Originally Posted by daRicksta
I read in the manual that even if the water bowl is empty it needs to be inside the smoker to prevent food from dripping on to wood chips. OK, fine and dandy. I don't often use wood chips but the bowl can still act as a drip catcher when lined with foil.
However, if I don't have water or beer or something in the bowl, how do I keep meat from drying out? I thought that if I had some moisture happening inside the smoker I wouldn't have to open the door every 30-60 minutes to baste the food. As I've written many times here, I lose about 20-30 degrees of heat when I open the door whether it's to baste or turn over meat or to deal with a burnt-out AMNPS and it can take at least 20 minutes to get up to the target temp again. The MES 30 is just a smallish box and leaving the door open is akin to leaving open one of those small dorm room refrigerators and letting all the cold air out. The MES' 800 watt heating element is underpowered for quickly heating even that small a box so I my goal is to open the door as little as possible over a 4-hour or so smoke.
Do you think it's OK to leave maybe a 1/2 cup of water in the water bowl or just keep it empty? How to prevent your food from drying out?
I never use water in the water pan, especially in the MES. It's so well insulated, that the inside becomes a steam cabinet.
Too much moisture, and the smoke mixes with the steam, and you get "Black Rain" inside your smoker
Too much moisture, and it condenses on the window, and drips down the inside of your door, then onto your deck or patio
The surface area of the water pan in the MES 30 & MES 40 is way to big for the size of the smoker
Think of it like this.....
Place 2 stew pots full of water on your stove top, and let them boil. How much steam is produced?
This is about the same surface area of the water pan in a MES 40
Do you place a bowl of water inside your oven when making a roast....Nope!
Plenty of moisture evaporates from the meat during cooking. Most of us would cook in a roasting pan with a little added water or broth.
Inject big pieces of meat, and add moisture when you foil
Use a large foil pan under the meat to catch the drippings
If you really think you need added moisture, use a small loaf pan with a little water in it, off to the side
Place sand in the water pan for an added heat sink and you temps will recover much faster
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