Lets talk sand vs water!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chefscott, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. chefscott

    chefscott Newbie

    So i have been using my MES30" every day for about a month now. For my first 5 smokes I just used water in the pan, but after that and after reading here I switched to sand in the water pan. What I have noticed is that when using the sand my unit seems to hold a bit more steady BUT the smoker also gets much much more dirty! I think the steam helps to keep the unit clean some how. My thought is to put the water back into the pan and just place a brick on one of the racks. What say you?
  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Both act as a heat sink

    Water in your pan puts out a lot of steam.  Too much steam for the size of the cabinet.

    If you boiled a stew pot on your stove, how much steam would you generate?

    The water pan in your MES has a larger surface area than a stew pot on top your stove

    All this moisture condenses on the door and the top of your cabinet and runs down the sides

    It's called "Black Rain", and can end up on your food

    Also, excess moisture causes creosote during combustion

    In the new MES GEN2, Masterbuilt has gone with a much smaller water pan

    Ever wonder why?

    My 2+2 Cents

  3. I use bricks in my reverse flow horizontal smoker right above the rf plate. By adding bricks you add thermal mass. This results in the unit holding heat better during the smoke. What you get the thermal mass from really doesn't matter. Sand or brick will accomplish what you want. (I'm sure the engineers are cussing me now) The water also adds thermal mass but the volume is lost during the cook due to evaporation. That being said much more energy,heat, is contained in humid air than in dry smoke. This helps to reduce hot or cold areas in your smoker and bring temps back faster when the door is open.
    My RF holds temps fairly well already but I really like to use the bricks after the smoke to help heat my cooler to take the smoked treats to games, friends, family, ect.... Wrap them in a towel and put them in the bottom of the empty cooler. Put your meat,wrapped in foil, on top. You might even have to crack the lid so you don't continue to cook the meat.
    Hope this helps.
  4. Black rain, I like it!

    My own thoughts, steam inside an electrical box also seems a bad idea to me, especially with many many stories of electrical connector issues and corrosion with the MES. The box is not watertight.

    My own experience, I never used water in the pan from day one. I did a few smokes with the pan empty, and then filled it with sand and foil wrapped it and it has been that way since. Obviously clean up any grease puddles and wash your racks, but the black on the walls does not mean your smoker is dirty, it is seasoned.
  5. triplebq

    triplebq Smoking Fanatic

    I have always used water without any problems what so ever.

    I also have never had any excessive creosote build up .

    Just keep on smoking, we all have different ways to do things. Keep trying until you find

    your happy zone.
  6. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use water in my WSM, it turns out great every time. I'm going to try dry sometime and I'm sure it will be great as well, after all it's a Weber!
  7. I've had my MES30 over 3 years now with plenty of smokes and I have never had any thing close to this thing called "black rain" dripping on my food. :grilling_smilie:

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