How to Add Moisture Before And During Cooking
It Starts with the Meat
1. High-quality, marbled meat is crucial for a tasty outcome.
2. Use the right cooking temperature for each specific cut of meat.
3. Lean meat doesn’t have much internal fat to keep it juicy, so these are better when cooked hotter and faster.
4. Tissue within fatty, marbled meat needs to be rendered down, so they’re best cooked low and slow.
Adding Moisture Before Cooking
1. Experienced BBQ cooks use several techniques to add moisture before the meat hits the smoker.
2. Marinades – Oil-based marinades help tenderize the meat, layers flavor and add moisture.
3. Dry and Wet Brines – Brines not only boost the moisture, but also brines increase the meat's cellular ability to retain fluid.
4. Injections – Injections push liquid flavors deeper into the meat than brines and marinades can penetrate.
Adding Moisture During Cooking
1. Water Pan – Use a water pan in your smoker to maintain a humid environment so the meat doesn’t cook with hot, dry air. Water works well, but you can also fill the water pan with beer, apple juice and cider vinegar for flavorful twists.
Hot TipUsing a water pan to add moisture to the smoke chamber is optional and can increase condensation under the smoker lid. Adding spices, beer or wine to the water pan can be used to infuse an added layer of flavor into your food.
2. Spritzing – Many pit-masters keep a spray bottle filled with stock, apple juice or spray butter handy, spritzing the meat when the surface starts to dry. Be sure to use only a food-safe spray bottle.
3. Basting/Mopping – This is very similar to spritzing but uses a brush to apply the seasoned liquids.