Stupid Newbie Mistake - Not Cleaning Drip Pan

  • 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.


Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jul 15, 2010
Monroe Twp, NJ
I was doing a whole day of smoking on the Traeger, first some chuckies and fatties at low temp, later on a beef rib roast at 325. Things went well with the low temp smoke, and as I dialed up the temp for the rib roast, I decided to use a technique I'd used successfully in a conventional oven, so I went to 450, inserted the rib roast and turned the temp down to 325, where I'd let it cook until I got the internal temp I was seeking. Well after a few minutes at the higher temp, the drippings in the drip pan started to smoke. And what a smell, eww! After a few minutes, as the temp settled down, it stopped, but the damage was done. I got a nice crust on the roast, but it tasted like like the smoking drippings smelled. The roast wasn't ruined, but the outside, the part that should have benefited the most from the cooker was to be avoided.

Fortuantely, DW has a forgiving nature. Lesson learned. I have been treating the smoker as I always treated the grill, but the direct, heat high temp nature of the grill has more self-cleaning properrties than the smoker does,

Just thought I'd share and maybe, if anyone else is as dense as I, prevent someone else form doing the same.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 24, 2009
Independence Mo
Glad to hear it was not a total loss.

A long time ago I was drinkin and had a thought that if chicken was so darn good with beer in a can that I would put beer in the catch/water pan. WOW wrong move there. It was the worst smell ever.


Smoking Fanatic
Jun 20, 2010
Columbia, MD
A guy I sometimes work with has an expression.  "Experience comes from making mistakes and learning by them.  We have a lot of experience."


Smoking Fanatic
Dec 12, 2009
Remember what Edison said about light bulbs?

  he found 10,000 ways how not to make them before he got it right!


Smoking Guru
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
OTBS Admin
Group Lead
Jul 7, 2005
Midvale, UT
Well Pokey, we all have had those moments. Some we talk about, some we don't. When I first got my GOSM, my boys wanted me to do a pizza for them.  Well, I said to myself I've done it on the grill about a zillion times. How hard could it be in the smoker?  After making the dough up from scratch and making up some homemade pizza sauce, I proceeded to fire up the GOSM to preheat it and while I had the door open I removed the water pan. Why have it in there if I'm not going to add water to it, right?  I put that pizza in the smoker and set the timer and went back into the house to build another pizza.  5 minutes later the boys can running into the house telling me that the smoker is on fire. 

I ran outside and shut the valve on the propane tank and opened the door.  There was my pizza with the outer edge just as crispy done as if I did it on the grill.  The center section was toast so I pulled it out the smoker with my pizza peel and flipped it into the garbage can. I noticed that the underside where it was burnt was the same diameter as the burner that was below and I realized that had I left the empty water pan in the smoker, it would have acted as a baffle and caused the rise of the heat to move to the sides of the smoker and then up rather that going straight up in a column and concentrating the heat right in the center of the pizza.

Lesson learned, so I put the water pan back in the smoker and did a couple more pizzas that night that turned out great. 


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
May 7, 2010
augusta ga
Great stories guys! I, personally have never done anything stupid in my entire life, so I don't have a story to share. LOLOLOLOL! OMG I could fill up all of Jeff's space available here on SMF and only hit the surface. Making mistakes isn't the concern, it's whether or not we learn something from them and hopefully not do it again.

The very first time I did a smoke in my brand new Brinkman I got it way too hot and it burned all the paint off and now it's all rusted and looks like poo, plus it stunk to high heaven.


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Mar 12, 2009

Now some of those stories are really amusing to say the leased. But I have done a few of them myself like leaving a plastic plater in the oven (this is the latest) and per-heating the oven to maybe 400° you know good pizza making temp. Well the platter is alot smaller now and the drippings were really fun to get out od the grates. Then it would be right after the time we were making cookies with 4 grates in the oven. So I had 4 times the fun cleaning.


Smoking Fanatic
Jun 20, 2010
Columbia, MD
Not my mistake, but we once had a young lady rooming with us and she put one of our faberware pots on the burner for something.  Went away and forgot about it.  Whatever she was cooking boiled dry and then the faberware pot (which is fairly thick aluminum) melted into a shape not too different from a giant silver herseys kiss. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.