HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Instead of all that foil...

Now that we know we MUST let our meats rest, all the TV cooks (ATK, Ina, et al) are whipping out miles of alum. foil to wrap atop the meat -- so wasteful ... is there something else we can use? I've thought about buying a plastic top of some sort, but haven't come up with anything that would work...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A metal bowl works. You can put a knife or something under it so it isn't completely flush, that way a bit of the steam etc can escape.

    1. Invert a mixing/storage bowl over the meat. It doesn't matter what the bowl is made of. If it's a long rectangular piece, a loaf pan or rectangular storage container.

      1. get heavy duty foil and make your tent. after using it, lightly hand-wash it, let it dry, then fold to store and re-use again till it gets ratty. i do this for lining sheet pans, too, when it is feasible.

        i re-use barely-used foil because i am thrifty, not wasteful, and am a proxy depression-era child.

        7 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          I too reuse my foil, unless it's gunked up. That way I can use it whenever I want, instead of being cheap about it. Same with Ziplock bags, if they were used for something dry.

          1. re: alkapal

            I re-use barely used foil too. Especially the Reynolds Non-stick. Too expensive and of high quality to throw out after one use.

            1. re: alkapal

              This is a great idea. We eat a lot of meat and thus there is a lot of resting and recently it occurred to me that I use A LOT of foil which seems like a big waste. I do sometimes flip it over if there are two meals back to back which will require it but never thought to just wash it.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                yep, a soapy sponge makes quick work of it!

                1. re: alkapal

                  I really never thought of that. Thanks.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    best way: place the foil on the floor of your kitchen sink, so when you use the soapy sponge and some hot water, the foil is on a flat, solid surface. zippy! plus, this method minimizes wrinkles in the foil, which will help it last longer (in my experience).

            2. I frequently use the lid from a large skillet.

              1. I frequently use nothing to cover so I don't steam my crust. Meats still hot

                6 Replies
                1. re: scubadoo97

                  thank you! thought I was the only one... I don't cover steaks, roasts, etc... meat comes out plenty warm... it's not necessary imo to be piping hot

                  1. re: darrentran87

                    Ditto. My kitchen is almost always warm enough that my meats are still plenty hot after an uncovered rest.

                    1. re: darrentran87

                      i don't tent either and have never seen it done in a professional kitchen. this is a peculiar home-cooking technique that i really don't get at all.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        I love steak and love the crispy crust and have always covered but recently started to leave it uncovered. I always feared that the meat would get too cold. You haven't found this at all? I have found most of the time it helps as the meat sits longer than the prescribed 5-10 minutes as I'm assembling the rest so has less risk of being overcooked and haven't noticed it being too cold but just wondering how long you rest.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          i'd say for steaks just about 5-10 minutes. bigger roasts can go longer. the meat can't be eaten screeching hot out of the smoking pan or broiler anyway.

                          if you're concerned, work on how you time your other dishes.

                          i went to culinary school and have worked in more restaurants than i care to remember. this is strictly a home-cooking phenomenon and makes zero sense. all you're doing is trapping steam.

                    2. re: scubadoo97

                      Kenji recently had a piece on tenting http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/07/as...

                      Here's part of it:
                      Q: Does protein laid bare on a plate lose that much extra heat, that tenting with foil is required?
                      A: Protein laid on a bare plate can lose extra heat, but again, only if it's very cold and windy out will you need foil (plus, it's better to rest on an elevated rack or wooden cutting board than directly on a plate).

                    3. Toaster oven or normal oven, not turned on. Maybe propped open with wooden spoon or oven mitt

                      1. I'm not sure if it's any worthy trade-off, but I'll create a tent of parchment paper or wax paper sometimes. But, at least the aluminum foil is recyclable.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: pine time

                          We can't recycle anything that has food on it.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Have read before about different recycling rules, but "no food" on foil? That's strict!

                            1. re: pine time

                              One example is a pizza box. We use the "blue bag" system and it's quite clear that those aren't acceptable. But it's the unusual item that we can't recycle. And we get to put everything in the one bag. Glass, paper, metal, etc.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                We also put all recyclables together--no separating, thank heavens. And, pizza boxes used to be verboten, but the city changed that a few years back.

                                1. re: pine time

                                  I should double check that then. Although we rarely have pizza boxes :) Are you supposed to wash plastic containers and metal cans?

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Nope, just not a 1/2 canful of some leftover stuff.

                        2. I avoid foil as much as possible, including when resting meat. Even if you can recycle, just buying it supports some not so good environmental practices.

                          Instead, just preheat your plates in a very low oven. The meat won't cool down too much and you can avoid soggy crust/skin.

                          Large cuts and whole chickens will stay hot for way longer than it takes to rest them anyway.

                          1. Man has been cooking meat with fire for hundred of thousands of years....some say millions....without the use of "Tin foil" used as a "tent" or as a "crutch" in BBQ. If you wanna rest your meat and cover with a plate, bowl, pot lid, paper sack, etc. go for it. ~~ It seems more and more that "common sense".... is not so common.

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                              I'm kinda bettin' that what the cave-people were eating wasn't quite as tender as what we can turn out today. MY common sense has taught me to continue to learn and improve.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Continuing education is a good thing, as long as it's not mixed with too much Kool-Aid!

                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                  I have a bad reaction when people use the Jonestown Massacre reference in cases like this. However, learning from reputable sites that allowing meat to rest is a good thing is pretty much a slam dunk.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    No where have I suggested not 'resting' meat. The science is pretty solid!

                                    Have a drink and a nice day as well!

                                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                                      Sorry, I misunderstood that you were separating foil from other covers rather than resting itself.

                                  2. re: Uncle Bob

                                    Good to see you again Uncle Bob - you haven't aged a bit. The Kool-Aid certainly has been agreeing with you!! Or is it the "continuing education" ?

                                    1. re: cstout

                                      Well since a don't drink Kool-Aid, and the continuing education is on the down hill slope, it must be the black coffee, straight bourbon whiskey, and wild women. :))

                                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                                        There is some debate over whether it was actually Kool-Aid or Flavor-Aid.

                                        But back to your comment about cooking meat over fire for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years. All I can picture is the flies and god only knows what else congregating on the cooked meat back then. Ooof. Thank goodness for living in modern day times where foil is an option..:-)

                                        1. re: miss_belle

                                          lol. is your house roiling with flies? is that why you tent the meat?

                                          1. re: miss_belle

                                            And just think....They didn't have the EPA, FDA, USDA, The Orkin Man, Hand sanitizers (in every room) nor a Walmart bag full of antibiotics!! Yet the species didn't die out!! ~~~ All I can picture is a big bolt of lightning, followed by huge forest fire. After which they smelled something good...followed there noses and found a wild animal that had been consumed in the fire....Reached out and touched it...put their fingers to their lips and the first BBQed Whole Hog (sans foil) was born. :)))

                                              1. re: miss_belle

                                                I'll share the winnings and the Crown with ya! :))

                                2. I have never tented my meat when resting. With poultry you end losing some of that crispiness in the skin and with beef it ends up steaming and over cooking.

                                  1. Dollar store has the aluminum individual sheets. They are very thin but you get 15 sheets for a dollar & you can use them to lightly cover things while baking or place on a cookie sheet while baking a pie to catch spills.

                                    1. There's no reason to cover a resting roast with foil at all, really.

                                      1. I don't cover roasts or steaks now, but with BBQ like ribs, it may be quite useful to not only wrap them in foil, but add additional insulation and put them in a cooler to relax for an extended period of time before eating.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: VitalForce

                                          Not familiar with the term "relax" for meats.