This is a BBQ Show, kind of like Salt lick is now. In the case of Salt Lick, their process today is a necessity of their success (volume). This is the same situation... however, inadvertently dousing the butts with water, that is a big mistake and probably why this place is noted for its sauce. Other problems with steam like that directly on the coals is ash... which for a butt not rubbed with anything... well, I guess ash would be your flavor profile. I also don't see why it was needed.... there was no flare-up.
I once hit 70 Briskets on my Brazos with a mist of water to show off..... it translated into an hour of extra cooking time. It was a stupid thing to do and I was doing it thinking, hey the steam will steam in my somewhat enclosed oven pit... but this is open... so whats the point of the steam at all?
Water should not be an element to your fire management system BUT.... it sure LOOKS cool, HUH, so if that's what gets them in.... more power to ya.
The pitmaster here moves the butts up in three stages as they are cooked. Now that I read the post closer, I guess if you are not putting anything at all on them, then there is nothing to wash off???? You will note the butts get progressively smaller on each shelf up.
Certified KCBS Judge