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Foil or NO foil?

Warchant76Warchant76 Posts: 1
edited March 2012 in EggHead Forum
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to ask everyone's opinion on the forum on whether they foil or not during their cook. The place I buy my charcoal from says to foil. For example if I'm doing baby back ribs I will do them at 225 for 4 hours with 2 of smoke and the other 2 wrapped in foil. I will say they come out great but most people I talk with say absolutely not to foil. So I've done multiple pork butta that way maybe 6 hours of smoke and 6 hours in foil and they turned out excellent as well. I then did my last pork putt the same way but decided not to foil. I wasn't using a meat probe from my BBQ Guru device but still did the pork butt at 225 for 1.5 hrs/lb This butt was dry as a bone and I do realize it could have been just a bad piece of meat however my question is do you reduce the amount of time if you aren't covering in foil for half the cook? I apologize if this is a dumb question but would really like to know from the experts out there and will take any advice and times/temps for the different meats out there! Thanks again!!



  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 848
    In my experience when you don't cover with foil you need to increase your time, in any case I suggest you use a probe and cook to temperature.

  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273

    My thought is that I typically do not use foil while cooking.   That said, I make an estimate how long I "think" something will cook - build my schedule on that.   I am a big believer in cooking to "temp" and tenderness.   If I encounter a BB, brisket, or ribs that is taking longer than I expect - then sometimes I will use foil to finish up faster.   Does give me a bit of margin to pick up some time if needed, but unless I need to speed up - no foil.


    Cookin in Texas
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,776
    Foiling traps the meat's own heated moisture, which helps the connective tissue break down. It also allows other fluids to be added for extra flavor. It can shorten the cooking time. I will use it if I need to cook faster, or am doing something I have trouble with, like brisket. I haven't used it for ribs for years. I've experimented with it for PP to see if I can speed up the process, but found that just raising the temperature to 325 works as well, if not better.

    Part of this is personal preference. I like as crusty of a bark as i can get, and I don't get results that i like as well when foiling.

    I'm a little surprised at the dry pork butt. How heavy was it? I've had some problems with pieces under 4 pounds that were somewhat dry, but not bone dry. 225 dome at 1.5/lb unfoiled would probably not be done. The average is dome 250, 1.5 - 2 hours/lb. Pork starts to be pullable around 190, and generally falls apart at 205. With the temperature being 225, the heat is going to have trouble "pushing" deep into the meat to get it to 205.
  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,810
    I typically only foil after the meat is done and I'm resting it in a cooler.
    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • BuckeyeBobBuckeyeBob Posts: 654
    edited March 2012
    I will sometimes foil like you do on ribs with 2 hours no foil and with the smoke, 1 hour in foil with some apple juice and brown sugar on top, and then 30-60 minutes back without foil to firm up the outside a little and add my sauce.

    Also will use foil when I do a turbo brisket flat cooked at 350 or so temp indirect. Cook unfoiled until you hit 165 then foil with some beef broth and then cook until you can insert and remove the temp probe in the meat with little or no resistance. Downside this way is you lose the heavy bark. Upside is that the flat doesn't dry out and is done quickly.
    Clarendon Hills, IL
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 17,990
    ill foil ribs if im cooking for a good sized crowd, alot seem to like fall apart ribs that are sweet, foil makes this easy. i like a firmer rib, not too sweet with a vinegar modified sauce to drag the ribs thru if im making them for my self and then i dont use foil. i do mine raised direct when im just cooking a rack or to for myself or family
  • Steve753Steve753 Posts: 113
    I do not use foil. For one thing, the Egg traps moisture in itself during the cooking process. I have cooked four racks of spare ribs that have turned out wonderful without foil.
    Large Big Green Egg
    Weber Gold
    Old Smokey

    San Diego, Ca
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    like fishless says.

    also, if you DO decide to foil, two hours will make  rib soup.  might wanna dial back to just an hour in foil.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • horsefleshhorseflesh Posts: 204
    I started egging with no foil on baby back ribs/pork shoulder. I tried adding foil and liked the results better. 

    For ribs, my typical approach is 3-1-1: 3 hours unfoiled indirect in smoke, 1 hour indirect in foil stewing with apple cider etc, and up to 1 hour of saucing and flipping on direct heat (but usually less). 

    For pork shoulder, I start a 2x7 lb cook in the evening and foil it when I get back to it in the morning, about 12 hours later, at which time the temp is somewhere around 170-190. At that point the bark is about where I like it. I find that cooking the meat uncovered past this point makes for a slightly better bark in places, but also makes some of the outermost layers too dry to eat. The meat then stays in the foil with a basting liquid until it hits my desired internal temperature. 

    When using foil, I try not to seal the foil completely and I still lay on the smoke in the hopes that more will stick, because I can't have too much smoke flavor. Liquids will be topped up if they get too low. I am not sure how much smoke really penetrates during the foil stages though, I haven't run any tests. However I always have a nice smoke ring on the final product. 

    When I think I have a cook really figured out on the Egg, I usually check the forum for other people's techniques to try too in case there are better ideas out there. I may even simplify the cook by removing steps to see if they really make a difference. (bye bye, mustard!) 
  • Awesome info everyone! It's great to hear how different folks coo their meat! I will let you know how my next rack of ribs and pork butt turn out!!
  • I've done both, and found I've gotten better results without foiling during the cook. I always foil after the cook during the rest period. Foiling during the cook seems to alter the texture of the meat, although does speed up the cook. It really just comes down to personal preference.

     "Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!"

    Med & XL

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