Grilling With Aluminum Foil – Good or Bad for You?

Published Categorized as Journal

Grilling food with aluminum foil underneath it can be a bit scary. After all, we are taught not to put aluminum foil in the microwave. So it can be understandable why some people are cautious about using it with cooking in general. Thankfully, any questions you may have will be answered here.

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grilling chicken meat outdoors

Table of Contents

What is Aluminum Foil Used For?

Aluminum foil can quite commonly be referred to as tin foil. This is incorrect as it is actually made up of an aluminum alloy that contains over 90% pure aluminum.

The majority of households use aluminum foil for food storage. This is especially helpful for storing meats as it can prevent moisture from escaping, keeping your meat nice and tender while you store it.

Other than this, it can be used for wrapping some food when it is being grilled. This is an incredibly common practice as foil-wrapped food can be efficiently grilled without going dry.

However, there is a lot of misinformation about this as a lot of people believe it is harmful as aluminum might get in your food and put your health at risk.

tin foil and sandwich

Is Grilling With Aluminum Foil Safe?

Grilling with aluminum foil is deemed reasonably safe. I say this because it is true that aluminum can find its way onto your food and can be ingested. This is unlikely and the main factors that determine this are the acid content of your food and how high the temperature is.

Aluminum can withstand pretty high heat yet there is always a limit than will start to break it down. If you are grilling food at 400 degrees F, then this might be a bit too high for the foil and it will start to break down, causing a tiny amount of it to seep into your food.

Highly acidic foods such as lemon juice can also break down aluminum foil. This is not too much of an issue, yet if you are very concerned about your health, you may want to find an alternative for grilling.

Aluminum foil is known to seep into food after a while and then be ingested but thankfully, the health risks are not very severe at all. As long as it is only small trace amounts of aluminum that are being ingested, you will be perfectly safe.

Grilling With Aluminum Foil – Good Or Bad Idea

Safe Uses of Aluminum Foil

If you are using an oven grill to cook your food, aluminum will be perfectly safe. It can be very useful to line your trays with aluminum foil when you are grilling greasy food so that the cleanup is a lot easier afterward. This can turn a harrowing chore into a minute-long task, which is incredibly useful if you love cooking but hate cleaning up.

Another safe usage of aluminum foil in the kitchen is wrapping leftovers. Whenever you have leftovers, you want to wrap them before storing them in the fridge. This is because the less air that gets to your food will mean you have longer before it spoils.

On top of this, aluminum foil is great at preventing the moisture in your food from seeping out of the food – keeping it moist and delicious for ages. There is nothing worse than eating dry leftovers.

Using aluminum foil can also help you prevent your burgers from shrinking when they are being cooked on the grill.

Unsafe Uses of Aluminum Foil

When grilling with a BBQ or an open fire, aluminum foil can still be used but there are a few things you should know not to do.

Firstly, it is very important that you do not line the bottom of your charcoal or gas grill with aluminum foil.

While it makes cleaning up an oven tray a lot easier, aluminum foil in this context will cause a grease buildup which can lead to an uncontrolled grease fire.

It is also important to note that lining your grill grate with aluminum foil is also dangerous.

While it may reflect heat leading to even cooking, it can also restrict airflow and become a fire hazard. On top of this, it will also prevent the juices from draining naturally from your meat. This then will allow them to cook in a pool of excess fat which is unhealthy for consumption.

Is Grilling With Aluminum Foil Harmful?

Grilling with aluminum foil can be harmful if done incorrectly. When done properly, you will still get tiny amounts of aluminum in your food but they are so small that they pose essentially no health risks.

What to Grill with Tin Foil

Grilling Salmon Fillet With Aluminum Foil

Salmon is one of the best things to cook with aluminum foil as it comes out perfect almost every time.

Salmon can be finicky to cook. It is meant to be flakey and moist yet is quite easy to come out overcooked and dry.

To ensure your salmon is perfect, place it on some aluminum foil with a teaspoon of butter, a slice of lemon, and whatever herbs you are wanting to flavor it with. After this, wrap it in the foil and allow it to grill.

It will come out perfect as the aluminum foil will stop it from drying up. The flavors will also be more intense. Since it was partially steamed too, the butter would evaporate and have nowhere to go.

Grilling Steak With Aluminum Foil

Grilling a steak with aluminum foil is best done on a BBQ or gas fire. The best time to do this is when you do not want your steak to have charcoal-flavored grill lines on it.

Wrapping it in aluminum foil will result in an evenly cooked and moist steak. It won’t have visible grill marks on it that naturally appear when being grilled.

Grilling Vegetables Using Aluminum Foil

It is very possible to grill your veg with tin foil. This will keep them less charred, while retaining that smoky flavor.

Grilling With Aluminum Foil – Good Or Bad Idea

Should You Grill With Aluminum Foil? – Sure, But

Grilling with aluminum foil is always a good idea when you are wanting to either minimize the cleanup required or ensure that your food stays moist during the cooking process.

The best use for this is keeping food moist. Without aluminum foil, the moisture in food can seep out and disappear from the food. When wrapped in aluminum foil, all moisture will remain near the food. It will eventually be absorbed again, resulting in a moist meal.

FAQs on Grilling with Aluminum Foil

When grilling with aluminum foil shiny side up or down?

You will always want the shiny side up when grilling with aluminum foil as this will allow the heat to be reflected into your food, which leads to even cooking. If the shiny side was facing down, the heat would have a harder time reaching the food which would lead to a longer cooking time.

Do you lose flavor grilling with aluminum foil?

You do not necessarily lose flavor when grilling with aluminum foil, but as it is a barrier between your food and the heat source, you do not get the grill marks on steak or the charcoal flavor. The food is not touching a direct heat source so it is heating up slower without being seared or flavored.

Published
Categorized as Journal

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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