Foil Pans for Smoking – A Great Idea!!
One of the newest things I have been doing is implementing the use of foil pans into the smoking process.
Some of you may already do this but I was a little slow at using them since it does seem like it would hinder the flow of smoke and allow the meat to sit in juice for several hours.. this would be nothing short of boiling the meat if only on the bottom.
In my experiments, I initially just laid the meat whether it was brisket, pork shoulder or even ribs, into the pan and let it smoke as usual.
The results were fantastic but the "sitting in juice" problem annoyed me and I set about to find a way to avoid this.
My fix was a simple muffin pan turned upside down in the bottom of the big foil roasting pan.
This allows me to set my meat up above the juices.
This setup is a thing of genius in that it contains the juices, keeps the meat out of the juices and keeps the smoker clean as a whistle.
It also makes it super easy to carry the meat into the house once the meat is finished smoking/cooking.
One word of caution.. be very careful when using a knife on the meat inside the pan.
These pans are easy to cut and you really don't want a pan full of juice leaking out all over the cabinet.. (don't ask me how I know that) just be careful if you are cutting the meat while it is still in the pan.
I like to buy the ones with plastic lids as this allows me to cook the meat, slice the meat and then cover it and place it in the fridge for serving later if I am cooking things ahead of time.
For my example, I have made two meat loaves and placed them on top of the muffin pan to see if the muffin pan was sturdy enough to keep them from falling apart.
If so then it will keep the meat out of the juice, allow smoke to practically all sides, and keep my smoker clean as a whistle.
My wife mixed up the meat loaves.. hers is hard to beat and frankly I don't even try!
Here is her basic recipe:
- 2.5 lbs of ground chuck
- 1.5 cups diced onion
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup worcestershire
- 2 cups plain bread crumbs
- 1 TBS garlic powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
Mix everything by hand until it is well blended. Form into a loaf.
Notes: you can add other things like green peppers, slivers of garlic, cheese, jalapeno's, etc. to really kick things up a bit.
We tend to prefer the simple and let the smoke take it to new levels.
You are only limited by your imagination!
Once the loaves were prepared..
I fired up my smoker with an oak base and a few sticks of apple. Once it was maintaining about 250 degrees, I placed the pan with the meat loaves onto the grate and quickly closed the lid.
I like to keep the heat low for the first hour or so to allow some good smoking action then I let it creep on up to above normal smoking temperatures (325-350 degrees) for the rest of the time.
Meatloaf only requires about 3 hours or so and it sure beats any meatloaf you ever had out of the oven.
About 30 minutes before the meat loaves are finished, I brush on a good hearty portion of my special barbecue sauce (you gotta try it!) and let this caramelize a little on the top and sides of the meat.
30 minutes later, I am bringing them into the house and setting them on the cabinet top to cool.. dinner is served!
Now, for my experiment, I don't think the muffin pans were the best thing since it did not support the meat as well as I like.
However, this setup works extremely well for most other things like ribs, brisket, etc. since it allows the meat to smoke cook outside of the juices while still containing the juices for later or just to keep your smoker a little cleaner.
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