Originally Posted by tbeacham
I want to continue using the water pan to add moisture (and also collect the non-fat drippings for use later), but I am concerned that the fat in the drippings will cause an oil slick on top of the water and keep it from evaporating. Should I use two separate pans, one for the water and one above it for the drippings?
Just line the water pan with aluminum foil. I recommend putting water in the water pan because, from my experience, meat doesn't try out in the MES unless it's overcooked by a couple of hours. Having a good therm which accurately reports the internal temp will prevent that. I leave the water pan empty and foil over the top to catch the drippings.
Anyway, if you prefer to use water in the water pan, the dripping will fall into it which is OK. When the water emits steam it will be infused with vaporized liquids from the drippings and can help further flavor the meat.
I've heard that a moist meat surface absorbs smoke better than a dry surface but I've had no problems getting the smoky flavors I want while keeping the water pan empty. On the contrary, I have to watch out for oversmoking.