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pmillen

Is Wrapping with Aluminum Foil Advisable?

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Here's a message exchange with a friend.


To Me:

When brisket hit internal temp of 155 I put in foil pan and covered with Reynolds foil. Put in oven for about 4 hours to finish at 205 internal temp.  When I was checking meat temp I noticed a spot in foil about 1" in diameter.  Had bunch pin holes with 1/4" hole in center and spot felt like it was falling apart.  I could see the spot where foil was touching meat and had off color look.  The seasoning was Oakridge Black Ops.  My thought was the salt and some kind of electrolysis. Have you every had this happen?


From Me:

Aluminum pan and aluminum foil.  Hmmm.  This is intriguing.  A ¼” hole and pin holes.  Where did that aluminum go?

 

I'm looking around the Internet and can't find anything.


From Me:

I found this.  I don’t know if it's sensationalism or even a qualified authority;http://theconversation.com/why-you-shouldnt-wrap-your-food-in-aluminium-foil-before-cooking-it-57220.

 

A couple of quotes–

  • Aluminium [sic] is significantly more likely to leach into food, and at higher levels, in acidic and liquid food solutions like lemon and tomato juice than in those containing alcohol or salt. Leaching levels climb even more when spice is added to food that’s cooked in aluminium [sic] foil. Anything acidic sparks a particularly aggressive process that dissolves layers of aluminium[sic] into food.

          This research suggests that aluminium [sic] foil should not be used for cooking.”

 

  • Scientists are exploring whether over-exposure to aluminium [sic] may be posing threats to human health. For instance, high concentrations of aluminium [sic] have been detected in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s disease."

To Me:

You asked where the aluminum went...The spot where the foil was touching meat had a aluminum tint to it.

 

I am thinking of switching to parchment paper instead of foil when I do ribs.


From Me:

I am, too, as of yesterday.


To Me:

I experimented with it when I was practicing for the 2015 Royal.  It actually does a good job of holding in juices.  The problem becomes trying to seal it up.  i was folding it over and stapling the ends shut. During my prep this summer for the Royal I will give it a try and send results with pictures.  It is more difficult to work with than tin foil.


So, that's everything I know about the potential risk of cooking in aluminum foil.  It may not be a risk each time, but it appears that certain spices will establish a galvanic reaction causing aluminum from the foil to leach into the meat.

 

     1.  Have you heard of or seen this before?

 

     2.  Does it concern you?

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Only on bbq kept in the refrigerator for a few days. Yes, it does concern me, it the the major reason why I no longer use foil to wrap smoking woods. I don't know how to reconcile the pursuit of clean smoke while wrapping wood with aluminum which is going up in smoke during a cook. My 2¢.

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Starting I believe with Arron Franklin, the better alternative to aluminum foil is pink food safe butcher paper as it retains heat but breathes and does not sweat dropping liquid on what ever you are cooking and also surrounding the meat with steam. 

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I have seen several youtube videos now, including BB Maniac,  where they compare no wrapping, wrapping with foil and wrapping with butcher paper. In all of the videos they pick the paper wrapped one as their least favorite. I know there are a lot of butcher paper fans out there but if you have questions about it you should look up some of the videos.

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I like the butcher paper for brisket.  I have never done them side by side, but honestly even if there was a hair difference(which I doubt) , I'd choose the paper, because wrapping makes the timing so so so much easier. 

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Certain foods dissolve aluminum. I've never seen it happen in my smokers over decades of briskets, turkeys and pork butts. That includes the foil-wrapped brisket sitting in the refrigerator at the moment. I just checked (munch, munch). 

 

Foods that do dissolve aluminium (UK spelling), need plastic wrap or parchment paper against the food. I'm curious what's in his rub; it's not the salt, per se. I mix my own rubs, using lots of salt, and have never seen foil dissolve when cooking beef, pork or poultry. 

 

Of course, YMMV,

Frank

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The physician that supplied the following three research papers advises to not eat food cooked in foil or foil pans.

 

Completely reading them is worthwhile but not entertaining.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21157018

 

http://www.electrochemsci.org/papers/vol7/7054498.pdf

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sadettin_Turhan/publication/285200416_Aluminium_contents_in_baked_meats_wrapped_in_aluminium_foil/links/565c547608ae4988a7bb6a91/Aluminium-contents-in-baked-meats-wrapped-in-aluminium-foil.pdf

 

I'm thinking that butcher paper, parchment paper or a Reynolds oven bag inside the foil wrap will ease my concerns.

 

EDIT:  He’s a neurologist studying the aluminum/Alzheimer’s link.

Edited by pmillen

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I always like to follow the tin-foil/aluminum threads as I have always had a little concern and have heard about the aluminum link as far as I can remember.

 

I also love the irony as at the same time, we are grilling and smoking our foods, introducing a FAR more likely concern of health risk.

 

I do it for the taste I guess...but I'm not stopping.

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Couple of things:

 

#1 Tin Foil (as we call it here in Aus) must be rated as "Food Grade" in order to be sold in stores. In order to be sold for use with food it must be rated to not leach more than trace amounts (at most) into any food it comes into contact with

#2 Aluminum that is found in the brains of Altziemers patients can come from a number of sources in day to day life including breathing it in city enviroments. Even if there was a link between Aluminum and Altziemers, the tin foil you use would only be a fraction of the source and even then you would need to consuming Foil wrapped BBQ multiple times a week, in which case, the Aluminum or Altzimers would be the least of your problems

#3 If health is your main concern, i'd steer clear of BBQ all together as its been documented that protien rich diets as well as smoking and grilling have (allbeit, minor) links to cancer

#4 I'd be more concerned with the staples your friend is using to seal up his butchers paper, as these are in no way rated for use in cooking and would contain trace amounts of chemicals from the manufacturing process

#5 Again, if you're concerned about trace elements of aluminum leeching from food grade tin foil you should also be worried about the chemical byproducts associated with paper production, even food grade paper. 

 

In short, this doesnt concern me

My excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption, chloresterol levels, risks of driving a car every day, the women i associate with, the industry i work in, my family history of cancer, arthirtis and gout, global warming, nuclear war, brake dust and high risk or depression concerns me more than tin foil  

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7 hours ago, Polar Bear said:

#3 If health is your main concern, i'd steer clear of BBQ all together as its been documented that protien rich diets as well as smoking and grilling have (allbeit, minor) links to cancer

 

 

This is about all that needs to be said.  Even here the cancer risk is insignificant to the significant risk of other more common diseases associated with eating this type of meat in EXCESS.  

 

Diets high in saturated fats are KNOWN TO CAUSE significant health risks.  Why worry about the risks of wrapping that in aluminum foil?  It's about like worrying about the health risks of a foil wrapper in a pack of cigarettes.

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On 3/8/2019 at 11:47 AM, pmillen said:

So, that's everything I know about the potential risk of cooking in aluminum foil.  It may not be a risk each time, but it appears that certain spices will establish a galvanic reaction causing aluminum from the foil to leach into the meat.

 

How do you know that this is what actually happened here?  That's a pretty big leap in my opinion.

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20 minutes ago, John Setzler said:

 

How do you know that this is what actually happened here?  That's a pretty big leap in my opinion.

 

I don't "know".  That's why I wrote, "potential risk", "may not be a risk each time", and "it appears that certain spices..."  

 

The last two sentences in my original post, "Have you heard of or seen this before?" and "Does it concern you?"  I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want answers.

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7 minutes ago, pmillen said:

 

I don't "know".  That's why I wrote, "potential risk", "may not be a risk each time", and "it appears that certain spices..."  

 

The last two sentences in my original post, "Have you heard of or seen this before?" and "Does it concern you?"  I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want answers.

 

Do you believe that a galvanic reaction and aluminum leaching into the food is what happened?  Maybe I misunderstood your post when you said WILL ESTABLISH.  

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32 minutes ago, John Setzler said:

 

Even here the cancer risk is insignificant to the significant risk of other more common diseases associated with eating this type of meat in EXCESS.  

 

I didn't plan to debate conclusions, I asked for them because I want to know what others think about it.  But I feel compelled to address that statement.  I don't want to be unkind here, but I don't find any logic in it.  The fact that the risk of drunk driving is insignificant compared to the risk of playing Russian Roulette shouldn't be viewed as complete freedom to do the less risky.

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