I just read something that has caused me to ask?

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Smoke Blower
Original poster
OTBS Member
Mar 19, 2007
Avon MN.
Do you need to use a pan of water in the smoker? I am using a Brinkmann vertical, or can I elminate the pan and use a mop instead?
I don't know if what I'm about to say has anything to do with what you read, but here goes.

I use a propane fired GOSM. My understanding is that the water in the pan acts as a thermal buffer. Meaning that when I open the smoker to add wood or to spray the meat, the water in the pan has stored up a bunch of heat so that it comes back up to temp more quickly to replace the heat loss from opening the door. (man, that was one good run-on sentence) My understanding is that it does not add much to keeping the meat from drying out. I baste, mop, or spray anyway for flavor.

Hope this helps.

Take care, have fun, and do good!


Meowey hit it right on. Additionally the water pan helps moderate temps allowing for a more even temp and less rapid temp rises and drops. The moisture thing depends on the amout of marbling (fat) in your meat and the bark that forms with your rub, the seeping fat and your mop.

I also use the GOSM and still on ocasion haul out my ole fathfull ECB and I would never go without the water pan in either.

Good luck on your smoking adventures and best regards!

even when empty---
in my vertical smoker---
the water pan keeps fat from dripping on the coals or element--

many pro-smokers do not have a water pan in them...
my 7 n 1 is all propane... and that water helps keep the temps even... you can open add more chips and it helps bring back the temp quickly.. the only thing you have to watch is when you use the pan of water not to let it run out...gets hot really quickly
I might add…some manufacturers and others say adding wine, liquors or fruit juices and/or special concoctions to the water pan will flavor your food. (IMHO a terrible waste of large quantities of excellent drinkables.) I have found that putting your favorite flavors in a pump bottle and spraying your meat periodically much more effective and helps you develop a nice bark on your meat!

p.s. I’m sure all these boozers will back me on that!
What if you added sand to the water pan. Wet sand, heated up would last longer wouldn't it? I don't know if you'd need water or not.

Just an idea, think I've heard others do it too. I never did that w/my bullets, but that was back when I really didn't know what the heck I was doing anyway.............................not that much has changed since.

UIS is right, keep booze for yourself. It is just an excuse to buy it anyway. "Hey honey, can you pick me up a 30pk of beer, some whiskey, and a new can of chew?" She says "heck no! You don't need that stuff!" I say, "but I'm smoke'n a brisket, butt, bird, and ribs........I need that for this smoke"...................she says "well, ok". HOOK, LINE, AND SINKER!!! ..........Hasn't caught on to the chew yet.
Hey, BigAl! Sand is an excellent thermal flywheel except for the fact that it will operate at much higher temps than water. If sand has a heat source it will continue to rise in temperature till at melts. And If I remember correctly that is at about 3500F. A bit much. Wetting the sand does not help.

Water boils at 212F and will never get hotter than 212 unless under pressure. 212F is about in the range where we like to do our slow cooking.

As for alchoilic liquids in the water pan....alchohol boils at 170F. So, initially the alchohol will keep the smoker cooler. So, with that said I am in total agreement with Carl in using water inside the smoker and alchohol inside me.

I think if they didn't need a water pan, they wouldn't come with one...hehe!!! I always fill it with water....I have used chunks of onions, apples, etc in the water....not real sure it helped with flavor or anything other than you could smell them as it heated up....the cleaning part I don't like....then I finally read where you line the pan with tin foil before filling with water...when done, much easier to clean...throw away the foil and ya got a clean pan again...what a deal...

Being an old "ECB'er" I always fill the pan with water that is as HOT as I can get it out of the tap. Gives you a little head start. I never add anything else.
Booze, beer, wine are for DRINKING ;) Water is for smoking and bathing.
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.