment paper and cooked in its own steam in the oven.
The second inspiration for these wood sheets is Native American planking or salmon grill planking.
Native American’s smoked and cooked their fish on large planks of cedarwood to give intense flavor.
Grilling wraps are thus a combination of those two methods.
It’s only in the past five years or so that this product really took off and started to sell very well.
Before that, cedar grilling planks were considered the best way to smoke foods like salmon.
And for many people, planking is still the preferred method but, wraps have become popular with people who have vegan, vegetarian, and alternative diets.
Imagine that you are a vegan and want to make food that has that smoky taste you only get from a smoldering grill.
But you have only an oven, and you can’t go outside to grill. By using grilling wraps, you can make your veggies taste like they’ve been smoking out in the offset smoker!
Benefits of Using Grilling Wraps
There are three main reasons people love using grilling wraps: taste, convenience, and cost.
Let’s discuss taste first.
One of the reasons so many people love using grilling wraps is that this method of grilling and cooking does not dry out your food.
If you are grilling seafood like shrimp, for example, it can quickly get dry and chewy. Wrapping shrimp in grilling paper will keep the meat tender, juicy, and moist.
This juiciness adds to the taste and flavor of the delicious meat. The cedar wood or alder have distinct flavors that grillers are familiar with and already love.
Now, you can infuse all your food with that great flavor.
The second benefit of wraps is convenience.
The concept behind grilling wraps is quite simple actually: as the food is steamed in the wraps, it is infused by the wood from the wraps with steam and wood smoke flavor (i.e., cedar).
This is a natural way of adding flavor to food, and it works on grills, ovens, and even on stovetops.
Using the wraps is so easy; you just wrap the food in a sheet, place, and it on your cooking device, and voila, in a few minutes, your food is ready to eat!
The third benefit of wraps is the price. They are a pretty cheap way to infuse your food with aroma.
In general, one sheet of grilling wrap costs about $1.50, but they come in packs of 4 or 8, which is convenient and affordable.
Of course, some brands charge more for their wraps because they claim to have a superior or gourmet product.
Still, even then, grilling wraps are not considered a ‘luxury’ grilling accessory and are widely accessible to the public.
How to use a grilling wrap
For simplicity’s sake, think of these grilling wraps like Nori paper you use to roll sushi. Grilling wraps are easy to use, and there is no unique technique involved.
The wraps are thin and pliable, making them easy to work with. Even if you don’t consider yourself an expert in folding, the twine will make it easy for you to make the rolls compact.
Here’s how to use them in 5 simple steps:
- Soak the grilling wraps for several minutes, preferably 5-7. The sheets need to be completely submerged in water. (The reason for soaking your wraps is that you need the wood to be damp to avoid flare-ups or the paper potentially catching fire on the grill.)
- Season your food and place it on the wrap and roll up with grain (or parallel to the grain). Fold over the sides of the sheet until they overlap. (You can use any seasoning and marinade for your food, the flavor of the wraps will still infuse your food.)
- Use the twine that is included to tie the wrap tightly. Only use natural string, never tie any plastic to your wrap, or it will melt and destroy the food.
- Place your wrap on the preheated grill, oven, or stovetop pan.
- Be careful not to leave the wraps unattended. The cooking time varies based on the food inside the wood. If you are cooking chicken or pork, it will take longer than seafood and veggies.
Pro tip: if you want to make sure your food doesn’t stick to the grill wrap, add a little bit of olive oil on the inside of the sheet. Also, don’t be afraid to play with the layout of your ingredients until they fit properly onto the sheet. Never overstuff them, or you will end up with pieces falling out, and the wrap won’t look as appetizing.
Prepping the Grill / Oven / Stovetop
Preheat your grill until you reach medium to low heat, or between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place your wraps and grill your food for at least 5 minutes on each side, depending on what you’re grilling. Shrimp, vegetables like asparagus, and white fish cook quickly.
Chicken, pork, and other meats should be cooked longer on each side.
If you are using an oven, preheat your oven, and once it reaches a medium temperature, place the wraps on the middle rack.
Let them cook until they are a burnt brownish color, and the meat or veggies seem fully cooked. You don’t need to flip or turn the wraps while cooking.
If you are using a stovetop, preheat your grill pan until hot. Place the wraps and drizzle with a bit of oil or marinade for even more flavor.
If you are cooking salmon, place it seam down and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip wraps using tongs and cook both sides until golden brown.
Are they reusable? What about cedar wraps?
The grilling wraps are NOT reusable. They are intended for single use. After you’ve used a wrap, it will be scorched, burned, and possibly ripped.
Throw it out and use a new one each time you’re cooking.
Even cedar wraps are single-use. Don’t confuse cedar grilling wraps with grilling planks.
Planks can be reused in some circumstances because they are made of thicker cedarwood, but these wraps are so thin, they won’t last for more than one smoke/cook.
Since the wraps are pliable, they’ll take on the rolled shape so you clearly won’t be able to reuse them and fold them one more time.
These cedar wraps are inexpensive, so always buy some new ones.
Best products, different woods, and flavors
The most popular flavor of grilling wraps is cedar and alder. These are the only two flavors of wraps you can find on Amazon.
They pair well with all types of food and are considered somewhat ‘universal’ flavors
Cedar, specifically red cedar, is known as a classic pairing for salmon. In the Pacific Northwest of the United States, the Native population has been using cedar planks to smoke salmon for centuries.
But, did you also know that cedar wraps can be used to grill all kinds of foods, especially vegetables?
Cedar grilling wraps are best used with: chicken, salmon, shrimp, halibut, scallops, lobster tails, zucchini, asparagus,
Here is one of the top-selling grilling wraps on Amazon:
Wildwood Cedar Grilling Wraps
Dimensions per sheet: 7.25” x 8.”
Customers love these cedar grilling wraps because they are made in the USA out of all-natural cedar wood without the use of additives.
So, the only flavor you’ll get is that authentic smokiness.
Cedar imparts smoky, spicy, and fragrant aroma.
You can also try gourmet red cedar grilling wraps from Amazon:
Camerons Products Gourmet Cedar Wraps
These wraps are a bit smaller, at 6”x8” and come in a four-pack, which is perfect if you are just experimenting with wraps or trying them for the first time.
They can be used on any type of grill, including gas, charcoal, stovetops, and ovens.
Another popular brand of grilling wraps is:
Fire & Flavor Western Red Cedar Wraps
These grilling wraps are natural products, made from 100% red cedar. This type of wood gives the most flavor to any kind of meat or vegetable, and even cheese!
Buy in Bulk
If you are a huge fan of this grilling method and find yourself buying cedar wraps often, consider buying them in bulk from Amazon.
You can get a great deal here: 250 wraps at around $165, which comes out to about 0.66 cents per sheet!
These bulk packs are convenient to have at home. You can store these wraps anywhere as long as it’s away from heat and moisture, you don’t want them becoming damp.
Alder grilling wraps offer a more subtle and light flavor than cedar. The taste is considered medium to mild and has a hint of sweetness.
Alder should be paired with: vegetables, white fish such as halibut, pork, chicken, and shrimp.
Alder grilling wraps are not as popular as cedar. The website Wildwood grilling sells alder flavored grilling wraps in packs of 8.
Experiment with grilling wraps
Did you know you can experiment with your wraps by soaking them in different liquids, not just water?
You can add all kinds of different flavors to your foods by combining the woody smokiness with alcohol and juice.
Juice: soak your grilling wraps in orange, lemon, or lime juice when you’re cooking salmon or other fish to get that intense citrus flavor.
Citrus, especially lemon, is well-known as the best pairing for all kinds of fish dishes.
Tequila: alcohol, like tequila, is an excellent option for soaking your wraps in. This works best with shrimp, lobster, and crab.
It gives the meat a delicious acidic sweetness. Pair with some salsa for an even more authentic Mexican flavor. Try this specialty when cooking for adults!
Wine: soak your sheets in white wine if you are cooking a white fish. It will add a subtle flavor. Use red wine for bold-flavored fish like salmon or bass to get a more intense aroma.
You can buy wine-infused cedar planks, but it’s easy to get that yummy flavor by infusing your wraps with the wine that best pairs with the food inside.
These days, people are always looking for convenience – and these paper-like wood sheets are the easy way to get the most flavor with almost zero hassle.
They are so easy to use people of all ages, and all experience levels are using them.
Many grilling professionals have realized that grilling wraps are an exciting new innovation in the BBQ community.
The smokiness and earthy woody goodness are no longer for the outdoor smoker only!
From our buying guide:
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