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A question about water pans, moisture, and bark

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    A question about water pans, moisture, and bark

    I've smoked all of your standard stuff, from brisket to loins, ribs to butts. I have been highly successful and have also failed miserably. All part of the learning process, I reckon.

    One thing I have been unable to achieve is a good bark when using a water pan. I haven't had to throw anything out with either mothod, but it seems that once the water pan is put in the smoker, all hope of a nice crust goes out the window.

    So what's the trick, or is there one? Should I start with the pan for a couple hours, then remove it? Is two hours with a pan better than none?

    Edit: I think I put this in the wrong forum. Maybe a nice mod will move it to the appropriate location.
    Last edited by Usernamevalid; May 18, 2015, 10:35 AM.

    #2
    Hey User, what are you cooking on? That will let me know where to move this.

    I've always preferred a moist cooking environment, and thus have always cooked through the stall unwrapped to attain the bark I want. Never really worried about withholding water to see if I attain the bark I want sooner.

    I've read about one competition cook who prefers to cook without water, until he gets the bark he wants, then adds water to the equation.

    Though I have had some close calls with briskets, I have never had a problem getting the bark I want before they get to probe tender in the flat aka 203-205 internal.

    Comment


      #3
      Profane.

      The last couple of butts I did were small. One was just for dinner, and the other was a test piece for my smoker. In both cases I let the Maverick dictate, medium at 150 (if memory serves). Also in both cases, the bark failed to form. One I used the crutch, the second I let cook through the stall.

      In looking at meatheads pulled pork recipe as an example, he says his target is 203. Ok, that'd be a significant difference and probably enough to form the bark, but it seems like we'd be approaching drying-out territory. Second question is, why so done? Does it help the meat shred more easily?

      Comment


        #4
        Taking the PB to 203 will make it pull better and it will also make it more tender. As for the water pan, I can't speak of the profane cooker but I never use a water pan in my stick burner and have yet had a dry PB.
        Last edited by DWCowles; May 19, 2015, 12:01 AM.

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          #5
          Originally posted by DWCowles View Post
          Yes it pulls easier and more tender. I've never smoke a butt using profane only wood and have never used a water pan. Never had a dry butt yet.
          Now that right there is good info.

          Comment


            #6
            You can always put the butt back on to firm up the bark after the wrap.

            Comment


              #7
              What rub are you using?

              I have the most experience in the WSM. I've smoked with and without water in the pan. Success with both.

              I really like low n slow, and i'm very generous with the Memphis dust, so I get a really crusty, beautiful Mrs. Brown on there.

              Comment


                #8
                I have a BGE... Egger's don't use water pans, ever.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by PaulstheRibList View Post
                  What rub are you using?

                  I have the most experience in the WSM. I've smoked with and without water in the pan. Success with both.

                  I really like low n slow, and i'm very generous with the Memphis dust, so I get a really crusty, beautiful Mrs. Brown on there.

                  This has happened with pork butts and brisket alike, so the rub isn't a causing factor.

                  I suspect the entire thing boils down to time. I am going to try a butt this weekend and shoot for the higher number, see what happens.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Definitely shoot for the higher temperatures stated here, you will get a much more tender result and the bark will form with or without a water pan.

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