Water pan inside an offset smoker?

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by pargeman, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. pargeman

    pargeman Fire Starter

    NY
    New to offset smokers. Is it a smart thing to place a water pan inside the cooking side of the smoker like I have in my electric for moisture? Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would not say for moisture?

    When I was new with my offset, I did get a tip from Dutch, one of our moderators on the site.

    I use a "mini loaf" pan of water where the fire box joins the pit chamber.  It does seem to minimize temp spikes when adding coals and moderate temps in the pit a bit.

    I would do some dry runs on your unit with two wired therms toward opposite sides.  See what exactly is going on in there while you are reaching into the cooler.  Again.[​IMG]   Then you will have a better idea what you want to do next.

    With the mini loaf pan and carefully placed drip pans I can get temps from 5 to 10 degrees from even across the pit grate on a good day.

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
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  3. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Very important...do it
     
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  4. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    Would your care to elaborate a little on why it's very important.
    Thanks
     
  5. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    How big is your offset smoker? And are you wanting to use the water pan for a diffuser or are you wanting to use the water pan for moisture?

    On my offset smoker I don't bother using water pan. My temps are even and I don't feel I need more moisture.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
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  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My take on water pans in an offset...

    I have a reverse flow and always line the bottom with two large steamer pans and fill with water. It adds thermal mass, reduces heat recovery time and minimizes temperature swings, I sometimes use it to catch and reserve drippings.

    Snippet from my website,

    Prepare The Pit:
    • As your fire is burning, ready your Pit, place a drip pan underneath the grates and add a quart or so of water I start off with two quarts of water in my steamer pan, especially if its closer to the firebox. Adding a water pan underneath will impede the airflow slightly, I have found this to be insignificant.
    •  I think the benefits of catching the drippings outweigh the minor impeding of airflow. Make sure to have enough water in the pan so you do not burn up your drippings, (I strongly suggest catching and using your drippings in the final product).
    • Make sure your Drip pan is level or the water will cook off quickly on the shallow end (high end of the pan) and burn up your beloved drippings.
    • Tip, when your cook is a few hours from completion monitor your drippings, you may need to reduce the drippings so they are not too watery, timing is important here, so be careful not to add too much water near the end of the cook.
    • TIP, Spray your pan inside and out with Pam or rub with oil for easy cleanup
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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
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  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That is really interesting.

    I just got a Lang and was thinking of putting a water pan in it.

    Only I was going to just put it on the grate.

    Al
     
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  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Congrats on the Lang. Try it under the grate and use to catch drippings. I really think it helps, but YMMV! Keep us posted!
     
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  9. pargeman

    pargeman Fire Starter

    NY
    . I will have the water pan AND a pan for drippings! Best of both worlds! Haha. Thanks everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  10. I have two offset smokers. And I always put a water pan inside the smoking chamber. Two disposal aluminum serving pans stacked together filled with water. Near the side where the smoke comes in. I just put it on the smoking grate. If there is a lot of meat in there. I just put it in the bottom of the cooking chamber.

    I've smoked with and without a water pan. Maybe it's just the mindset. But my bbq just always comes out better with one in there filled with water.
     
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  11. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Is the offset a vertical or horizontal? I have one of each. The horizontal has tuning plates and works like a dream without a water pan. The vertical is giving me fits but that is due to poor exhaust placement and baffle design. I have never used a water pan in either one and have never once had anything dry out. Well once I left a rack of ribs in the smoker overnight. That was a little dry.[​IMG]

    Some horizontal offsets are designed so you can put several gallons water in the bottom of the smoke chamber to be drained out after cooking taking any grease and gunk along with it. The main use for water is a heat sink adding moisture is a side benefit.
     
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  12. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    When I switched from the gasser to an offset I used a water pan the first couple of smokes and noticed it didn't evaporate like it did in the gasser, so I quit doing it and things have gone well. Last weekend, though, for some reason my temps were all over the place! Maybe I'll try a couple of pans just for a heat sink..
     
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