Water pan or Not??

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bunky, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. bunky

    bunky Smoke Blower

    I picked up a ECB the other day and after talking to Richtee he mentioned that he doesn't use his water pan.. I could see this as a benefit as allowing the smoke to go straight up rather around the outside of the water pan...

    Do others also not use the water pan ??
  2. 13spicerub

    13spicerub Meat Mopper

    if you don't use the water pan you are BBQing, not smoking. The water pan is used to get indirect heat. you will have a tought time keeping the temp at the racks in the 225-250 degree range and will most likely cook too fast resulting in tough, dry meat.
  3. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    In an ECB -
    No water pan = GRILLING (Hot direct heat)
    With water pan = SMOKING (Low & slow indirect heat)

    That water pan does two things -
    1- It is a barrier between what you are smoking and the fire (about 1400°F)
    2- It adds humidity inside the smoker, if you put a liquid in it, contributes to the "smoke ring" and slows evaporation of moisture from meat.
    It DOES NOT "add moisture to the meat".

    You can also fill the water pan with playground sand. Serves the same purpose, works great, less hassle.

  4. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As you know from my PM I sent explaining my setup- and pict I sent..I do not use a pan, but I DO have a grill set up with foil for a "tuning plate".
  5. ok...so i understand so many things now..just from looking around and asking questions...and i understand the purpose of a water pan...but can someone please explain to me how to use one/where? Are those alum open pans for .99 ok to use? or does it need to be covered? where does it go, and when?

    thanks guys for putting up with 1,000 questions! lol
  6. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'd like to add one thing to Peculiar's list: It also helps regulate temps to around the B.P. of water. As water evaps, it takes 540 Cal/Gm of heat out of the system to do so. Assuming it escapes as steam anyway. A smoker running at 300 could be tamed prolly 50 degrees with a water pan.

    The pan goes directly over the coal/wood bed. You can cover it with foil with some holes in it, as long as vapor can escape and do it's thing. It stays in the smoker the entire time typically. However it's not really needed after you foil the meat if you do so. Unless you can't manage to keep low enough temps.
  7. so if i have an off-set smoker, it goes in the firebox on the wood/coal, not in the main chamber to sit by itself semi-blocking the hole from firebox to main chamber? (that was the impression i got from the post previous to mine).

    Thanks Rich.
  8. bunky

    bunky Smoke Blower

    On An Offset the Water Pan goes in the smoking side of the Smoker I use mine to block the opening kind of like a baffle...
  9. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    YEah... I was assuming a vert design. Nearest to the heat I guess is a better explanation...yet in with the meat.
  10. so outside the firebox, in the "grill" area, right where the smoke would pour in, kind of leaning above the whole, causing the smoke coming in to go downward some... if my firebox was on the left (imagine) the water pan would like like this, from a front view: \

    I think if I understood that correctly, that is what we are talking about.
  11. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Right in front of where the smoke and heat come into the smoking chamber.

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