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Ribs -- To foil or not to foil...

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Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:22 pm
Chiropractic Griller medium-rare

Posts: 52
Location: Chesterfield, MO
So I'm debating on wrapping a rack of pork ribs in foil or not. I've done a number of pork butts and wrapped them in foil after smoking them and love the way they all turn out (of course).

Anyone here done many racks wrapped in foil or do most people leave it up to the direct heat to cook them?

Thanks all!

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:45 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 6079
Location: Central Alberta, Canada

Well, to get the ball rolling, I never foil my ribs. I've never found it necessary since I cook them a bit hotter than most folks here (275° - 300° F), and I spray them regularly with a mop sauce.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:48 pm
nicneufeld well done
well done

Posts: 542
Location: Kansas City, BBQ Capital

Done it quite a bit. Now I generally just use it as an occasional "hurry up" if I'm pressed for time. When I was getting started I would always slightly undercook the ribs and so when I discovered foiling I thought it was the bees knees, giving me genuinely tender ribs for the first time. Cook it enough and you shouldn't need foil, but it can be handy anyway! Good luck!
22" Weber Kettle One-Touch Gold w/ Smokenator
2009 18.5" WSM
Pro Q Cold Smoke Generator

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:11 pm
phillyjazz well done
well done

Posts: 3050
Location: Philly

Agreed. Foiling is an easy way to "steam" them done and make them tender in a hurry. Then again, if I were in a hurry, I'd eat out :wink: .
- Phillyjazz -

Grill Dome ceramic / Ducane Affinity 4200 gasser/ Concrete pit

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:19 pm
My Year on the Grill medium-rare

Posts: 66
Location: Shawnee, KS

I usually foil. But it does depend on temps. I build in 2 hours in my cook to foil them at the end
The suburban Cul de Sac is where it's at and my backyard is the place to be!

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:02 pm
Old Smoker well done
well done

Posts: 1271
Location: Charlotte, NC

I tried baby backs foiled once, wasn't to keen on the finished texture so I've gone back to no foil.
22.5 WSM - Chargriller
I cook to eat not to compete

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:32 pm
Leatherneck well done
well done

Posts: 898
Location: Florida
What I like to do is cook em' over low heat for 10 minutes each side, and then I'll foil them for as long as I can stand it. They're always good that way, and quick and easy too.

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:51 pm
mbshop well done
well done

Posts: 863
Location: visalia ca
i used to foil. what a pain. i no longer foil. i suggest you try two side by side. one using foil. then do what ya like best.
spam, can't live without it.

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:03 pm
smokeybeaver well done
well done

Posts: 849
I searched and found at least one relevant thread. I searched the terms ribs and foil.

Post Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:06 pm
jazzspot well done
well done

Posts: 877
Location: South Jersey

I've never foiled when smoking ribs and likely never will. Save the money from buying more foil to buy more meat. :lol:

Post Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:20 am
bstein well done
well done

Posts: 435
Location: San Diego CA
I used to never foil. Then I had to do 12 racks in one day for a big party the next day. So I smoked 6 racks of spare ribs for 3 hours then did 2 hours in foil in the oven at 250F while I started the next 6 racks on the smoker. After the 2 hours in the oven I let them sit at room temps with the foil on, till reasonable temps like 80F then stored in the fridge. The next day I warmed them up in foil on the grill then peeled off the foil and sauced and burned on the sauce. These were the most tender and moist ribs I have ever done and I did them hurried and hastily. They were also the nicest tasting ribs because the flavors really married overnight in the fridge.

When I do just a few racks at home I usually do not foil but after that rushed big party experiment I may do it again.

Post Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:51 am
warthog1 medium-rare

Posts: 71
Location: Cliffwood Beach, NJ

I am very happy with the 321 method on ribs. With baby backs I go with the 221 method. My family love em when they just fall off the bone.
UDS, Char Griller, Webber 3

Post Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:42 am

Posts: 18
Location: Chicago
warthog1 wrote:
My family love em when they just fall off the bone.

Same here. My wife has never been a fan of ribs. Loves brisket, pulled pork, chix, etc., but does not enjoy eating ribs off the bone.

Made some ribs for a Labor Day family party we hosted, and tried the 3-2-1 method. Everyone raved about the ribs, so my wife decided she would give in and see what all the fuss was about. She loved them. Said that as long as I made them like that we could have ribs as much as I want.

Post Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:40 am
jmartis well done
well done

Posts: 595
Location: Austin, TX
I found that when I do ribs in my CharGriller foil helped keep them moist, but when I do them in the Egg I don't need foil... Everyone has a different preference on "doneness". If you want them more tender/fall off the bone, you can foil, if you want them with a little pull, but still tender, do no foil
Low n Slow - that is the tempo

Large Big Green Egg
CG Super Pro w/ SFB
I'm not religious, but God bless Texas BBQ!

Post Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:11 pm
olewarthog well done
well done

Posts: 372
Location: South GA

Ahh... the great foil/no foil ribs debate. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I have done them both ways. The 3-2-1 method will almost always turn out fall off the bone ribs since they are braised in their juices in the foil. It is pretty much a fool proof method as long as you don't try to go only by the clock. Even with 3-2-1, you have to often adjust a little here & there based on the current conditions.

For the purists, foiling is heresy. A lot of folks -- even inexperineced ribmiesters -- can turn out delicious ribs without foil Unfoiled ribs are more likely to have a little tug to them rather than fall off the bone.

It really comes down to a matter of taste & time. I do them both ways & have good results both ways. I probably use foil about 60+% of the time however.
CG Super Pro w/SFB
Char Broil 3 burner gasser


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