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To Foil, or Not to Foil...

NilsNils Posts: 82
edited 2:44AM in EggHead Forum
That is the question!

Long time, first time. (Long time griller, first time egg owner). Lets see, in two weeks I've already cooked 5 sets of appetisers, two deserts, 3 sets of steaks, tri-tip twice, and two sets of veggies - so I have a long way to go still. Oh, and I've already replaced my gasket (felt one - came loose after third cook, no glue residue where it came off, so never really adheared IMHO)

Never used foil to wrap what ever I am cooking - but see that many folks use it after 2-3 hours for stuff like ribs & pulled pork (from what I've read on the forums thus far). I suspect this may be along the lines of religious wars, or Mac versus PC... but I'll dare to ask anyway.

What's the expectation from wrapping stuff in foil part way through a longer cook?

Is it:
A) increased moisture retention?
B) keep the meat from further browning?
C) inhibit additional smokiness?
D) keep the exposed ends from overcooking?
E) all of the above
F) none of the above
G) beats me, just sounded like something to do!

I'm all for experimentation and trying something new, but would like to know what is expected from doing this.

Thanks in advance for your response!


  • My short answer is that foil is basically like steaming..its going to soften up the meat...too long in the foil and it will turn to mush

    Generally, I do not foil..for ribs, I just have to cook them longer to get same result.
  • SqueezeSqueeze Posts: 707
    To me it is the consistency of knowing that I can plan a cook based on time and not having to worry about is it done? When you purposefully cook the same size pork but, you can be within 30 minutes on when it is going to finish. Same goes for ribs and brisket. I can produce an amazing "non steamed" product with foil but the consistency of the product is what is most important.

  • I am in the no foil camp with exceptions.

    For the most part I feel foiling is like taking a shower with a rain coat on. I bought the egg for the natural lump flavor in the food. If I foil then I think I may as well cook in the oven.

    Now the exceptions. I was cooking a butt with the fast cook method. I got talking with thirdeye and he told me to watch the bark and when it is where I want it then tent/foil to protect.

    Again, thirdeye's help. I foil if I need to speed up a cook. I was doing a brisket or butt for a family dinner and ran out of time. Came to the forum for help and was told to foil and take the dome temp from 225° to 375°. Saved me!!

    I never foil corn or spuds - ever, ever ever!

    I use foil with parchment when making large pepper n' cheese. It usually takes me 45 min to 1:30 to get the peppers n' cheese the way I want them.

    I make a foil pouch and leave it open to get the smoke flavor into the pepper and cheese. About 20 minutes into the cook I seal off each pepper and it steams to a nice completed stage. This foiling really works well.

    I haven't used the 3,1,1 method on ribs.

    One needs to find what they like and then experiment to see where the cooks settle in.

  • bubba timbubba tim Posts: 3,216
    OK, many of the members of this forum know my passion about the Foil or Not to Foil debate. You can even go to and check out the cooks page and see a sidei by side comparison. Here is what I suggest, YOU try both methods. Try the 3-1-1 method and at the same time try the old school way. Then make up your own mind.
    After all, I am not eating it, your family and friends are! Make sense? :)
    SEE YOU IN FLORIDA, March 14th and 15th 2014 You must master temp, smoke, and time to achive moisture, taste, and texture! Visit for BRISKET HELP
  • For the most part, I think it's moisture related. I had a hard time with dry ribs at first, 'til I tried foiling. The results were so good, that I stopped experimenting. Now I do it the same way every time. I don't think you can get an answer from anyone but yourself. Do it both ways and see which results in the best texture and taste for you. Try different liquids, and try different amounts of liquids inside your foil pack. Car Wash Mike coached me thru the different processes and their modifications. Turns out, he doesn't foil at all, but he showed me how to get meaningful and different results, so I could make up my own mind. I usually foil with about 8 oz. of apple cider vinegar during the 4th hour, but for only about 1/2 of the hour. Have fun.

    Good luck.
  • This will kind of explain it. I would rec. you try it and if you like..fine.. if not..cookem straight up.

  • Foiling will certainly speed up a rib cook if you're behind schedule. I have done the 3-1-1 and it certainly works and give a good product....BUT, I prefer to let em' ride at 250 until they pass the tong-lift test. I never get "fall of the bone" tender this way, which is a good thing for my preferences.

    Everytime I have used the 3-1-1, the meat doesn't tear off the bone (as I prefer), it falls off...just a matter of preference. I also believe foiling "greys" the meat, eliminating some smoke ring, and more importantly, some of that killer smoked rib flavor I crave.

    Good luck!
  • The answer is "E".

    In addition to the aforementioned I would add the following:
    Some foods are more sensitive to smoke and some eaters are more sensitive to smoke so sometimes I have foiled veggies for that reason. Also to keep them from charring if they are direct or not blocked by a platesetter on an indirect cook.
  • I have never, ever foiled! My ribs, brisket and butts turn out great...never dry and always tender and juicy.

  • NilsNils Posts: 82
    Okay -

    I ran my "control test" cook with a rack of babybacks, unfoiled, indirect, for 3.5 hours at 275 deg F.

    Were indeed the most tender I have ever cooked myself - but were dryer than anticipated. Still tasty, but I like a bit higher moisture retention.

    Being the weekend Backyard Scientist type, going to repeat twice more: Once with foil part way through, and again with a drip pan with "special" liquid in it - special, because I have not decided what to use yet ;)
  • bubba timbubba tim Posts: 3,216
    The reason you were a little on the dry side was you were too high on the temp would be my take. But also bear in mind that when I do low N slow, I don't go over 220. Try it, you may like it. It will add some time to your cook. More time to play. :woohoo: :woohoo:
    SEE YOU IN FLORIDA, March 14th and 15th 2014 You must master temp, smoke, and time to achive moisture, taste, and texture! Visit for BRISKET HELP
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