I tried a water pan and didnt see any difference........... I only use fresh casings for my sausages.... I have some collogen to try... Maybe it will have a different effect on them.......
Did ya do the water pan dance?
I make allot of sausage and stix and larger summer sausage and salami.
I use a GOSM and I use the water pan for all but my stix. since the kind I make are dried stix
I get more even heat and a smoother sausage it seems. I do dry the casings and hang @ about 90* for an hour or so before I ad the water pan and smoke.
I always use the water pan when I do butts and briskets, I don't use it for sticks cause I am always using natural casings and I want them dry, I did start off my summer sausage with out it and then added to the pan after the casing "colored" up, I used sand when I made jerky recently, for the first time, I think I will try it with sticks next time
I personally don't use water pan, but I'm cold smoking - bringing more moisture in is counterproductive as it defeats purpose of preserving meat by reducing water content.
If smoking with temps above 100F using water pan makes perfect sense. According to Marianski bros., the ideal smoker humidity for warm/hot smoking is 80%. In dryer climates and considering that humidity is in inverse relationship with temperature adding extra moisture as temps are getting higher in the smoker is probably a very good idea. One thing to watch for would be not to got overboard with water and let surface of the meat get wet while smoking it.
BTW as nepas mentioned, Marianski has a para in his book about "wet smoking" (adding hot steam) which is used by commercial sausage makers, but as he succinctly puts it, not for reason of making better quality product but "less water = less weigth = less profit". He should know as he worked in that industry for a while.
I also adhere to his strict rule to never, ever let smoker temp get above 170F for more than few minutes. But that's not the topic for this thread and could spark some controversy.
Cheers and happy sausage smoking.
I rarely use the water pan provided with my master built as it really is inadequate.
I use the larger,deeper pan that came with my WSM smoker for long smokes.
Here's my 'original' setup for low-temp smoking.
I've since replaced the water pan & added a ball valve to the gas line so I dont need the electric hot plate anymore to keep temps under 170°.