Water smoking combines smoke and steam to continually baste the beef, while indirect heat slowly cooks it.

By adding a water pan to your smoker, you can combine aromatic smoke with juice-inducing steam to slow-cook the brisket for that oh-so-tasty flavor. Ideal for brisket—because in Texas, if you’re not smokin’ brisket, you’re not really living.

A Step by Step Guide to Water Smoking Beef
Fear not the smoker—we've got your back. Check out this video for a quick tutorial on how to smoke your brisket like a Texas pit master.
  1. Step: 01: Oil up your grate

    Lightly coat grate with vegetable oil or vegetable oil spray. Close cooking chamber lids.
  2. Step: 02: Prepare your firebox

    Place 3-5 lbs. of charcoal in the center of the firebox.
  3. Step: 03: Light charcoal & let it burn

    Open the firebox air vent approximately 1-2", and smokestack damper halfway. With firebox lid open, stand back, carefully light charcoal and allow to burn until covered with a light ash (approx. 20 mins).
  4. Step: 04: Add your wood chunks

    Once coals have ashed over, add wood chunks. Do not shut firebox lid until the smoke is Clean Smoke, often called Blue Smoke by Texas pit masters.
  5. Step: 05: Adjust cooking temperature

    Close firebox lid. Adjust the firebox air vent and smokestack damper to regulate cooking temperature. The ideal smoking temperature is between 200°F-250°F.
  6. Step: 06: Add the water pan

    Place water pan under brisket grate. One gallon of water will last 2-3 hours.
  7. Step: 07: Next, add your brisket

    Place well-seasoned brisket on cooking grate, fat side up, in the cooking chamber.
  8. Step: 08: Monitor cooking & brisket temperature

    Maintain a consistent cooking temperature by adding wood chunks as needed. Monitor internal temperature of the brisket throughout the cooking process. The ideal finished internal temperature is 195°F-205°F.
  9. Step: 09: Allow the brisket to rest

    Remove brisket from smoker and allow to rest (min. of 30 mins).
  10. Step: 010: Shut down your smoker completely

    Suffocate the flame and cool your smoker down by fully closing the air vent, damper and lids.


Always start the smoking process with clean grates. Charcoal lighter fluid must completely burn off prior to closing firebox lid. Do not fully close air vent, damper and lids or flame will suffocate. Check water level every hour and a half. Keep in mind that opening lid during cooking allows heat and smoke to escape, making additional cooking time necessary. Put the point of the brisket (thickest side) on the firebox side to help with even cooking. Consider a heat-proof meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature without opening the cooking chamber lid. Allow approximately one hour cooking time per pound of brisket. Wrap brisket in peach paper/butcher paper while resting to maintain juiciness.