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Foiled by foil?

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    Foiled by foil?

    At the risk of replies of "what were you thinking?", "Duh!" etc, I am curious what the experts in the Pit think of our experience. I was working late and it was hot and humid. Dinner was a green Chile chicken, rice and corn casserole type thing that we decided to cook in the OG before I got home, rather than the oven (to avoid heating up the house). Trying to avoid smoke damage to a nice ceramic baking pan, my better half wrapped it in foil before placing it in the OG. After cooking for an hour at 350 F awaiting my arrival that night, (the recipe usually takes 30 minutes in the kitchen oven) the chicken was still quite undercooked. My loving and very hungry family quickly blamed my pellet grill. I blamed the foil.
    Am I correct? Can I be allowed a chance at vindication?

    It wasn't at 350. Assuming everything else is the same, the foil shouldn't make that much difference. So by process of elimination, I'm betting that the dish was either a) much colder than usual (partly frozen if brought out of the freezer etc) and/or the OG just wasn't at 350. The source of the heat doesn't matter for things like that.

    PS: I'm assuming they closed the lid on the OG of course. If not, well.....


    • IFindZeroBadCooks
      IFindZeroBadCooks commented
      Editing a comment

    • DrJimmy2112
      DrJimmy2112 commented
      Editing a comment
      See below - I do not think those explain the matter. Lid was closed, OG working normally before and since, dish was never frozen.
      Consider the Apollo 13 story of the crew surviving re-entry to the atmosphere in the thin aluminum walled space craft. I believe it works well as a heart shield.

    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      Huh. I mean, I agree foil can act as a reflector, I just wouldnt have thought it would make such a difference that 2x the time would leave the dish still underdone. But if that's the only difference and you're sure the OG was at 350... I guess it did. Wild.

    Getting to the bottom of this is going to require a Fireboard with two extra air probes and a set of competition probes, a Themapen or two, and a new tablet to track the results. What you have here is an opportunity, not a problem.
    Time to go shopping!

    However, rickgregory is right. a BTU, is a BTU. It doesn't difference where it comes from.


    • tdimond
      tdimond commented
      Editing a comment
      See, I thought about running this experiment to see if the ceramic acted as a heat shield. But I'd do air/air.

    I'm guessing your using the thermometer in the lid??
    If so, ignore it and take willxfmr 's advice


      What was the thickness of the casserole? Was it mostly liquid content?


        "what were you thinking?", "Duh!"
        Sorry, I couldn't resist.
        Thank you for the lead-in.


          Cooking, smoking, BBQ'ing is all about time and temperature. I keep reminding myself of this. I take full responsibility for my burned, undercooked, throw it out and go get takeout. And I take full credit when it turns out good.
          That is why I post PBR as both beer and Post BBQ Review. It is a reminder more for me rather than you.
          Happy grilling to you and PBR too.
          Last edited by bbqLuv; July 1, 2021, 07:39 AM.


            Sure sounds like something was up here to me. If the Grilla was at 350F, it would be no different than your oven in the house at 350F. I would question a couple of things:

            1. Did your better half preheat the Grilla to 350, or just set it to 350 and pop the dish in at the same time? The Grilla probably takes longer than your indoor oven to reach 350.

            2. Have you checked the temp on your Grilla using an independent set of probes?

            3. Was it set to PID mode or Pro (smoke) mode? This is one of those times the PID mode would be best.

            If the dish was covered on top with foil, then you probably had a layer of cooler air trapped by the foil, also preventing convection from occurring to the top side of the food. I don't see foil over the bottom of the pan causing an issue. However, a ceramic dish will take a LOT longer to heat up than a thin metal pan would. Heck - if it was pre-made and sat in the fridge all day in a ceramic dish, just getting the ceramic heated up to 350 would take more than 30 minutes I bet. It's a very poor heat conductor and serves as an insulator. That is why they make kamado grills out of that stuff - its slow to change from cold to hot, or hot to cold.

            I will bet if a metal pan had been used, and the OG was preheated before putting it in, that the 30 minute expected cook time would have been accomplished.
            Last edited by jfmorris; July 1, 2021, 07:46 AM.


              As someone who's constantly at fault when our food isn't ready to the exact minute my wife and kids are hungry, I can sympathize. I second the ceramic dish issue. When we put leftovers in ours I will reheat the food in a different dish for that very reason.


                Appreciate the expertise and thoughtful input. To answer some of the questions posed:
                I have reason to believe the OG is functioning normally based upon cooks before and after the cassarole fiasco.
                The dish was never frozen.
                Running temp of 350F was based upon the control panel, not a lid thermometer.
                The OG was preheated prior to food insertion, and the lid was closed during the cook.
                The OG was running in PID mode not Pro (smoke) mode.
                I haven't checked the OG with a independent set of probes but it has not behaved abnormally or in such a unpredictable manner before this.
                Using same oven temp indoors without the foil wrap on this recipe many times in past always took 30 minutes (+/- 5-10 minutes), which was what made this so baffling.
                I suppose an experiment would be to to cook 2 cassaroles in the OG at the same time and running temp, one foil wrapped and one unwrapped.
                I will await federal funding for that.....



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