How many of you use your water pan in your smoker?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ctraugh13, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. ctraugh13

    ctraugh13 Newbie

    I'm pretty new at this whole game, and using my large charcoal grill as a smoker (putting the wood/charcoal on one side...meat on the opposite side, keeping temp low) , then I went ahead and bought me an electric smoker from Bass Pro that takes the chips and has a water pan.
    I have done a few items in the smoker itself, even though I get a much "stronger smoke" from the grill.

    Do you use water pan every time?
    thank you for the response
  2. blacklab

    blacklab Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I used to use the water pan all the time. Not any more tho. Now it's just a bottom of a clay pot.
  3. forddood

    forddood Newbie

    I use the water pan for longer cooks.  Pork shoulders, butts, ribs, brisket, I line the bottom of it with foil for easier clean up and fill it with hot water, it helps regulate temps, I try to stay below 250 or so.  For chicken, I line the bowl with foil again for easy clean up, but I leave it empty, no water.  I cook chicken at higher temps to try and crisp the skin up, about 300 or so.
  4. wngsprnt50

    wngsprnt50 Smoke Blower

    My bullet smoker I have always used the water pan, and same for the vertical gasser I have.  On the other hand, the offset vertical charcoal I picked up recently did not have one designed in.  After an issue with the first smoke on it I went out and bought a cake pan that would fit on one of the racks to use as a water pan.  Ran it to do some chickens and after 6 hours the skin was almost burnt but IT was still at 150 in the breast so tossed a couple rubber chickens.  Not sure if it had anything to do with the water pan, but I did not put it in for the butts I did a couple days ago and they came out the best I have done so far.  Based on my limited experience with my equipment it seems as though it would depend more in where the heat source is as compared to the food.  Could always run a couple tests with a few loins or something and see how it goes i suppose
  5. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Water in pan when it is hot out. Sand in pan when it is cold out.
  6. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    I use a water pan all the time in my offset. I believe it helps with distributes the heat better, regulates temp and adds moisture! I use a large foil pan.
  7. chiefs smkhse

    chiefs smkhse Newbie

    I have the same cooking situation you and I always use a water pan.
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    First off?  I see this is your first post?  If you fill out a little info in your profile and post in the Roll Call forum we can give you a hearty SMF welcome!

    Secondly, I should not be responding here because I do not use a watt burner.  The advice may be different for your unit?

    Thirdly?  For any newbies who come across this thread:

    For the old upright ECB I always used a water pan.  Others have skinned that cat differently.

    When I first got my offset CGSP I read about all sorts of mods and tricks that were use to equalize temps across the grate and keep temp spikes down when adding charx.  Stuff like turning the pit fire pan upside down and where to place it.  Then good old Dutch came on and said he had tried them all.  He settled on a small loaf pan of water placed inside the pit, under the cooking grate, where the firebox joins.  Wallah!  Worked like a charm!

    Now I use a water pan like this on my offset smokes:

    I can use the disposable pan several times before it gives up and springs a leak.

    Beer can gives you an idea to the size of the pan. Guess it is sometimes called a mini loaf pan.  Available in multi packs at your local dollar store.  Two or three for a dollar as I recall?

    Wish it was my idea?  But many thanks to Dutch!

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014
  9. cyclonefan

    cyclonefan Fire Starter

    I don't use water in my wsm or vertical propane. Play sand is filled in the pans.
  10. mcloven1t

    mcloven1t Smoke Blower Group Lead

    I have the Master Forge, Dual Door Vertical Smoker.

    Like others have said, for things like Ribs, maybe thick tri tip roasts, things that take 3+ hours, I do like to use water to help introduce some moisture into the meat.

    However, with things like chicken that only take 1 1/2 to 3 hours tops at higher temps, I use play sand that I got at Lowes. (50 pounds for MAYBE 5 dollars lol)

    Thought about trying "damp sand" but not sure if that'd do more harm than good. lol

    I've been smoking for less than a year, so I'm a newbie too. All i've done is just learn by doing. Used water with my whole chicken before and it was very moist, so used sand the next time and it came out a lot better. Not over-moist, and lost my the rubbery skin that I came across the first time.
  11. mel campbell

    mel campbell Newbie

    have used water pan, got different results most of the time, what i was thinking of trying was like a wiskey or wine maybe, has anyone tried this?
  12. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Alot of people. I find it a waste of good booze. It steams up and evaporates. Mix some whiskey in the apple juice and spritz direct with it. You will get more flavor on the meat.
  13. kboss714

    kboss714 Fire Starter

    In all the smokers I've ever used I've always used a water pan. I use it for all my meats as all from short cooks to long ones.
  14. I used the water pan when I first got my smoker because....well, it came with it.  I lived in the deep, damp South and found that there was plenty of moisture in the air that I really didn't need to add anymore inside the smoker.

    Since I moved to CO, I haven't used it other than as a drip pan and have yet to smoke anything that has come out dry. 
  15. bigd3077

    bigd3077 Meat Mopper

    I have always put a mix of water and Apple cider in my water pan. Next time I do chicken, going to leave it empty
  16. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have a WSM and use it for longer cooks. That said if you are looking for a better smoke flavor from your electric look into a smoke generator.
  17. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Nope. No moisture gets into meat from humidity in the smoker. Fact.
  18. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I never use water in a pan when I smoke our local King Salmon which is 80% of my smoking.  

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