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Foil question?

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  • Rfhd69
    Charter Member
    • May 2015
    • 165
    • SW Washington
    • WSM 22.5, PBC, GMG Jim Bowie, Traeger Texas

    Foil question?

    For brisket and pork shoulder: Is there a noticeable difference between techniques of “tightly wrapped aluminum foil” versus “placing foil over a foil pan” on the smoker? This would be during the stall. Do they essentially produce the same results? Or does one braise more than the other? I’ve always wondered this. Foil pans covered in foil look easier but I’ve never tried it. Thoughts?
  • jharner
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    I have wondered about trying a foil pan but have not. My thought was that it would make it easier to capture the rendered juices.


    • Timbo54
      Timbo54 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for asking that question. I've wondered the same thing myself. Now we sit back and wait for the responses. We need to know.
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    I use foil pans, but have never em covered while smokin.

    I have never tried wrappin/TX crutch, with foil, or paper, so I ain't qualified to comment on these methods...

    Can tell ya a pan works great, especial if ya use a roastin rack, so ya git 360° bark/smoke.


    • jecucolo
      jecucolo commented
      Editing a comment
      So you place the brisket in the pan the whole cook?
      I haven’t heard that before. Can you explain how this affects the meat?

    • Mr. Bones
      Mr. Bones commented
      Editing a comment
      I pan pork butts.
      Briskies go right on th grate. jecucolo

    • jecucolo
      jecucolo commented
      Editing a comment
      Ok, that makes sense.
  • BRic
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    I double wrap my butts in foil as tight as I can get it without tearing the foil , I add 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple juice.
    by doing this meat will not steam cook during the stall . my brisket are wrapped in butcher paper.


    • Henrik
      Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
      • Jul 2014
      • 4310
      • Stockholm, Sweden

      Wrapping meat tightly in foil or placing in an aluminum pan covered in foil accomplishes the same thing: braising the meat. It avoids drying out, and therefore makes it more tender.

      So what is the difference? It has been claimed that using the pan with a lid is a bad choice, since moisture will condense on the inside of the lid/cover, then drip down, and thereby mess up the bark by creating bald spots. Wrapping tightly avoids this.

      Whether that holds true? Can't really tell. I know that Myron Mixon always uses the foil pan, and his briskets look just fine.

      Also, another factor to take into account is whether you wrap during the stall (to push past it) or if you wrap just after the stall (when the bark is more 'set'). Wrapping later means the bark is less sensitive.

      Personally I always wrap tight with foil. The number one reason is that foil pans are expensive (comparatively), and I always have a roll of aluminum foil around. And alu foil fits any shape of meat. So it's just easier. No technical reason.


      • Murdy
        Murdy commented
        Editing a comment
        As I understood it, the point of wrapping was to get through the stall. What's the purpose to wrapping after the stall?

      • Henrik
        Henrik commented
        Editing a comment
        Retain moisture. Especially when smoking at higher temps. Avoids drying out.
    • Nuke em
      Club Member
      • Jun 2016
      • 738
      • Nj

      Here is one to scratch your head. I use to just cover the meat after I put it in the pan with al foil during the stall. On one cook, the al foil was touching the top of the meats( it was pork butt and brisket). After a few hours when they finished, I noticed holes in the tops of the al foil. (Was using renyolds heavy duty foil). The al foil “burnt” on and into the bark After picking out the pieces of foil off of the bark and serving later I started thinking as to why there would be burn marks on top of the meat. I realized what happened. Somehow it created an electricity charge like you can do with a lemon to make a battery. It was very strange. Never thought something like that would happen but it did
      now days, I just cook em without wrapping at all to get a nice bark. Just food for thought. Wonder if this has happened to others in the forum


      • Henrik
        Henrik commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, you did create a battery, that is exactly what happend. I belive other pit members have had that happen too.

      • Buck Flicks
        Buck Flicks commented
        Editing a comment
        Yep, if you have two different kinds of metals (pan and foil) and if there is any acid in your liquid, you can create a battery which will eat away the foil.
    • HawkerXP
      Club Member
      • Jul 2016
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      I use the covered pan method for chuckies, butts and brisket. I wait until after the stall, put in pan on top of a grate add a little fluid of choice and cover. Depending how the fire is doing I have brought this into the house and finished in the oven. Yes bark is moist but still there. We like it.
      Also, the fluid is caught in the pan, I've lost some before using foil. I'll separate the fat and put the good juice back on the meat as we serve.
      Last edited by HawkerXP; February 6, 2019, 07:44 AM.


      • Rfhd69
        Charter Member
        • May 2015
        • 165
        • SW Washington
        • WSM 22.5, PBC, GMG Jim Bowie, Traeger Texas

        Thanks for the info! Appreciate it.


        • Troutman
          Club Member
          • Aug 2017
          • 7197




            SOUS VIDE


          I pretty much agree with Henrik 's assessment. I get about the same results with tight wrapped foil or using a foil pan covered with a foil lid. It's braising the meat either way, plain and simple. There may be an argument for the "dripping" effect messing up the bark but the foil cover in the pans I use are tight to the brisket top so that's not an issue.

          What I have found in a couple of cooks last summer, was that taking the brisket to over 200* in the foil was causing an over braising or pot roast affect. It starts to lose that tight, beefy texture and turns into a fall apart pulled like affect you get with a long cooked roast. It's a totally different taste to me as well.

          Lately I've gone to the butcher paper to power through the stall. It doesn't work as well as foil, takes a bit longer, but it does the trick. And the net effect is the bark is left soft but still in tact (it tightens up easily) and the meat isn't over braised.

          Anyway that's been my experience. When I have the time and don't want to wrap (my preferred method), I just power up the heat and force it through the stall. Just experiment with all the techniques and see which one works for you. Plenty of YouTube videos out there talking about cooking and comparing all three methods.


          • Attjack
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            I use foil pans and foil on chuck roasts but a full brisket is a little big for a foil pan.


            • mrteddyprincess
              Club Member
              • Sep 2018
              • 360

              For me there's no wrapping on a pork butt and I prefer to push through the stall by cooking at 275-325 F the whole time. A nine pound pork butt finishes off in about five hours on my smoker. If I cook at 225 F the stall really seems to drag along. If I were cooking at 225 F I might consider using foil to get through the stall.


              • jfmorris
                Club Member
                • Nov 2017
                • 3022
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                • Jim Morris

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                For me, I only wrap chuck roasts and brisket these days, and I wrap tightly in 2 layers of heavy duty foil (the wide rolls). I am sort of the camp that #1, I don't have a disposable aluminum pan big enough for my full packer brisket anyway, and #2 wrapping tightly avoids condensation that messes the bark up more. Also, when doing chuck roasts on the kettle, I can fit two chucks wrapped or unwrapped, but 2 pans will not fit easily in the space available next to the Slow 'N Sear.

                I used to wrap my ribs (3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method) but no longer do so. Now I perform rib blasphemy and get them done in 2.5 hours!


                • Attjack
                  Attjack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I need to smoke some blasphemy ribs.
              • Rod
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                Just make a tri tip instead.


                • bradjo222
                  Club Member
                  • Apr 2017
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                  • Kansas
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                  For pork shoulder, I put it in an aluminum pan and cover tightly with foil when entering the stall. When done, we pour the drippings into a fat separator and just keep the 'goody'. When reheating the pulled pork I put some of the congealed 'goody' back in the meat and it's just as moist as when I took it off the smoker. The past couple of briskets, I have tried the butcher paper route with good success.


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                    I really don't notice any difference. I like to use the pans because then you can serve out of them. And you don't waste early as much foil. I will say that a tightly wrapped Shoulder or brisket will rise in temp faster than one that is simply in a foil pan with foil over it. (I think, I might run a test on this one.)


                    • jfmorris
                      jfmorris commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I like and use disposable foil pans, but cannot shred in them, as my meat claws tear the pans up! I have to transfer to a solid metal pan, shred the meat up, then back to the foil pan for serving and storage.



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