Tell me the main purpose of a water pan.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by daniels, May 17, 2016.

  1. And don't say that its main purpose is to hold water.  [​IMG]

    I've seen people say that it keeps meat moist but I don't know that I believe that is the main purpose.

    Seems like quite a while ago I saw that it helps to moderate the temperature and I think I know how a pan of water can do that but first I'd like to know, is that's its main purpose?  If it is then I don't see how a pan of sand or a clay pot saucer can do the same thing.  When water boils it takes a great amount of heat to convert liquid water to gaseous water (steam) thus keeping the temperature down once it exceeds 212* F it's absorbing lots of heat energy and keeping the temperature down.
  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Dan You almost have answered your question! It helps in controlling temp,and yes the air is moister at the same time

  3. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I think it may depend on the smoker. With my propane smoker I always used a water pan and had to refill it. I think it keeps moisture in the chamber. With the offset I used a water pan a couple of times and no water evaporated. I don't use one now with the offset, but I will with the gasser.
    Who knows?
  4. Some folks must think the pan of water is a heat sink and that a bowl of sand or a clay pot saucer can serve the same purpose.  Those who think that are on the wrong track I suppose.

    Anyway, I'd like to do away with the water pan in my WSM but It seems I shouldn't since it moderates the temperature.

  5. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Never had a WSM, but if it's not too much of a pain, really what can it hurt?
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For some smokers it may be a good idea to add some moisture to the mix, but for an Electric smoker like an MES, it does nothing good that I know of. There is already too much humidity (Meat & Ambient air humidity) in my MES without adding any more.

    As for Sand, some guys use it because it will help heat recovery after opening the door (Heat Sink).

    However I don't do this because in my opinion it makes your Smoker work harder & longer to heat the Pan full of sand to begin with, especially in the Winter.

    So I just cover my Water pan with foil for clean-up purposes, but leave it in my MES (empty) to keep the direct heat from hitting the meat I want to low & slow smoke.

  7. lancep

    lancep Master of the Pit

    Not sure what the original intent of the water pan in the WSM was but I suspect it was to keep the meat from drying out. That said, in My WSM, I use it to regulate temp. A lot of folks around here roll with it dry and swear by it. I go full when I want to hit 225 and dry when I want to hit 325. Now, a few years ago I was working as a bass player in a band that played in the bricktown district of OKC. We performed on the outdoor stage from May to October and o really hot days it actually felt hotter when the sun went down. Everything was brick and when the temp dropped after sundown those brick would radiate that back into the air. I suspect that that is the physical principle to filling the pan with sand or clay.
  8. Some will say differently but moisture in the smoking chamber will help the smoke flavor penetrate the meat.  When I don't want added moisture, I fill my pan with briquette ash, because charcoal briquettes have a large percentage of sand in them.  Works for me.
  9. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Smoking with my WSM

    Foil lined pan filled with hot water, replenish with same if needed.

    Easy to reach and maintain traditional Low-N-Slow BBQ temperatures.

    Minimizes temperature swings tremendously.

    Reduces moisture evaporation from meat products.

    If smoking poultry, fatties or anything lean, no water in the pan.

    That is the way this JARHEAD rolls [​IMG]  

    Edit: forgot the obvious.... use of pan creates indirect type of cooking/smoking.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  10. lancep

    lancep Master of the Pit

    That is the way this JARHEAD rolls :biggrin:

    Well now I knew there was something I liked about you

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