Foil packet cooking is an easy, virtually mess-free way to cook over a campfire, briquettes, or propane grills.
Below we’ll go over three different methods for creating a foil pack. Each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Your best bet for successful foil cooking has a lot to do with the type of foil you use and how you fold it up. Heavy-duty foil is your best friend here. Lighter weight foil will tear and you’re very likely to lose your food to the fire. And who wants that to happen?
The trick to making foil packet cooking successful is to customize your foil pack to what’s inside it. There are several different styles of foil packs that you can use to ensure the very best results for your meal.
The flat pack is just that – a flattened pack of foil that is sturdy enough to turn while on the cooking surface. It works best for foods that need browning and less steam. Some examples of ideal foods would be fish, meat, and hashbrowns.
Start with a rectangle of foil. Your rectangle doesn’t have to be perfectly even.
Place your food roughly in the center of it. I used sweet potatoes for our example below. They cook well in all of the different pack styles, but your finish will be different depending on the type. With this type of foil pack, they’ll be slightly crispy and browned.
At this point, season your food if desired. A little oil for veggies is a great idea and seasonings are always a plus. Just don’t go too overboard with the oil or you’ll have a weird oily finished product. A teaspoon is usually enough for about this amount of food.
Now, take the sides and pull them towards each other. Press the edge together and fold several times towards the food . You want to flatten this packet out so that there is as little space between the food and the foil as possible.
Last, take the two remaining open ends and fold up towards the food. Your packet will look like this when you’re done. These packets are super sturdy and are very easy to turn on the fire with a pair of tongs.
The tent pack is a foil packet that has a little tent at the middle of it – to allow for some room for the food inside to steam. It is ideal for foods like veggies, fruits, and other foods that require steam but not browning.
To create the tent pack you start with a rectangle of foil. Place your food in the middle of the foil. Add any seasoning, oils, or sauces. If you are cooking fish with veggies, the moisture from the veggies will create your steam. But if you’ve got a very dry food (like fish by itself) – you can add sauces or even a few ice cubes to create additional moisture.
Notice I used sweet potatoes again, but when cooked this way they are soft and not browned…and ideal for turning into mash.
Next, bring both sides up to the center.
Roll your two edges down a bit to form a “tent” of foil. There will be several inches of space between the top of the food and the foil (that empty space is important).
Last, you’ll want to roll up either edge just a bit to form a seal so that your food won’t fall into the fire. You just have to be a little bit careful not to crush the tent you just made.
This pack allows you to grab your food from the fire by the handles so you can really bury it deep into the coals. It sort of looks like a crazy croissant when you’re done folding it up. It’s ideal for foods that need to get even consistent heat to cook. Alternatively you could use it to cook your food more quickly since both sides are cooking at the same time if buried in the coals.
Delicate foods that scorch easily (like fish) are not a good choice for this method because the heat will be very high.
The challenge with this type of foil pack is that its almost impossible to check to see if your food is done without destroying it.
Start with a rectangle of foil.
Place your food in the center of it and add any seasonings, oils, or sauces.
Fold the edges together to create a pouch of food.
Then you take each remaining long edge one at a time and twist so that the packet is sealed and you have two handles. It’ll look like this when you’re done. The handles on this will be very hot so please remember to use hot pads or tongs when you’re grabbing it from the coals. Aluminum foil does cool quickly, but it’ll be scalding hot when it’s first pulled out of the fire.