Wrapping Meat for Grilling

Edward.G

Member
I’ve been having some trouble with wrapping meat for grilling and was hoping for some advice from the community. I can’t seem to get the meat to stay juicy and flavorful while also getting a nice sear on it. I’ve tried using foil, butcher paper and even banana leaves. Sometimes the meat sticks to the wrap or it doesn’t cook evenly.

How long should I be wrapping the meat before grilling and what’s the best type of wrap to use?

Any tips or techniques to get better results would be greatly appreciated!
 

QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
I’ve been having some trouble with wrapping meat for grilling and was hoping for some advice from the community. I can’t seem to get the meat to stay juicy and flavorful while also getting a nice sear on it. I’ve tried using foil, butcher paper and even banana leaves. Sometimes the meat sticks to the wrap or it doesn’t cook evenly.

How long should I be wrapping the meat before grilling and what’s the best type of wrap to use?

Any tips or techniques to get better results would be greatly appreciated!

Edward, your question will confuse many of us here, as we generally don't wrap meat in anything before grilling it over a hot fire.

If you look at the Outdoor Cooking forums, the Grilling subforum has many photos and commonly used techniques that Johnny West has posted of his grilling adventures. He grills over charcoal and/or wood; others may grill on a gas grill.


Why do you want to wrap meat to grill?

Lee
 

Edward.G

Member
Edward, your question will confuse many of us here, as we generally don't wrap meat in anything before grilling it over a hot fire.

If you look at the Outdoor Cooking forums, the Grilling subforum has many photos and commonly used techniques that Johnny West has posted of his grilling adventures. He grills over charcoal and/or wood; others may grill on a gas grill.


Why do you want to wrap meat to grill?

Lee
Thanks for clarifying! That's a great point and I might be confusing some folks by mentioning wrapping before grilling.

Actually, I'm interested in techniques for meats cooked low and slow, like pulled pork or brisket. I've seen recipes that involve wrapping the meat at some point during the cooking process but I'm struggling to get it right.

Is there a preferred method for these types of meats on a grill? Maybe I should be focusing on smoking techniques instead?
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
I've never heard of wrapping meat in anything except bacon for grilling. Yes, that's a thing. Where are you from that they would wrap meat? Maybe if you told us what country you are in, we would understand what you are trying to do.
 

Ginny

Well-known member
If you want to do low & slow...you'll likely want to do indirect heat. Are you doing indirect? What kind of grill are you using? Smoker? Pellet, gas, charcoal?

My smoker is no longer convenient to use, so I often do a sous vide and then just add some color on the gas grill.
 

QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
Okay, now I get it. I have a bullet smoker to cook low and slow, but Johnny Walker (and others) has managed to cook things low and slow on his charcoal kettle.

It's customary to start off by putting the raw, seasoned meat on the grill grate, unwrapped. The wood smoke will permeate the meat for a couple of hours, turning the bark a nice, dark color. You don't HAVE to wrap the meat at all, and many pit bosses never wrap. If, after several hours (depending on what you're cooking), you wish to wrap the meat (helps to retain moisture, kicks up the internal temp.), then you can do so by wrapping it in 2 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil.

What are you looking to cook, Edward?

Lee
 

lilbopeep

🌹 🍉 Still trying to get it right.
Site Supporter
Okay, now I get it. I have a bullet smoker to cook low and slow, but Johnny Walker (and others) has managed to cook things low and slow on his charcoal kettle.

It's customary to start off by putting the raw, seasoned meat on the grill grate, unwrapped. The wood smoke will permeate the meat for a couple of hours, turning the bark a nice, dark color. You don't HAVE to wrap the meat at all, and many pit bosses never wrap. If, after several hours (depending on what you're cooking), you wish to wrap the meat (helps to retain moisture, kicks up the internal temp.), then you can do so by wrapping it in 2 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil.

What are you looking to cook, Edward?

Lee
QSis you would enter BBQ competitions?
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
I'm putting a pork butt (shoulder) on the rotisserie tomorrow for pulled pork for a party. Low and slow, with wood in the smoker boxes. I'll the some pictures to show you how I do it. It's not the professional way, like Lee and the pros, but it is a typical home cook way to do it in the United States.
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
This has been on the rotisserie for about 2 hours.
20240630_122632.jpg
 

Harold

Member
It sounds like you've been experimenting with different wrapping techniques for grilling and that's totally the right approach. There can definitely be a learning curve to getting that perfect balance of juicy, flavorful meat with a nice sear.

The good news is that all three options you mentioned foil, butcher paper and banana leaves, can be effective depending on what you're grilling and the desired outcome.

Here's a quick breakdown of each:

Aluminum foil: This is a classic choice that traps in moisture really well but it can also steam the meat and prevent a good sear.

Butcher paper: This is a popular option for barbecue because it allows some breathability, so you can get some smoke penetration while still keeping the meat moist. It's also less likely to stick than foil. I found a great resource on wrapping meat in butcher paper that has some good tips wrap meat in butcher paper.

Banana leaves: These add a lovely subtle flavor to the meat and can help keep it moist. However, they can be tricky to find and require soaking before use.

As for how long to wrap your meat, it really depends on the thickness of the cut and the desired level of doneness. A good rule of thumb is to wrap the meat once it reaches an internal temperature 10-15 degrees below your final target temperature. This will help it finish cooking evenly without drying out.

Here are some additional tips:

Pat your meat dry before wrapping. Excess moisture on the surface can hinder searing.
Don't overwrap the meat. You want some air circulation to allow for smoke penetration and a good bark.
Let the meat rest after grilling. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more flavorful and tender.
I hope this helps!
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
It sounds like you've been experimenting with different wrapping techniques for grilling and that's totally the right approach. There can definitely be a learning curve to getting that perfect balance of juicy, flavorful meat with a nice sear.

The good news is that all three options you mentioned foil, butcher paper and banana leaves, can be effective depending on what you're grilling and the desired outcome.

Here's a quick breakdown of each:

Aluminum foil: This is a classic choice that traps in moisture really well but it can also steam the meat and prevent a good sear.

Butcher paper: This is a popular option for barbecue because it allows some breathability, so you can get some smoke penetration while still keeping the meat moist. It's also less likely to stick than foil. I found a great resource on wrapping meat in butcher paper that has some good tips wrap meat in butcher paper.

Banana leaves: These add a lovely subtle flavor to the meat and can help keep it moist. However, they can be tricky to find and require soaking before use.

As for how long to wrap your meat, it really depends on the thickness of the cut and the desired level of doneness. A good rule of thumb is to wrap the meat once it reaches an internal temperature 10-15 degrees below your final target temperature. This will help it finish cooking evenly without drying out.

Here are some additional tips:

Pat your meat dry before wrapping. Excess moisture on the surface can hinder searing.
Don't overwrap the meat. You want some air circulation to allow for smoke penetration and a good bark.
Let the meat rest after grilling. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more flavorful and tender.
I hope this helps!
Very good. for someone who introduced himself saying "I'm not good in cooking", you've learned a lot in 8 days.
 
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