The meat being smoked often has high fat content. I just let that fat drip down into the charcoal'wood fire, not catch it in a pan. Correct?
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If you are using a Smoker, there most likely is no Fire directly below the meat and a water pan that will catch the drippings. If you are smoking on a Grill, you should be using Indirect Heat, Fire lit on one side, meat on the other. In this case Definitely use a drip pan as the accumulating Grease can Flair up during the smoke or next time you build a fire in the whole grill making a lot of nasty tasting Soot...JJ