to water pan or to not H20 pan in UDS

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Aug 10, 2009
tama iowa
i just built my first UdS and am going to try it out today. My question is do i need to use a waterpan or not which is better? thanks so much in advance!
I say try it both ways to see what you like . Personally I don't like sour smoke so I use a water pan to catch all the fat. No sour smoke and a clean drum when finished. This is just my personal preference. 
i just didn't know if it will work better or worse with or without it? As far as holding temp or running to hot.
i just didn't know if it will work better or worse with or without it? As far as holding temp or running to hot.

It will hold temps about the same with or with out, what you WILL see out of it is not nearly drastic temp spikes and a longer heat up time since you're having to heat the mass body of water as well. UDS weren't designed to have water pans in them because they're already inherently a moist atmosphere. If you look at the BDS that Rocky rmarkets, there's no water pan included because as the heat rises the drippings fall into the fire and steam back up into the meat and surrounding area, hence your moisture. I've got 12 UDS, each one made differently in one way shape or form, and I had the same question you had during my 4th and 5th drum, so I built it to take a water pan, found out it really didn't make that much of a difference except for heating it up, that took longer.
The center of my rack was 15-20 degrees cooler cause of the water pan blocking the center so I eliminated the pan on the last two smokes and the butts turned out just fine. I also quit foiling at 160 and just let it ride to 200*
Well i used it for the first time yesterday without a pan and it worked very good!! i think i should have put a little more lit charcoal in it to get it goin i only put a small half of  a chimmney but it held great and the chicken turned out awesome!!! think i will forget the pan dont need it.
What i'm going to try (when it's up and running) is to place 2 small water pans on the outside area of the grate that can hold a deflector plate and let the drippings go right down in the fire...see if that will give the best of both worlds. (holding good temps and flavor of the drippings) is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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