Vertical Smoker – use without water pan??

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by jak757, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Since finding SMF I have become interested in building a UDS. I started thinking over night about my trusty old “Mr. Meat” vertical smoker, and was wondering….if I used that vertical without the water pan, would it function somewhat like a UDS in terms of the drips falling down on the coals? Or is a vertical like that (it’s similar to a Brinkman smoke & grill) not tall enough – would the meat be to close to the charcoal?

    Anyone ever used a vertical without the water pan?

    Still want to build a UDS, just thought I might give this a try first.

    Any input is appreciated!

  2. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One of the big differences between a UDS and a vertical smoker is the ability to control the air flow and most vertical smokers do not allow this type of control.

    I sure one of our many UDS Gurus will be able to give more insight on the workings of the UDS vs. a vertical smoker.
  3. evo 9 guy

    evo 9 guy Smoke Blower

    I have both types of cookers and would not recommend using a smaller vertical unit without the water pan if you do not have full air flow control. My small unit from Harbor Freight is honestly, one of the hardest things to turn good Q out of. When I cooked on the UDS for the first time I was kind of bored because I didnt have to do anything. It held the same temp within 10 degrees for 6 hours before I had to make an adjustment. Most of the smaller verticle units do not have enough space between the coals and the meat, its recommended to have at least 24" between the two, hence the water pan.

    Hope that all makes sense.

    Good Luck,
  4. treegje

    treegje Master of the Pit

    hoi John

    I have a vertical smoker

    and for some things I use no water pan

    or I use an empty water pan,that I foil with alu foil

    what concern your question (would the meat be to close to the charcoal)
    I do not know you smoker ,and sorry I can not answer
  5. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Very good description on the differences between the two smoker types. Not to hihack this thread, but that's a nice clean avatar Dutch is sporting these days.
  6. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There is danger of fire in a vertical charcoal smoker without the water pan barrier. Even with an empty pan.... catching grease that close to the heat may end up igniting. Had it happen once.
  7. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I wondered if the meat might be to close in the vertical without the water pan. I had not considered the difficulty of controlling the temp. I think I'll keep using as I have in the past....and work on plans for my UDS.

    Thanks again!

  8. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    I use my vertical smoker with a water pan that is filled with sterile sand and covered in clean foil. The sand makes a great constant heat sink that doesn't need refilling during a smoke. I do not recommend a small vertical with no water pan, because then you are direct cooking and also risking a fire.
  9. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree. The pan, whether filled with water, sand or empty is there as a sink to help regulate the temps. I love using sand during the winter for a higher, more consistent temp. Have nothing're basically grilling, not doing bar-b-que.

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