Water and sand

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pcpro215, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. Hello all,

    In the past, I have used a pan filled with water when smoking my ribs.  However, after doing some reading on SMF, I noticed that some of you use sand.  

    Naturally, this lead me to have a few questions.[​IMG]

    So, here they are:

    1.  I was just going to get a bag of play sand from Meanrds (local home improvement chain).  I was wondering if this type of sand would add some kind of funky flavor to the meat?

    2.  Is adding water to the sand necessary, or is there already enough moisture in it?   (I realize that water may need to be added during the smoking process)

    Since this is my first attempt at using sand, I was just curious how the seasoned (no pun intended[​IMG]) users of sand so it.

  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep just plain old play sand is fine. You do not need to add any water to it. I smoke all my meats in a "dry" smoke chamber. You will want to cover the sand with foil.
  3. Thanx for the reply!

    Just curious.  What's with the foil cover?
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Keeps the sand clean.
  5. Yeah.  The answer came to me about 5 mins after I posted my question.[​IMG]
  6. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    And just to give another alternative , I use a brick wrapped in foil and it works very well as a heat sink.
    I foil my water pan and the foil wrapped brick goes in....the smoker chugs along at 250 very nicely.

  7. ballagh

    ballagh Smoking Fanatic

    My SS commercial fridge smoker I just built has a 1" granite slab in the bottom. Holds heat very well. And super easy to clean. I can shut my smoker down and 2 hours later it is still at 200 degrees. Uses hardly any pellets.

    Sent from my Sony Xperia Z
  8. took my water pan out and just use sand , like it was said above , covered in foil to keep it clean. the water pan is to help keep the chamber up to temp when you open the door to add wood or to just peek at the meat.

    after i took out the water my chamber seems to stay alot cleaner and i have plenty of moisture from the meat
  9. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    Will this work in any kind of smoker? I have a charcoal ECB and I am also contemplating the switch to either sand or some other sort of heat sink. I sort of like the foiled bricks idea. 
  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes it will work in your ECB.
  11. +1 on the sand from me  [​IMG]
  12. expat smoker

    expat smoker Smoke Blower

    So the sand or bricks is only for a heat sink?? I always thought that the water tray was to keep the smoke chamber moist to keep the meat from drying out.  Another function of the water tray is to catch the drippings, which can get pretty messy after a smoke and downright foul if you don't discard it the next day.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  13. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use a fire brick in my water pan in the MES.
  14. I used to use water but someone suggested trying a pork butt with a foil wrapped clay saucer to get the bark I was looking for.  I tried it and use it for most cooks now. I rarely use the lower food grate so I place a disposable foil pan below the food on the top grate to catch drippings.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  15. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use sand mainly thru the colder months. It gives you higher and more consistent temps in your smoker. I get the damp playbox sand and when ready for another smoke, add a cup of water and work it into the sand to moisten it up some. I think it makes the sand denser and keeps the temps more consistent.
  16. ps0303

    ps0303 Meat Mopper

    I used bricks today for the first time.  It seemed to work out great.  I didn't have any sand when I went to start the smoker.  I don't think I will be using water again.
  17. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    I wrapped an old cobble stone with aluminum foil and put it in my water pan and found that my ECB held pretty good temps at 250 4-5 hours long with minimal attention. 

    No more water for me! 
  18. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper

    Bob,  If you no longer use water, what are you using to keep the meat moist?   With my last smoke for the Pork Butt, I soaked Pecan and Cherry Chips in the water pan.  I find once the water boils the taste goes in the meat.
  19. Low and slow naturally keeps the meat moist and tender.

    Also steam from the water boiling off disguises the amount of smoke you are actually producing as well as softens the bark to where it never really develops properly.

    At least that was my experience before I quit using water in my pan.
  20. I have been using foil pans for the meat all the time now. Still get a great smoke, and zero mess. Also makes foiling process easy.

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