Advice on utilizing top and bottom racks


 

Bobby-Blckrhno

New member
For the 4th I’ll be smoking two briskets in my 22.5 WSM. One for the house and the other for the guy that helped us build our Yardistry 12x16 gazebo.

Any advice? As I have not smoked two briskets at the same time before. Probe thermometers, wood chunks and lemonade will all be present.

Question is, should I use the water pan or go without?

Thanks,

Bobby
 
I would definitely use the water pan, and wrap it up in foil, and run it dry. The bottom rack actually runs a little cooler than the top rack. Your top brisket will probably cook faster, Assuming the briskets are about the same size, I would plan on wrapping the top brisket first, putting it on the bottom rack and then taking the brisket off of the bottom rack, putting it on the top - getting it to the stall then wrapping it.

If I'm wrong, and they cook at close to the same speed, nothing wrong with letting one of the brisket sits in the "stall" for a little while the other one catches up. Hopefully you've got enough temperature probes to monitor both briskets at the same time.
 
I’m on board with John here, dry foil pan, switch grates. I don’t wrap but, there is no deep seated reason that I don’t aside from the fact that I’m basically a lazy old fart.
 
I would definitely use the water pan, and wrap it up in foil, and run it dry. The bottom rack actually runs a little cooler than the top rack. Your top brisket will probably cook faster, Assuming the briskets are about the same size, I would plan on wrapping the top brisket first, putting it on the bottom rack and then taking the brisket off of the bottom rack, putting it on the top - getting it to the stall then wrapping it.

If I'm wrong, and they cook at close to the same speed, nothing wrong with letting one of the brisket sits in the "stall" for a little while the other one catches up. Hopefully you've got enough temperature probes to monitor both briskets at the same time.
I’m on board with John here, dry foil pan, switch grates. I don’t wrap but, there is no deep seated reason that I don’t aside from the fact that I’m basically a lazy old fart.
Why not use the water pan here? I'm still fairly new to the WSM.
 
I have never used water in the pan, it takes a lot of heat to get that going and really I am a lazy old fart, I use a terracotta plant saucer dbl. wrapped with foil and I’m quite happy with my result. It’s simply one less thing to fiddle with. As I e said many times, I set it up, propane torch for a couple of minutes through the door, close it up and don‘t peek until I‘m getting near temperature wise. Light it and leave it. The WSM is such a good design that it allows you to really do that once you get used to how it works and why. I’ve not used mine as much this summer as I’d like but, it’s all set under the windscreen. I could get that fired in ten minutes!
 
Generally, I use a small amount of water in the beginning to up the humidity and help form the bark, just a quart or a little more usually , then let it go dry..it might not make a difference, or maybe a slight one, but it's how I roll, lol
 
I generally don't use water in my WSM, mainly because it can be a mess to dispose of the water (unless I let it run out). In this case you might just to protect that lower brisket a bit more.
 
I would definitely use the water pan, and wrap it up in foil, and run it dry. The bottom rack actually runs a little cooler than the top rack. Your top brisket will probably cook faster, Assuming the briskets are about the same size, I would plan on wrapping the top brisket first, putting it on the bottom rack and then taking the brisket off of the bottom rack, putting it on the top - getting it to the stall then wrapping it.

If I'm wrong, and they cook at close to the same speed, nothing wrong with letting one of the brisket sits in the "stall" for a little while the other one catches up. Hopefully you've got enough temperature probes to monitor both briskets at the same time.
Thanks for the feedback. I’ll try it with the water pan and adjust my temps accordingly. Thanks again.
 
I'm a fan of water in the water pan in many instances, especially for WSM newbies. Not for poultry, however.

Chris…thanks for the input. I’m leaning more towards the water pan. I generally don’t use it and just spritz every hour, but in this case I’m going to use it.
 
Two ways to use the "water pan"

first - as Weber intends, put some water in that sucker... I agree, it probably helps with bark, but there are some cons as well, messy, risk of spilling water, etc..

second - run it dry, wrap it in foil, like I do, or put a big terra cotta plate in there if you want like Tim does. A dry, foiled pan keeps rendered fat from dripping into the charcoal, and guarantees indirect heat. A big terra cotta plate helps it act like a heat sink, helps stabilize temperatures a bit.

I recommend trying both ways and see which way you like best.
 
Hey Timothy. I think it’s preference and what technique you prefer to use either at that moment, what you’re use to doing or what works for you.
Well, of course it is, I decided that I would go the “less fuss” no water trail after reading this forum for several months before scoring the great deal on my 18”WSM from a member. The pan was very clean, normal wear. I looked at it and said I’m keeping it that way! It sits on a shelf in the garage. The terra-cotta saucer was on sale at a greenhouse the week I got the smoker home. Fouled that and have never looked back! It’s all about what you get comfortable with. Some people insist that you can’t get good results without using water (my extremely hard headed brother) I simply don’t feel the same. i have a couple of buddies that have done well in competitions and both have said my products are as good and in some cases superior to what they won with. I’m sure they were being kind but, the empty plates speak volumes to me!

@John,
I think the saucer really only has any great bearing on temperature only until that gets to a consistent heat which will vary as the coal burns some. As it really being much of a heat sink? It’s not THAT heavy, maybe a few degrees of added stability but, I really don’t think it does that much. Except it makes a better target for grease onto foil with enough depth to hold it in place until disposal. Does that make sense to anyone but me?
 
Two ways to use the "water pan"

first - as Weber intends, put some water in that sucker... I agree, it probably helps with bark, but there are some cons as well, messy, risk of spilling water, etc..

second - run it dry, wrap it in foil, like I do, or put a big terra cotta plate in there if you want like Tim does. A dry, foiled pan keeps rendered fat from dripping into the charcoal, and guarantees indirect heat. A big terra cotta plate helps it act like a heat sink, helps stabilize temperatures a bit.

I recommend trying both ways and see which way you like best.
I prefer to be in the middle. I use the water pan but only fill it ~1/2 full. Lots of moisture at the start of the cook but dry at the end. Not sure if its better, but that's how I do it on my WSM 14/22 and E6.
 
Well, of course it is, I decided that I would go the “less fuss” no water trail after reading this forum for several months before scoring the great deal on my 18”WSM from a member. The pan was very clean, normal wear. I looked at it and said I’m keeping it that way! It sits on a shelf in the garage. The terra-cotta saucer was on sale at a greenhouse the week I got the smoker home. Fouled that and have never looked back! It’s all about what you get comfortable with. Some people insist that you can’t get good results without using water (my extremely hard headed brother) I simply don’t feel the same. i have a couple of buddies that have done well in competitions and both have said my products are as good and in some cases superior to what they won with. I’m sure they were being kind but, the empty plates speak volumes to me!

@John,
I think the saucer really only has any great bearing on temperature only until that gets to a consistent heat which will vary as the coal burns some. As it really being much of a heat sink? It’s not THAT heavy, maybe a few degrees of added stability but, I really don’t think it does that much. Except it makes a better target for grease onto foil with enough depth to hold it in place until disposal. Does that make sense to anyone but me?
I agree with you. Like I said before, I’ve used both methods and I think when I don’t use the water pan, it’s just being lazy and not wanting to dispose of the water, etc. Since I’ll be doing two briskets at once this weekend, I’ll use the water pan just to see if I notice a difference.
 
UPDATE…

Warning…long post. Sorry.


Hey All,

I wanted to update this thread. I finally got around to smoking two 12lbs briskets utilizing both racks in my 22in WSM. I started the cook at 10pm PST here in California at 225 using the water pan filled to 3/4. Vents adjusted to bottom 2 fully closed, the third bottom vent fully open and the exhaust on top 1/4 open.

Once the meat was on, I added some pecan chunks and let the WSM do its thing. I monitored the temp up until 12mid. For whatever reason, I did have a spike in temp up to 325ish. I adjusted the vents a bit to bring the temp back down and it settled just above 215. Hopped into bed for a few hours.

2am…checked the progress and all was good. Sprayed with some apple juice and replaced the lid. Temp at this point was 146 using my MEATER Probe for the top brisket; 137 for the bottom brisket

5am…checked on the briskets. Temp 146 top; 137 bottom. I’m thinking it’s in the stall at this point which I found weird. Because all the other briskets that I’ve smoked, they would go into the stall between 168 and 175. I pulled them both, wrapped them in pink butcher paper and moved them both to the top rack, in hopes that the bottom brisket would catc up to the top brisket, temp wise.

10am…we are now at the 12 hour mark and I haven’t noticed a changed in the internal temp in either brisket. I opened the vents on the bottom and the exhaust vents hoping that I can get things moving. NOPE…

12Noon…Temps are still the same. So I got out my ThermoWorks meat thermometer and put probes into both briskets, temp 194 in one and 189 in the other. AHHHH…Said the Dentist’s. I also verified with my insta-read thermometer with a variance of 3 degrees. Apparently something was off. I pulled the MEATER Probe and finished the rest of the cook with my wired thermometer.

3pm…ThermoWorks goes off for the first at 205 and the second at 202. Both go into a cooler to rest.

Being that our guests weren’t arriving until 5 or so, I just let the briskets hangout in the cooler until then.

What did I learn? For long cooks, make sure that you have enough charcoal. At the 9am mark, I noticed that my charcoal had completely burned out. I had to refill the smoker to continue the cook, the temp didn’t drop below 215 at the time. Also, have extra thermometers on hand just in-case something goes sideways or runs out of batteries during your cook.

All in all, I was satisfied with the end product and so were all those that consumed the brisket and first time burnt ends.

Pics attached…IMG_8980.jpegIMG_2972.jpegIMG_2973.jpegIMG_2967.jpegIMG_2968.jpeg
 

 

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