Pros and Cons with cooking Brisket with a water pan filled with water.

Andre A

TVWBB Member
I am planning a midnight cook on Memorial Day in the Washington DC area. Which means the humidity in th air should be pretty high. I am not interested in wether cooking with or without water is best, but i am interested in the pros and cons so that I can make the best decision for me.

For example I may or may not want to have to wake up at 4 or 5 AM in the morning to spritz so then atleast for this midnight cook, cooking with water will be best. BTW i will be using th Guru to assist with the cook.

Best
 

Dave Alvarado

TVWBB Super Fan
What are you cooking, and what temp are you targeting?

With water in the smoker, it's harder to hit high temps, and you'll use more fuel at anything over 212F because some of the heat energy goes to boiling the water.
 

Andre A

TVWBB Member
Apologies. I want to do Brisket at 250. For the first 6-8 hours. Then I would like to add about 4 racks some ST. Louis Style Ribs. I would like to ribs to be done about the same time my point is done. I plan on doing burnt ends.

But again my main concern is for the first 4-5 hours when I will be sleeping, I do not necessarily want to wake up to spritz if I do not have to.

Thanks
 

Mache

TVWBB Fan
Cooking brisket with the BBQ Guru will allow you to maintain temperature without a water pan. I cook briskets on my WSM with an ATC and routinely foil over my water pan and use it strictly as a heat defuser. That said, you will want to insure that the brisket does not dry out and there are several approaches for doing that.

1. Introduce water into the cooking system.

You would think that adding water into the WSM water pan would address this but in my opinion there is a big problem with that approach. The WSM water pan is directly under the brisket and will catch all the rendered fat. Fat floats on top of water and would inhibit moisture from evaporating from the water pan to humidify the smoke chamber. For that reason, I would not recommend that approach.

I would suggest that you get a disposable foil loaf pan, fill it with hot water, and set it next to the brisket on the WSM grate.

2. Spritz the brisket and wrap with foil or butcher paper at the stall.

Briskets do not lose much moisture until they hit the stall (between 160F and 170F) at that temperature the meat tightens up and squeezes water out. The evaporation of that water from the surface of the meat causes its internal temperature to stay constant (stall) until the water content of the meat is reduced enough to allow the temperature to rise. Too much water squeezed out equals a dry brisket flat.

You could try to spritz periodically after the stall for the next 8 or so hours until the brisket is done and avoid wrapping it. To me that seems like an awful lot of work.

If it were me, I would take Aaron Frankin's approach and once I hit the stall and had a nice bark formed, I would liberally spritz the brisket with water, apple juice, 50/50 water and Worcestershire sauce, broth, whatever your fancy and then wrap with butcher paper until done. The butcher paper is semi-permeable and keeps moisture in but allows for a nice bark to continue to form and does not steam the brisket in its own juices like foil would do.

I would suggest that you take a look at the BBQ with Franklin videos. Texas monthly ranked him number one in Texas brisket. There are three videos on how he does his brisket. I think you can adapt his methods to your WSM and BBQ Guru.

Good luck,

-- Mache
 

Mache

TVWBB Fan
I think you could overlap the brisket and the ribs at 250F. Obviously I would put the ribs below the brisket so they would not drip on them. Typically folks split the time between unfoiled and foiled ribs when smoking or you could do 3-2-1. You should read up what you expect the total cooking to time to be for the ribs and have a combined brisket / ribs cooking strategy mapped out.

Also, I would suggest that once your brisket and/or ribs are done and let them rest (1 hour for brisket or 30 minutes for ribs) that you keep them wrapped and then wrap in towels and place them in a cooler rinsed with boiling water. That should keep them warm without over cooking them for a few hours until its time to eat. With a little planning and the cooler method you should be able to bring everything to the table at the same time.

-- Mache
 

Dave Russell

TVWBB Honor Circle
I prefer to cook brisket faster than what water allows, 250-300. Neither water nor spritzing is needed on the wsm if you wrap in time, say around 170*.
 

Bob Sample

TVWBB Diamond Member
Spritzing or the water pan doesn't keep your meat from drying out. The water in the pan is for a heat sink to help keep a constant temperature, since your using a atc you shouldn't need it. Spritzing is just adding another layer to your flavour profile. BBQ meat becomes moist when the fat fibres attached to the muscle fibres break down which begins in earnest at around 160 degrees causing the stall ( there is a long scientific explanation for this with all the fancy words). An underdone brisket is dry and tough because the fat fibres havn't broken down enough.
 

Cody

TVWBB Fan
To be honest I've noticed you've asked a lot of questions about brisket which is fine but if you haven't smoked one you may want to before you have people come over. Brisket is a tricky meat and any experience will help.
 

Andre A

TVWBB Member
I've actually smoked two briskets, My family thought they were awesome, but they don't really no better. But at least in my eyes of my two boys, I'm god like. But used a weber performer with a smokenator for those two cooks. I cooked just the flats and I also used the texas crutch.

With this memorial day coming up, I now have a WSM 22 and the guru and I want to do a whole packer. And while I do not expect my brisket to be competition material, I do think that the folks coming to my home won't be no worse for ware.
 

Cody

TVWBB Fan
Good to hear and you will love not having to baby the brisket this time. I started smoking on my kettle and love not baby the WSM.
 

Mache

TVWBB Fan
I agree with the earlier poster. Nothing like doing a trial run smoking a packer on the WSM before the big day. It will give you confidence and experience that you can use when you are doing both brisket and ribs on Memorial Day.

-- Mache
 

Dave Alvarado

TVWBB Super Fan
Apologies. I want to do Brisket at 250. For the first 6-8 hours. Then I would like to add about 4 racks some ST. Louis Style Ribs. I would like to ribs to be done about the same time my point is done. I plan on doing burnt ends.

But again my main concern is for the first 4-5 hours when I will be sleeping, I do not necessarily want to wake up to spritz if I do not have to.

Thanks
You should be fine then. No problems holding 250 with water (assuming it's not freezing where you're at), and that timeframe seems reasonable to not have to fill the pan back up. I personally don't think you need to spritz at all, but the added humidity will definitely help if you prefer the surface moisture from spritzing. Basically you'll have the same thing, a bunch of evaporated liquid in the smoker. It's just that it will be coming from a water bowl instead of from the surface of your meat.
 

S.Six

TVWBB All-Star
Lots has been said already, so I don’t have much to say. But I had to comment, because I just did that same cook last night into today! About a 15.5lbs packer with three racks of ribs. Put the brisket on at 8:30pm last night, and the ribs on this morning at 10:15am. All has gone pretty well, and I'm waiting on the ribs to finish in the foil and then sauce and back on for 30min. Also have burnt ends going now too. Hope it turns out well for ya!
 

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