Toblerone chocolate bars are part of why aluminum foil is so popular for wrapping food today. Since then, lots of foods have seen aluminum wraps for preservation and cooking.
Can you grill steak on aluminum foil? I’ll share some alarming facts that will change how you feel about this household staple.
A good chef will tell you that you need to rest your steak before serving it, which means wrapping the steak in aluminum foil right after grilling it on high heat for 15 minutes. Make a dome around the steak with aluminum foil and seal edges tightly to keep moisture and heat inside for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.
Is It Safe To Grill Steaks On Aluminum Foil
The debate among chefs and cooking websites about whether it’s safe to grill steaks on aluminum foil or cook anything with it is a heated one.
People don’t like to give up their habits, especially when it leads to a moist, rich, and juicy cut of meat. Instead of repeating rumors and opinions, I prefer to use respected scientific sources for information.
According to a study at peer-reviewed PubMed on foil cooking meats, “… Cooking increased the aluminum concentration of both the white and red meats. The increase was 89-378% in red meats and 76-215% in poultry.”
However, this is not the only study to come to this conclusion. Here is another study from Electro-Chemical Sciences.org that says, “Aluminum foil is not suitable for cooking especially with acidic food. It is also possible that excessive consumption of food baked with aluminum foil may carry a serious health risk.”
Both of these studies note that the time, temperature, and ingredients impact how much aluminum the food absorbs.
Evidently, it is worse when using citric acid and spices or at higher temperatures. Still, even low-temperature cooking temperatures lead to significant increases in the amount of aluminum you are ingesting.
Should I Grill Steaks On Foil
There are several important reasons you should not grill steaks on aluminum foil. These reasons are broken down into two basic categories.
First, aluminum foil is not suitable for your grill. Secondly, using heated aluminum foil can impact your health.
With so many ‘lifehacks’ on the internet, it’s easy to look at something that seems clever and assume that means it’s flawless. Regrettably, this is the case with foil on the grill.
Putting foil over your grill can protect the metal and prevent burnt-on messes, so you don’t need to clean later.
Additionally, putting food in foil wrappers keeps it moist while cooking. When the juices don’t run out of your steak, it’s flavorful.
Plus, as a nice side bonus, you don’t get those minor fire flare-ups from dripping fat.
Regrettably, foil can damage the metal of your grill. Moreover, it restricts airflow within the grill itself, which interferes with even and safe cooking.
How To Cook Foil Wrapped Steak On The Grill
The best way to cook foil-wrapped steak on the grill is to choose a different, safer way to cook. Nevertheless, there are recipes all over the internet detailing how and why various cooks feel you should try this.
Below I have shared a popular technique that is supposed to yield a very juicy steak meal. By using a packet to enclose the cut of meat, you get even cooking with very little moisture loss
Moreover, it is generally recommended to cook vegetables like potatoes, onions, and bell peppers along with your meat for flavor.
Below I have shared a popular technique that is supposed to yield a very juicy steak meal. However, foil wrapping may interfere with grill marks and charring.
- Get your ingredients together. Cooking steaks on the grill generally involves making a steak packet with other vegetables inside.
- Set your foil out and spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Place the vegetables on first, then season to taste and give the veggies a mix.
- Next, add your raw steak on top.
- Bring the sides of your foil up and fold them together, forming a well-sealed packet.
- Press the packet around your steak and veggies tightly.
- Put the foil-wrapped steak on a hot grill and cook for about thirty minutes.
Wrapping Steak In Aluminum Foil After Grilling
Some people prefer to eat as soon as the meal is cooked, and others like to wait. A good chef will tell you that you need to rest your meat before serving it, which often means wrapping steak in aluminum foil after grilling.
Why does it matter? What about wrapping it for storage later? Let’s detangle the questions and sort out this mess.
There are two different wraps to consider here. The first is a resting wrap, and the second is a sealing wrap. However, it would be best if you did not use foil for either one.
Instead, I have suggestions for both that don’t involve potentially toxic metal leaching into your food.
Resting Steak Without Foil
When you rest steak with aluminum foil, you make a dome around it to keep moisture and heat.
This may seem like a foolproof way to keep the metal off the food, but those vapors still heat the metal and carry microparticles. Skip the foil and grab a plate and a glass mixing bowl.
Set your freshly grilled steaks on the plate and then invert the glass mixing bowl to place over the top. You can see your steak as it steams up the inside of the nontoxic bowl.
More importantly, glass on a flat plate will form an excellent seal while the meat relaxes into a more tender state.
You should rest cooked steaks for either five minutes per inch of thickness or ten minutes per pound of weight according to Svenson’s. They also point out that five to ten minutes is the absolute minimum.
Better Options For Storing Steak
Storing steak without foil is simple. Let it cool down, so it’s around room temperature. You can even use your plate and glass mixing bowl from the step above to keep it on the counter while it cools.
Once it’s not hot, transfer the steak over to a plastic Tupperware or plastic bag. While some plastics can be harmful as well, most of them are more dangerous when exposed to heat.
If you store the cooked meat in your freezer, I recommend double wrapping in cling wrap and then a plastic freezer bag. I prefer Stasher Platinum Silicone Food Grade Reusable Storage Bags from Amazon.
They are easy to wash, and I don’t have to keep throwing out bags and foil balls. Plus, they work great to help prevent freezer burn.
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Last update on 2022-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Helpful Tips To Know About Grilling Steak On Aluminum Foil
The most important tip I can offer about grilling steak on aluminum foil is that you shouldn’t do it at all. If you must, use a frying pan or get your girl dirty, but skip the foil.
Here are more helpful tips to know about grilling steak on aluminum foil.
- Foil isn’t the only place you can find aluminum getting into your food. Aluminum spatulas and even aluminum pots and pans can contaminate your meals and increase the risk to your health.
- Alzheimer’s is one potential side effect of using aluminum in your grilling and cooking, but there are more. For example, bone loss and bone disease are sometimes linked to a buildup of aluminum.
- Both silicone and cast iron tend to cost a little more than their aluminum counterparts, but it’s worth it. Not only are permanent storage and cooking materials better for the environment because they cut down your waste, but they are also better for your health. Doctor’s bills cost a lot more than reusable storage containers and good grill cleaner.
We all grew up with foil in foodservice. Whether you used it at home for grilling steaks or your restaurant meals were wrapped in aluminum foil swans, it’s part of our culture.
Considering how strict the FDA is about some foods, like unpasteurized milk, it’s easy to imagine that everything is as heavily regulated ‘just in case’ it’s unhealthy for you.
Sadly, this is not the case with foil. There’s decent scientific evidence showing that aluminum is linked to some nasty health issues.
There’s no question that steaks and other foods absorb large quantities of that aluminum when exposed to it. Please don’t cook with aluminum. Use a bare grill, silicone baking mat, or just about any alternative.