Using a Water Bowl for a Barbeque
Another BBQ semi-no brainer here!

You take a bowl, you fill it with water,
you place it in the smoker, you
barbecue.

Voilà!

But I keep it in the barbecue "to do"
list because I love the things that
using a water bowl can do for a
smoker!

I have discussed in some other
sections how the "water" bowl can
also be filled with other liquids to give
the meat some additional subtle
flavors. Juices are especially
popular, including apple, cherry,
grape and even orange juices. Wine
is also a popular choice. All can add
some nice touches to the meat,
especially if you are using one of the
milder hardwoods or no wood at all
(not recommended by me - I like the
smoke!)

On occasion we also add some
coarse salt, like a kosher salt or sea
salt, to my water, believing that it may
add a little of the salty flavor to the
meat as it passes by. I have
absolutely no scientific proof of this,
but every little ingredient helps to add
to the mystique and artistry of the
cook, so feel free to try it!

An even bigger reason I use the
water bowl is to create a temperature
and moisture moderator within the
smoker. As the water heats up during
the cook, it will slowly evaporate and
that evaporation will roil past the
meat, slowly steaming it, just as the
smoke and heat from the fire do.
Some of this moisture will infuse into
the meat, helping to keep it moist
and juicy.

Water changes temperature more
slowly than air also, so even though
you may have fluctuations in the
temperature in the air, the water will
tend to change more slowly,
therefore moderating the swings in
the air temperature and allowing you
to maintain a more consistent cook.

One other thing you will notice in my
superb water bowl pictures, is that I
often cover the bottom of the this
bowl with aluminum foil. This is
mainly because this bowl is used in
my vertical smoker and so it ends up
being pretty close to the fire box. I add
the foil in the belief that it will extend
the life of the bowl. Again, no
scientific proof, in fact I am not even
operating an unlined bowl at the
same time to see if it is true, but it
seems to be an inexpensive caution
that - here it is again - adds to the
mystery of the process!  
Qpinion: I find a water bowl to be an invaluable tool in my smoking
process. Most of what you can see in the picture is smoke from the
fire, but the water will have steam coming off of it after it gets hot
enough, and depending on how long your cook is, you may need to
add more to it along the way.
Copyright © 2009 BDT Enterprises, LLC - All Rights Reserved
Previous Step: Soaking the Wood