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Using liquid (water and apple juice) in the BGE for butts

Hungry in LilburnHungry in Lilburn Posts: 756
edited February 2012 in EggHead Forum
Have you used a liquid pan in the BGE? What setup did you use?

I have been watching to much BBQ Pit Masters recently and have been swayed to try to use liquid in my BGE. Myron Mixon builds a smoker that has a built-in water pan. I really want to start cooking all of my meat where it is fall apart tender, just like if it was in a braise. My butts are usually juicy and tender but I am looking for ultimate tender. I am putting on a test butt now for the Super Bowl tonight. Small Smithfield from Wally World so no great loss if it doesn't work out.

I am going to set it up just like I always do, pan and rack over direct fire. I am going to fill the pan with water and apple juice. I will check the pan every couple hours and add more liquid. The butt should smoke and steam which should make it tender? Anyone tried it?


  • I have 3 commercial smokers and the manufacturer recommends water in them but not for moisture in the meat. The reason for the hot water or steam is for an even heat which is more inportant in metal cookers. Every cooker has its "hot spots" which is compounded by heat loss at the top of the metal cooker. Heat goes straight up and a lot of it is lost. A chamber full of steam has a much more even temp than one with dry air. But the BGE holds in that heat and keeps heat in above the meat. Unless your fire isn't centered you shouldn't have hotspots when cooking indirect on the BGE. You can throw any piece of meat in a pot of boiling water and eventually dry it out completely.

    Myron also cooks his meat in foil most of the time. After a couple of hrs on the cooker to pick up smoke flavor he wraps everything in foil. That tells me he's looking for even heat with the water because none of that moisture is getting to the meat while it's wrapped in foil. Foil will geve you moist tender meat if used properly.

    I'm not saying anybody is wrong for doing it but I'm not a big advocate of fluids in a drip pan unless it's to keep dripping from burning.  Take any liquid and boil it in a pot on the stove and it's mostly if not all water that is leaving it. Take a beer and boil it dry and all of the gook aka flavoring will be left in the bottom of the pan. Many sauces are made by simmering out the water and concentrating the flavors. So in my mind I would be just steaming my meat with very little flavor getting to the meat from the liquid.

  • All great points. I was just watching the Mesquite cook off and he was talking about his smoker. He said the water was "boiling" and tenderizing the meat. I went out to put more apple juice and water in my drip pan and to my surprise it is not boiling. It isn't even steaming. It is a simmer if anything. I think liquid in the drip pan on a BGE is big waste of time except as a means of preventing burning drippings as you suggested. I have been double foiling my pan to keep clean up to a minimum and it may be unnecessary with liquid in the pan.

    I have braised meat to the point in a dutch oven and in a crock pot to the point of extreme dryness. In fact the worse meat I ever did was a eye of round in the crock pot. Could have been mistaken for cotton. Terrible! 

    I am experimenting with techniques and methods to find the ones I really like. I am going to try an overnight brine soon with salt, sugar and apple juice. That is next.
  • choggchogg Posts: 30

    you guys are above my skills, I have injected my pork with apple cider vinegar and it really seems to help with making the meat tender. I also rub the night before and baste during the last few hours. I also cook mine at a higher temp than most...mainly because I like bark then after doing this for a few years I realized that it saves a bunch of time and the meat is still tender and tastes good. I might not win any contests but have never had any complaints...I guess not many complain when there getting FREE BBQ..

    Just moved from Snellville...

    IF YOUR LOOKING YOUR NOT COOKING ..My Dog Likes it !!! C.Hogg....Shack Rag...GA.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited February 2012
    @hungry: you're right. you won't get it to boil unless it's right down on the lump. most of that talk is just that, talk.  perpetuating myths. 

    i like your comment about getting dry food even when braising.  i have been vilified for suggesting that braising doesn't do anything to guarantee (or preserve) moisture in the meat.  it doesn't.  it may make itt a gentler cook, which gives you more control, but you can still cook it to death.  my go-to example has been boiling a chicken breast.  100% humid environment, and you can still turn out dry meat.  ..but only if you overcook it.

    keep fighting the good fight.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • I can provide personal testimony that over cooking pork loin when braising will produce tough dry meat. 
    The Naked Whiz
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    the only thing that dries meat is overcooking (or dehydrating, i guess. hahaha)

    too many warnings about salting meat, that lean meats are drier, or that direct grilling can dry out meat.

    only the cook can dry out the meat
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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