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To Foil or Not?

I have read often the passionate debate on foil vs not foiling.  I tried it once for part of a butt cook, and I thought it made the bark soggy so I have stayed away from it.  However, I am reading the new APLang cookbook (well the old just newly rereleased cookbook actually), and he discusses foiling and he does foil for a couple of hours during his butt recipe cook--which I was going to cook Labor Day weekend.

So, I am torn--I want to try his recipe but I wanted to stay away from foiling due to prior experience.  I was glad to at least read his explanation--the foiling is to help keep in some moisture. Then, most importantly, he explained that a cooker full of meat has plenty of moisture in it, but if you put one butt in a big old cooker, you don't have a cooker full of meat and moisture.  This made sense to me finally, and I know the BGE naturally retains a lot more moisture during cooking than a regular offset smoker (same thinking, need drip pan with liquid in it on smoker, not really needed on BGE).   I also know the smoke/air coming out of BGE when you open the lid is in fact very humid/moist--it will fog your glasses just like opening a hot diswasher. 

So, my take away is I need to always to several butts at a time--more moisture, and probably no need to foil.  Things like ribs, with lots of air space in the cooker, maybe foiling helps.

I think when I do his butt recipe Labor Day, I will do one butt exactly per his recipe (with foil as specifed for a bit) and then one butt his recipe but omit foiling.  This will give me a good comparison side by side to see which is better.  Will report back post cook (with pics of course)


  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,746
    ST81 I have never done together as you are saying but done with and without and no real dif that I can see.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 14,015
    Sounds like a plan. I think that he is writing that to accommodate the majority of cooks; many without a cooker like the Egg.
  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,325
    I've been Egging for a couple of years and didn't foil because didn't need to on a LBGE. HOWEVER. Because everybody does it I've been trying it. And what I mean by everybody is the folks you see on BBQ Pitmasters and some others on YouTube, including Aaron Franklin and his briskets. And maybe it's because except for one or maybe two people using Eggs everybody else uses bigger stuff and therefore the scenario you mention about volume of meat/moisture to volume of the smoker is the reason. Everybody seems to foil once the meat 'accepts all the smoke it's going to accept', or ~ 160F IT, until done or nearly done before sometimes putting it back on to 'crisp the bark back up'. I've decided on my own, however, that FTC for a couple of hours always improves the product even if it softens the bark, which they rarely have time for on BBQ Pitmasters type shows.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,948
    A couple of weeks ago, my wife mentioned she needed to bring something in for a staff pot luck, and I volunteered to do PP. Completely forgot about the promise. Thursday morning, my wife says "So, you're cooking pulled pork today?"  Moment of panic, doubled by the fact that we had returned home from a vacation a few days earlier, and I was kinda jet-lagged. Think quick.

    Best would have been an all nighter, w. the PP still warm in a cooler for the meal. But not trusting I could do that, time for "!TURBO MODE ON!" Finished a 9 lb picnic between lunch and dinner. 3.5 hours, dome 300. 3 hours and getting into the stall. Foiled for 1.5 more. Portions had reached 205F, so I did some rotating and flipping, and continued foiled for another hour. Another 1/2 hour out of foil, at 6 hours, I was mostly finding 200+ temps.

    Results. Mushy bark, but tasted OK. As w. other turbo cooks I've done, not all pullable. Needed to slice some. Mixed in extra butter into the hot pork before bagging. All but about a half sandwich worth was eaten, so the effort was successful.

    Still, not quite as good as maybe 14 - 18 hours at 250, no foil.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,792
    @gdenby-regardless @Mickey will be your BFF :)
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
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