Does using the water pan affect the temperature reading on my digital probes (used for smoker temps).
Meaning, I know humidity makes things seem hotter than they really are, does this affect the temp reading??
Interesting post. This is my experience; I have a GOSM big block with full water pan and food on at least two racks. When the water levels drops to half-full or less, all three of my door mounted therms will read at a lower temp. When I refill the water pan, the temps go up. I have never removed the water pan, whether it's full or empty. Just the way it works for me.
Smoker temperatures above 212 degrees will boil the water in the pan thus it is lost and since there is less water for the smoker to have to heat or no water the heat expended doing it will no longer be used and the smoker temperature will rise somewhat in relation to if and how much water is in the pan. Having the water pan filled will make the smoker take longer to get to temperature it will also keep temperatures more steady. There have been lots of discussions whether the water adds moisture/humidity to the smoker and so I won't get into that one. I still maintain that humidity levels if any inside a smoker will not have any appreciable impact on smoker temperatures
Water in a smoker provides a shock absorber to stabilize temperatures in the smoking chamber.
Do you absolutely need it for a propane smoker?.........No. You can get better results by mopping or basting your meats.
I suggest using the water pan it will act as a heat sync and keep temps much more stable. The smoke will still be the same it will just flow around the pan. Some people do fill the water pan with sand then foil over it they claim it works just as good for a heat sync tho I honestly don't know as I've never tried it. I use the water with the thought it keeps more moisture in the smoker which some say it does and some say it doesn't. I would suggest before you start your smoke take some foil and cover the whole inside of the water pan forming it to the bottom and sides and up over the edges. Then just fill with water and at the end of the smoke cleanup will be much easier just dump the water and pull the foil out and the pan is clean saves a lot of scrubbing
I'm with SQWIB. If it is a water smoker use liquid or even the sand if you choose. It is designed that way. I used liquid on an old ECB for many years with great results. It even had H2O painted on the chamber. If it is not a water smoker then decide to mod or not to mod. I use water on my offset as part of a baffle that evens the the temps in the chamber. Same moisture results with my MES. The temp is the same regardless of the presence of liquid. As said before, instruments designed to measure temperature cannot sense humidity. IMO meat can.