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Smoking question.

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Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:07 pm
flints rare
rare

Posts: 13
Location: Raleigh, nc
I'm about to throw an 8 pound boston butt on my brinkmann smoker to make some pulled pork. The smoker has a water bowl that comes with it. Do I need it to smoke the shoulder or will it be OK if I leave it out?

Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:50 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
I much prefer to use the water bowl and fill it with water. It helps in keeping the meat from drying out and hold temps from fluctuating too much. Some people fill it with sand to keep temperatures from fluctuating too much and argue it is a better thermal mass than water. Still others put wine, fruits, beer and other things in the water to perfume the meat but I haven't found that doing that has much effect. In other words, the smoker has a water bowl for a purpose :wink: Hope this helps. BTW, I'm in Durham, when's dinner? :D

Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:06 pm
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC

Just to confuse things. I don't use a water basin in my Brinkman to smoke a pork butt. I think there is enough fat to keep it moist. I do mop it about every hour.
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Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 9:08 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
ThrRoff wrote:
Just to confuse things. I don't use a water basin in my Brinkman to smoke a pork butt. I think there is enough fat to keep it moist. I do mop it about every hour.


I agree the fat cap is crucial and you should always cook with it on the top but so is the thermal mass in a vertical water smoker. Without gives you no benefit of the steadying out the cooking temperatures which is important when cooking with natural fuels (wood, charcoal) when we're dealing with a small area cubic inch wise in a vertical compared to a horizontal which has much more area and therefore doesn't require the thermal mass for temp regulation as much. wink: It also helps keep the temps down and from running away. In other words, it helps smooth out the peaks and valleys in temp. Of course, that it adds moisture to the cooking environment is just bonus. Sorry but I'm quite adamant about the water pan, especially since this guy sounds like a beginner and will need the benefit of having as steady a temperature as possible. :) Not doubting your skills without it at all ThrRoff, I just think he's going to do much better using it, especially at first.


If you want to know more about vertical water smokers, this is a good site although it's focus is on the Weber Smokey Mountain aka bullet (my baby), you can glean a good bit of knowledge anyway:

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com

Be sure and check out the modifications people do to these things. It's like Monster Garage except for grills! 8)

Also, you guys with WSM, take the tip from the virtual bullet and buy yourself a Brinkman water pan since it holds much more water and doesn't require refills as the stock water pan does.

Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 10:40 pm
dkirn well done
well done

Posts: 388
Location: St. Louis, MO
As most of you know I do not have a Brinkman smoker (I use something just a bit larger) and I do not use any kind of water pan when I smoke anything, however I do mop the meat about once an hour.

However since Flints seems to be a first timer on the pork butt I would suggest to use the water pan just to add a little help (a crutch sort of)
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Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 10:57 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
dkirn wrote:
(a crutch sort of)


Oh come on. Then everybody using gas uses a crutch. They're designed with a water bowl for a reason. Maybe your smoker is large enough that it doesn't come into play. Mine easily can get too hot without it regardless of vent setting but then 250 is too hot for me.

Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:13 pm
dkirn well done
well done

Posts: 388
Location: St. Louis, MO
Airfoils -

As I said I do not have that type of smoker - mine is just slightly larger than that (http://www.bbqpits.com/mobile30x30.htm). And yes I would consider a water pan a crutch since it does help stablize the temperature and does not require you to mop hourly - but I consider those items the ones that make a true Pit Master!
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Post Mon Mar 01, 2004 12:28 am
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
dkirn wrote:
Airfoils -

As I said I do not have that type of smoker - mine is just slightly larger than that (http://www.bbqpits.com/mobile30x30.htm). And yes I would consider a water pan a crutch since it does help stablize the temperature and does not require you to mop hourly - but I consider those items the ones that make a true Pit Master!


Oh yeah. Anyone using a puny water smoker could never be considered a "true pit master". Never mind that WSM's kick the mess out of big trailer "pit master" smokers in competition on a regular basis. LOL, you're a riot. FYI, it doesn't require a tow trailer pit to make good or even competition Q as you so infer. One of my favorite examples coming from Steve's description of Vietnamese using wheel rims and chicken wire in Barbecue Bible, just great stuff an great reading; felt like I was there and wished I was for that feast. Then of course there's always digging a hole (hey a REAL pit!) and cooking in that but you can't easily tow around a hole and it doesn't come with "chrome nugget mags" or a hyperlink. :roll:

And yes I would consider a water pan a crutch since it does help stablize the temperature


Alright then, vents are a crutch too or are they an exception because your smoker depends on them? :?

One more for you, using a water smoker in no way precludes mopping. :lol:

Best BBQ I ever had startd with these:

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Post Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:15 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
In this corner sporting a weber Bullet hailing from North Carolina, a wise guy of wood, a champion of charcoal...AIRFOILS!! And in the other corner sporting a Klose rig, hailing from Minnesota, the undisputed King of the Rib,...Deputy Dkirn!!!!

Now we're going to have a clean fight, no low blows as to a mans preference of gas or charcoal, watch the temperatures, and on my signal come out cooking...

I'll judge (eat) the results.
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Post Mon Mar 01, 2004 11:45 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
flints, as you can see you've asked a great question. My suggestion would be to use the water pan until you have some experience under your belt, as it does help to regulate the temperature in your smoker. Then after you can create predictable results with your equipment, try experimenting without the water pan if you wish. Then you'll be able to make the call for what is best for you. As you can see, everyone has their own opinion.
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Post Mon Mar 01, 2004 2:47 pm
Guest

Well now, didn't intend to start a brawl. The main reason I asked was b/c the waterbowl that came with the smoker was incredibly nasty from the last time I used it (4 months ago) b/c I forgot to clean it (oops). I've had a few failed attempts at making pulled pork in that I couldn't get it to pull. I got some really good feedback from the last time I asked this website a long time ago. The meat tasted fantastic and was really juicy and tender, but it wouldn't pull. Apparently I wasn't getting the meat hot enough for long enough. This time around, though, it worked like a charm. Kept the heat up, put in a water pan and smoked it for 8 hours. Fantastic stuff. While all the ladies were watching the Oscars, I had the guys down for beer, 'cue and poker.

Post Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:17 pm
hickory pete well done
well done

Posts: 403
That's great news! Part of all of this is the experimenting until you get it the way you like. Sounds like after "a few failed attempts" you were very successful. :)

Pete


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