Haven't had any problems smoking beef or pork while substituting a large pan of chilies and beans or whatever in place of my water pan. Kinda like a crock pot, only smoke flavor added! Just make sure to preheat large portions on a stove to get to temp easier. I do 4-5 gallons at a time with the meat smoking above it and doing the drip into the pan. some or all of the meat into the pan for the last hour. Great Saturday or Sunday get together.. Plenty 'to go' and never any leftovers..use a large diameter pan to deflect any direct hear from over cooking, Throw on some breakfast sausages to keep the masses at bay and give a little more flavor to the mix. experiment, can't go wrong. Pork and beans to die for....south west style!