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Does it make any difference when you wrap food with aluminum foil for grilling or baking or making a steam pouch whether you put the shiny side in or the shiny side out?

I've seen at least one answer to a questiong about grilling that made mention of this.

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

I've been told that the shiny side should go on the inside for cooking, and the outside for freezing. In other words, do you want to reflect the heat into the food, or away from the food?

However, common sense (which fails very often) tells me that with the temperature ranges involved, any benefit is marginal, if it exists at all.

The only time it might matter, is if you were trying to warm something up in the sun. Then it might make a difference.

EDIT: From The Straight Dope:

The truth is that the shiny side is not treated with a dangerous chemical. Mineral oil is used as a lubricant during the rolling process, some trace of which may remain on the finished foil--but it's not dangerous. The shiny side is shiny because of the way foil is made. During the last pass through the rolling mill, a double thickness of foil is run between the rollers. The side of each sheet that comes in contact with the polished steel rollers comes out shiny. The other side has a matte finish.


The official word from the Reynolds aluminum people is as follows: "It makes little difference which side of the Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil you use--both sides do the same fine job of cooking, freezing, and storing food. There is a slight difference in the reflectivity of the two sides, but it is so slight that laboratory instruments are required to measure it."

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This is what I've been told. A nagging voice in the back of my head says: 'But if it doesn't really matter, wouldn't companies selling this foil go for the cheaper production method (presumably) of having identical sides to the foil?' – Tobias Op Den Brouw Jul 22 '10 at 13:43
See edit. The shiny/dull side IS the cheaper method. – Chris Cudmore Jul 22 '10 at 13:51
Also, even if it wasn't, public perception would play a role. Plenty of people think it matters. – ceejayoz Jul 22 '10 at 14:34

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