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To foil or not to foil...when using propane or electric smokers

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by JuniorBalloon, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. JuniorBalloon

    JuniorBalloon Newbie

    I started using foil in my early days to control the amount of smoke exposure using variations of the 3-2-1. I now have a propane smoker and can easily control smoke by how much wood to add and am wondering if there are still some benefits to foiling. My first few ribs have come out delicious, but not as juicy as some of my WSM ribs. I'm thinking that foiling might help.

    I know there are those that don't use any no matter what kind of cooker they are using, but for those that do foil, do you foil when using propane or electric smokers?
  2. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Junior its all personal preference. I never used foil (aka the crutch), until coming here a few years back. I didn't learn to use it before because I had never seen it used, and I have been smoking/BBQ'ing/grilling for a few days.

    Its like which is better spare ribs/baby back/St.Louis? There is only personal preference.

    Personally I like a whole rack of spare ribs..... more meat and I enjoy the chewing even without teeth, BUT if Baby backs are on sale I have no problem eating them at all! I make my own BBQ sauce, but after so long I got where I would rather just the grilled taste. Or smoked but the other day for the first time in what seems forever, I threw some sauce on a rack and it was damn tastee!

    See what I am getting at? If you learn all of the methods you can rise above any availability. Learn to foil, learn to use break over, I understand that AL has a magic temperature for those learning or grilling challenged.

    BTW I originally started by tending my Pop's firebox a long time ago, in the 80's I was given an analog electric that no one could figure out. Most of my cooking was always done on a pipe pit till it became about the convenience instead of the enjoyment of the smoke. Never used a propane for anything but frying and boiling but guessing its close to a standard firebreather.

    There are no bad ways to cook, only ways you've not tried yet.
    RiversideSm0ker likes this.
  3. Meat Man Matt

    Meat Man Matt Fire Starter

    I have a propane unit too. I only use foil as a crutch, when my butts or briskets or whatever are having a tough time breaking the stall.

    As for moisture, I typically brine my pork to keep it from drying out, although I have never brined ribs
  4. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm with Foamy I never have foiled wrapped in butcher paper or any other means but that's just personal preference no reason for you not to try it. I once seen the statement that there is no such thing as bad BBQ some is just better than others. I can't say that I've ever had anything dried out that's the deal with low and slow if done right.

  5. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I do a lot of smoking on my Smoke Vault gasser, just because sometimes I just want to get a fire going & get some food on, with the Lang or my WSM it's more of an ordeal. And there is virtually no cleanup. That being said I guess you get a better flavor over a wood , or charcoal wood fire, but sometimes convenience trumps flavor. I will say that no one has ever complained about anything I have smoked on the SV, & the thread "Perfect ribs" in my signature line was done on the SV..
  6. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi there and welcome!

    I have moved to no wrapping for the most part. I don't wrap brisket, beef ribs, pork butts/shoulder, or pork ribs (baby backs or spares). I prefer the flavor and taste of no wrapping.

    I DO wrap stuff like chuck roasts because they have a tendency to want to dry out on you.

    I BRINE cuts like whole chicken, whole turkey, chicken or turkey breast, and pork loin. Brining fixes all dryness issues with those lean drier meats.

    What I am getting at, is that the meat will dictate how you treat it for the most part as well as your preferences like everyone else is mentioning.

    Each cut is different. Learn it's quirks and match with your preferences and you will win in the end :)
  7. JuniorBalloon

    JuniorBalloon Newbie

    Are you saying you don't foil on the SV? I have also never had any complaints with the SV, but I do notice a difference in juiciness. I'll do some playing around.

    Thanks for the feedback.
  8. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Most of the time I foil when I use the SV, but I think the key to juicy ribs is leaving the membrane on & the final IT that you take them to.
  9. chilerelleno

    chilerelleno Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Another CCSV user here, I seldom foil unless I am actually braising or really pushed for time.
    I get juicy results from much attention to each piece of meat's status as it cooks, I never cook by time, it's all about prep, sight, smell, feel and the Holy Grail of Internal Temp.
    Prep, rubs, dry or wet brines, marinades and injection, spritzes and mops and whether or not to use a water tray for humidity.

    For my ribs I rely almost solely upon the Pop Bend and Crack test, and turn out some fine racks of my favorite STLs.