Water Pan with Turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by 78camaro, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. I'm a little confused on when and when not to use a water pan. I have a MES 40" and plan on doing a couple of 12lb birds that will be brined. Knowing that water boils at 212 degrees and I will be smoking at 250 or so, is there any concern that the water will be boiling during the whole smoke process? Not only that but is there a need to be concerned that the water may boil over in my electric smoker? Dumb questions I guess....but go easy on this newbie.
  2. tjohnson

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

    Not a dumb question at all!!!

    I do not use water in my water pan.  The one time I used water, there was so much condensation inside My Mes, that it was leaking out the door seal.

    Since you're brining the birds, you should have enough moisture in the meat.

    If you think you may need some extra moisture, use a small disposable loaf pan with an inch of water in it.

  3. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  4. smokinal

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

    I switched to sand & never went back!
  5. garyinmd

    garyinmd Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    When I want to use the pan with water for a heat sink I fill the pan 3/4 full then cover good with tin foil.  You still get the effect of the heat sink but it will not add moisture, someday if I remember when at the store I am going to get some sand and try it like SmokinAl.

  6. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    I switched to clay saucer in my WSM and never looked back.. works great at low temp and high temp..[​IMG]
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey Camaro....Just so there is no worries if you decide to use water....Yes water boils at 212*F at Sea level...and you will be Smoking at 225-250*....But...Energy transfer with Hot Air is really Slooow....Think about this....You put a pot over a 2000*F gas Flame on a stove set to Low...The Water seeing 2000* should boil and Evaporate but there is only a bubble now and then and some whisps of Steam...Look Down there is an Air Gap between the Flame and Pot...Slow Heat transfer...The Water, in the MES, will evaporate from the surface so eventually it will have to be added but that will take hours and no Boil overs....Enjoy your Turkey experience...JJ
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't use water in my pan often, but when I have, I worried about the same thing.

    It never happened, and I was constantly adding water to the pan to keep it from burning dry & making the pan hard to clean.

  9. Thanks guys for all the input....really appreciate it

    I'm also reading where some are having problems with a hot spot in the right rear corner. I smoked some hot dogs for the kids the other night and had a few turn out charred that were in the corner. If a guy was to put his water pan at about half full in the corner do you think that would eliminate this problem. If not I will pick up a piece of tile for a quick fix. Thanks.
  10. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     One, never fill the water pan all the way up. 3/4 full at best. You can always add more if needed over a long smoke. Two, the water is there as a heat sink, not to provide moisture (although, it does a little). Although it does boil, it is more of a slow rolling boil, atleast in my smokers. Never have I had it over flow or show excess moisture. During the cooler times, I switch to Playbox sand. It will give you higher and more consistent heat, especially when using charcoal.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  11. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I like to use water"except" on poultry because it affects the skin
  12. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I also use a liquid in my MES. I really only use the MES for ribs these days, but always add about half a pan of apple juice. I have done it both ways more than once and I think it adds a little extra something. I don't think they would have included a water pan if it was going to cause problems with an electric smoker.
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tile in the right side, against the back is used by a number of guys.

    I use a sheet of aluminum (because I had it laying around) cut to about 7" X 11 1/2".

    I shove it into the back right corner above my water pan, with the 7" left to right & the 11 1/2" front to back.

    Then I elevate the left side of the sheet, so the heat is coaxed from the right corner to the center of my smoker, before it rises.


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