Sorry it took me so long to come back on...just got off work.
Yeah, you can't have anything dripping on the smoke wood...it'll stop the smoke rather quickly. Even a foil pouch with the smoke wood inside would help keep it dry.
A couple things with foil pouches: keep away from open flame if near a gas burner or charcoal, and no direct contact with electric heating elements. Some guys poke holes in the pouch to let the smoke out slowly...I never had to myself, it will come out through the seam in your pouch.
The water pan helps to disperse the heat more evenly and adds humidity to the cooking chamber, which should help keep the meat moisture content a bit higher. It helps if a little if you overcook the meat...makes it a bit more forgiving. The flip side is, if you want a crispier skin on a bird, or if smoking/drying jerky, you will want no water in the pan.
Try water in the pan and
the butter baste towards the end. I think you're getting on track here, though.
Keep trying...there's always a learning curve with every cooker you use. Keep notes on what you change and what the results are...that's a great way to tinker with the variables and find out exactly what effects the end product of your different meats, and when you start using different methods, you cvan look back to refresh your memory. Soon, you will find what works well, and what doesn't work for the particular meat you're cooking. Same goes for seasoning blends in your dry rubs.
Keep playing with it and learning as you go. It gets easier with practice...
The best part is, you get to eat any mistakes you make!!!
It's all good eats, even the bloopers! LOL!!!!!! Trust me...been there...