I am planning on cooking steaks and vegetables in sealed foil packets on my charcoal grill and I just realized that foil can make a pretty good seal around the food. Will I be unable to get any of the smoky flavor from the charcoal if I cook using this method? Is there a way to get the flavor by poking small holes on the top of the foil, or will this defeat the purpose of the sealed packet by letting too much moisture out?

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    What is the purpose of cooking it in foil in the first place? Unless you are cooking a very tough cut of meat over very low heat, I can't imagine how you could get a good result from cooking a steak wrapped in foil, since it will most likely just steam inside. – ESultanik Aug 8 '16 at 17:54
  • @ESultanik I'll be cooking a very lean cut of meat and I hope this method keeps it moist. Is this a bad idea in general? – LSUEngineer Aug 8 '16 at 20:05
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    It probably won't help at all. Meat can and will get dry regardless of how moist the environment is in which it's cooked. Your best bet is probably to sear the meat as quickly as possible on as high heat as possible. For thin cuts of meat, you can actually place the meat directly on the coals. – ESultanik Aug 8 '16 at 20:11
  • If the concern is moisture, you may try adding fat to the steak by wrapping in bacon or similar and searing quickly. But while you will get some smoke while it is wrapped up, for the most part you will just have a pale, steamed steak. – geoffmpm Aug 23 '16 at 15:41

No, not really exposure is sort of the key in any method of light, and/or heavy, and/or cold, and/or hot, and/or direct, and/or indirect smoking or smoking in general. This holds true for charcoal grilling as well.


A lot of people smoke brisket covered in foil and it gets the smoke flavor but it is is also smoked for several hours.

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    Reposting a previous comment with more explanation: this isn't really a direct answer to the question, since long-cooked brisket is pretty different from short-cooked steaks. I won't delete it, since it does sort of address the question, but it's far from clear what it's actually saying about the OP's situation. – Cascabel Aug 8 '16 at 23:19
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    ...and time makes a difference. You know several hours of smoking imparts significant smoke flavor even through foil. Do you know if 20 minutes does? Do you know how it compares to the flavor you'd get without the foil? – Cascabel Aug 8 '16 at 23:33
  • @Paparazzi Might I offer some advice? – ArtOfCode Aug 9 '16 at 0:02
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    I didn't say that it wasn't an answer... I don't think it's a particularly good answer, so I've downvoted it myself but if you have to be pedantic about it, it is an answer... but if you have to be pedantic about it, you might want to flesh the answer out a bit. – Catija Aug 9 '16 at 0:02
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    @Paparazzi Often a good way to address downvotes and comments is to edit your answer. In this case, I think we all agree you've provided a piece of useful information; what we're saying is that it would be even better if you more thoroughly, directly answered the question. From your answer, it's hard to say if the OP will get as much smoke flavor as they would without the foil, or if it takes a long time to get good smoke flavor through foil so it works on brisket but might not be great for a lean, quickly-cooked cut. – Cascabel Aug 9 '16 at 14:19

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