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Do you grill with aluminum foil (and no, it's not what you're thinking of)

Do you use aluminum foil to grill meats?

I'm not talking about wrapping, say a whole fish or some chicken breasts, in a foil pouch and then putting it on the grill.

I'm talking about putting a flat sheet of foil on the grill grates and then placing your meat on the foil, unwrapped, to "grill".

Do you do this?

I only ask because there was a commercial touting the benefits of this method (from Reynolds Wrap, of course). They said it prevents food from sticking to the grill.

Well, sure, not using my grill at all would also prevent meat from sticking to the grill.

I can't fathom why anyone would grill this way.

Please enlighten me.

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  1. I've done it with fish, but that was before I learned that by lightly oiling the grate and leaving the fish alone for about 5 minutes - no poking, lifting, turning, etc - the fish would release on it's own, without needing the foil, and also producing lovely grill marks.

    1. "I can't fathom why anyone would grill this way"

      Nor can I..........

      1 Reply
      1. I think that commercial was trying to promote their new "non-stick" foil (and we need this why?). But no, I wouldn't do that. What's the point? I might as well put my cookie sheet on the grill! I did think that commercial was a laugh!

        2 Replies
        1. re: boyzoma

          I use the heavy-duty foil when cooking fish on my charcoal grill. At least if it sticks to the foil, it doesn't all fall down the grill. It also makes it easy to flip a whole fillet over.

          1. re: boyzoma

            I like the non-stick foil. It is good for either baking chicken wings in the oven, or, after grilling them, putting them on the foil to finish. That way you are able to remove them from the grill.

            I line a half sheet pan with this to bake the wings. Spoon off the grease a few times, and am able to sauce them and still remove them intact. Yum. :)

          2. Yes, I know you specified meats..... but I've used it to line a vegetable grill basket before. I poke holes all through it to allow any liquid to fall through and smoke to rise through. Otherwise, some of the fleshier rough chopped vegetables will stick and it's a pain in the butt to clean the wire weaving in those baskets.

            1. Yes, you can use aluminum foil to grill and get the same results as without the foil! What's been written here is silly otherwise?
              The only real difference is that you don't get the grill marks on the food, but so what? You also don't have the constant clean up, the out of control, burning fires inside the grill from fat drippings, and in general, the mess of food falling into the grill bottom and causing all sorts of chaos. One sheet turned up around the sides (to, for example, keep the chicken fat from flaming up) with some Pam spray on it for easy release makes a delicious chicken dinner (or ham, beef, fish, etc.)

              4 Replies
              1. re: andymainline

                why dont you just fry it on the stove then?

                1. re: andymainline

                  "The only real difference is that you don't get the grill marks on the food, but so what? "

                  No, the difference is that if you put down the layer of foil there is no interaction between food and fire, thus making the whole grilling exercise pointless in the first place. There is no culinary benefit to turning your grill into a flimsy aluminum griddle.

                  The better way to control flare-ups is to build a two-zone fire so you can move food between hot and cool sides. You can also smother fires by closing your vents and your grill lid.

                  1. re: RealMenJulienne

                    Yup, people that do this with beef or fish steaks drive me nuts.

                  2. re: andymainline

                    1HW (1 Hit Wonder: someone who shows up once to make a silly comment, and then is never seen again.)

                  3. Aluminum foil may make clean-up easier, but without heat coming up through the grates, I'm not sure I'd call it grilling.

                    1. We had steaks at some friends of my wife's a few weeks back. They bought a new house and a new gas grill. Both of which are very nice. He didn't want to get the grates dirty so he grilled ribeyes on sheets of foil. They mostly steamed in their own juices. Kind of sad.

                      Otherwise a great afternoon.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chileheadmike

                        I've had some very good baseball filets cooked/ruined like this. I just watched because I didn't want to be a jerk but damn.

                        1. re: On_yun

                          My tongue still hurts from biting it.

                      2. I never have and don't see any reason to. My Big Green Egg gas a cast-iron grid. It's very easy to clean with a few minutes of high heat from the grill and a little brushing wtith a wire brush.

                        1. The idea of grilling meat is that the fat juices drip off onto the charcoal, creating smoke which rises up and cooks the meat whilst giving it a smoky flavor, which is why we grill in the first place.

                          There's no point grilling if you're going to cover up the grill with tin foil. Might as well use a pan.

                          1. I got these plates called Grill Grates that sit on top of the regular grates of my weber and make it a lot easier to grill meat, fish and veggies. It gets quite hot, doesn't flare up, and stuff releases easily, especially because the spatula tines go below the ridges of the grate.


                            1. I've never seen it done, nor ever done it myself.

                                1. I cook fish this way all the time. I make a little pan out of the foil, put some oil on the bottom, put a fish fillet on the foil, then top with a bit more oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs. Fish (often delicate fillets you would not put on direct heat, but also salmon, halibut, and yellowtail) come out great. Yes, its kind of like baking, but no heating up the kitchen or fish smell in the house.

                                  I could not imagine doing a steak like this!

                                  1. I have grilled chicken leg quarters on gas grill wrapped in aluminum foil. Use your favorite rub, then grill chicken quarters 15 minutes each side. I take the chicken place it on a sheet of foil large enough to wrap the chicken. Pour your favorite bbq sauce on the top of the chicken, wrap it pretty tight with some same between the chicken on the top and put it back on the grill. Grill for 15 minutes each side. You will have safe proof succulent chicken quarters. You can do this w/ chicken breast as they try out pretty fast if cooked directly on the grill and you do not have sufficient grilling experience. Going to do the same method this weekend cooking for our church picnic and grilling 250 leg quarters. All will be wrapped in foil and once done, just place them in a cardboard box and they will keep warm for a long time.