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WSM and the water pan

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all, I'm currently on my 3rd smoke on my new WSM. I've been reading a lot of posts on whether or not to use the water pan, whether its just foiled, has water in it, sand, or a clay pot. I like to use the water pan with water in it because of its heat sink abilities but I'm thinking I'd like better bark on my food, so my question is this. How would it work to fill the water pan with water and then cover the water pan with foil? If I'm thinking correctly, wouldn't it allow for an optimum heat sink but still have a drier heat in my smoker because the steam would be trapped under the foil?
post #2 of 7

Steam will not stay trapped under the foil. If it's sealed up tight enough to keep the steam in, is now a boiler/bomb (actually not possible with foil).


Water pan in a WSM should not prevent you from forming a bark on food (generally bark is on items cooked for a long time such as pulled pork butts etc...).  Bark can also be enhanced by the use of some other materials such as spraying the meat in the final portions of the cook with apple or other natural sugary juices.


What are you smoking that you are having bark problems with in a WSM?

post #3 of 7
This is my first summer cooking on a WSM also, I foiled up a 9" clay pot saucer and then foiled up the water pan with the foiled saucer inside for a heat sink. It holds temps like a champ and I get good bark, just don't see a reason to use water in the WSM in my opinion. I have heard of people also using sand or ceramic briquette's in the WSM's water pan also.
post #4 of 7

I use water and clay flower pot bases depending on what I'm cooking.  Both have their uses.  As to the clay pot base, I found an unglazed one at Walmart in the garden section for under $10.  It's marked "14" which I think means 14 centimeters, but I'm not certain (and I have a 18.5" WSM so you would need a larger one for the 22.5").


Water is great for holding temps down at 225.  Clay pot base, tray of sand, bricks, etc.... (dry mass) is great at holding temps up when you open the lid, but once you heat the mass above the target temp, it's harder to get it back down.  Water inherently wants to stay liquid and when it falls back from steam to liquid that is a reaction that sucks in heat.  This is why water pan type smokers work so great at 210-225* range.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
I did a ham roast as a trial run after I first got my WSM. It didn't seem like it had enough of a bark on it and I remembered reading somewhere that using water in the water pan will prohibit a good bark. Plus, I hate having to do something with the watery grease mess that accumulates. I'll probably try the clay saucer.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the clay pot saucer idea, my WSM turned out some dandy's today. Started with a 3-2-1 method but it turned into a 2.5-1.5-.75. The WSM seemed more comfortable between 235-240 today.
post #7 of 7
Ribs looks great Neil, nice work!
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