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Ribs - Water bowl usage

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Good Morning Everyone,

I'm smoking some baby backs on my MES using the 2-2-1 method and wondered if any of you put anything in the water bowl. Didn't see anything listed in the recipe, but thought I'd ask. Had thought about some apple juice, but wanted to ask my you first.

Thanks in advance!

Indy Boy
post #2 of 18
The water pan is more to even out the temperature in the smoker than to add flavor. I've used beer and herbs in the water but never noticed the difference in taste of the meat. You would be further ahead by spraying the juice directly on the meat every hour. Hope this helps.
post #3 of 18
I've also used beer and red wine in the pan and haven't noticed a noticeable difference. I certainly won't waste beer or wine again, that stuff's better when it winds up in my belly. but apple juice? Give it a try and see if you notice anything.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks - I'll give them both a try and let you know how they turn out!
post #5 of 18
The water pan is a giant heat-sink. It magically absorbs heat from the fire and puts out steam at approximately 212° F. This mixed with some of the heat and smoke that bypasses the water pan makes a nice stable and moist environment for your brisket / sausage / butt / whatever. By putting different things into the water pan, there might be an "essence" that reaches the meat, but marinating and spritzing is a better way to go.

There is some debate as to if the moisture from the steam makes a difference in the moistness of the end product, but I bet it is minimal at best, and I have a water smoker. Your besty bet is to spray or mop, and your 'Que will turn out fine!

Good luck!
post #6 of 18
Hi guys, Im real new to all this. i had a question about this water pan. First do you have to have it & if so where would you place it in the smoker? I tried it twice & it seems to block my temp from rising? As soon asI take it out the temp shoots right up?
post #7 of 18
That's the purpose of it, to stabilize temps. Not sure what smoker you using so can't help on the placement.
post #8 of 18
ron, I belive I have a char-broil midget off set? Its pretty small. Maybe my water pan was too big for such a small smoker?
post #9 of 18
Think of the water pan sitting on a stove top.. Heating element on low.. It is going to take a while to get it up to temp. But it will easily hold the temp, once it has been achieved.
post #10 of 18
If you start out with HOT water out of the tap, or you can boil up a bowls worth, the smoker won't use up a bunch of energy heating the water.
post #11 of 18
I always have something in the water pan. Sometimed dark beer, water, apple juice usually with onions and sometimes spices. All in all I cann't tell if it work or noy I just do it.
post #12 of 18
thanks guys, while I do understand why the water pan now, im not sure where I should place it? I used to put it next to the firebox, but now Im thinking of the other side? Any suggestions would really be appreciated.
post #13 of 18
ronp "that's the purpose of it to stabilize temps,not sure what smoker you using so can't help on placement"

Ronp has the same smoker that you do, IndyBoy. Hopefully he'll be along and share that info with you.
post #14 of 18
Well thanks Mikey, I guess I missed that. There is only one place for it right below the fourth rack. It has a place notched out for it.

I took some pics for you with the fourth grate removed. The fourth gate would be just above.

Here is one with the fourth gate in and the water pan below.

Hope this helps.
post #15 of 18
It really doesn't do anything adding stuff to the water. Better to mop, spritz or inject for flavor. Of course, if you use sand instead of water, you would have to go with these other methods anyway.
post #16 of 18
I'll use a gallon of apple or cherry juice when I first start smokin. When it boils away I will add hot water. I do think it makes a slight difference in the flavor. I think the meat absorbs the flavor while it's in the soakin the smoke in stage and less in the cookin the juices out stage. I never mop and only spritz the ribs when I have the smoker open for some reason. Opening the smoker to mop or spritz adds quite a bit of time to an electric smoker. Bottom line is what you've already got from everybody. Water pan serves as a heat sink.
post #17 of 18
I'll second that, Dave. In addition, the water filled pan keeps a moister environment in the smoker. When I'm using the wattburner, I use the sand pan & the water pan; works like a champ!
post #18 of 18
Smoking meat is an art, not a science. Adding flavorful things to the water bowl can, and does make a slight differance in the flavor. Marinating is more dramatic.
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