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Water pan With Traeger

Hqly2001

Newbie
17
8
Joined Jul 17, 2020
How many people use water pan with their tareger? would you put pan right under the grill rack or on the rack to the side?

how many people line the heat shield with foil for easy clean up? Wonder if it would be a fire hazard If caught on fire due to grease.

Also when i center my ribs in the middle for some reason i see oil/juice dripping on the left side of my smoker. If the liquid rolls to the right and the meat is not near the left side, how does liquid manage to drip down the seam on left side of smoker? I’m Stumped !
 
Last edited:

5GRILLZNTN

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I've never used a water pan in my pellet grill. I do foil the drip tray, but not the heat shield. Your smoker should have a drip tray that is slightly canted toward one side to carry away grease towards a collection point.
 

flatbroke

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Have any pictures of the seam you are talking about
 

Hqly2001

Newbie
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8
Joined Jul 17, 2020
I've never used a water pan in my pellet grill. I do foil the drip tray, but not the heat shield. Your smoker should have a drip tray that is slightly canted toward one side to carry away grease towards a collection point.
Yes, i meant the drip tray. I saw a video of someones smoker caching fire and wondered if it was a good idea to do that. Looks like the foil would male things worst. I experienced the whole smoker getting really hit and smokey on my first smoke. For some reason 5 hours into my smoke the fire died and temp dropped down to 80 degrees from 225 and I has to shut it down and restarted. When i did, the whole thing smoked like crazy and looked to be catching fire, luckily i was there to turn everything off and vaccumned the pellet before restarting.
 

bill1

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Apr 25, 2015
When meat cooks it can sizzle and blow out little jets in arbitrary directions. If they hit the wall, they can roll down to the nearest gap or hole and leak out...I think that's what gave you a spot on your gorgeous patio floor "uphill" from your oil drip system.

Some people completely clean their walls after every cook. It's prettier then, but I don't consider this small amount of oil/grease a fire hazard. The "impressive" fires with pellet grills come from welled up grease, and when combined with over-flowed pellet pots can really give you some flames. This is why you want to regularly disassembly your unit down to the crucible so you can affirm you have no grease or loose pellets there.

Similarly, I spray a little cooking oil on the heat shield (that functions as the oil drip tray) before I put down Al foil. It discourages rust and helps the foil stick so you can smoothe it out. Again, I don't consider a grease layer a fire hazard, just standing/accumulated grease.

Finally I do occasionally use a water pan, but keep it away from meat drips. Not for fire concerns, but so that the oil doesn't float on the water and prevent the water from evaporating and adding its humidity to the smoke that is what the water pan is for.
 

Hqly2001

Newbie
17
8
Joined Jul 17, 2020
When meat cooks it can sizzle and blow out little jets in arbitrary directions. If they hit the wall, they can roll down to the nearest gap or hole and leak out...I think that's what gave you a spot on your gorgeous patio floor "uphill" from your oil drip system.

Some people completely clean their walls after every cook. It's prettier then, but I don't consider this small amount of oil/grease a fire hazard. The "impressive" fires with pellet grills come from welled up grease, and when combined with over-flowed pellet pots can really give you some flames. This is why you want to regularly disassembly your unit down to the crucible so you can affirm you have no grease or loose pellets there.

Similarly, I spray a little cooking oil on the heat shield (that functions as the oil drip tray) before I put down Al foil. It discourages rust and helps the foil stick so you can smoothe it out. Again, I don't consider a grease layer a fire hazard, just standing/accumulated grease.

Finally I do occasionally use a water pan, but keep it away from meat drips. Not for fire concerns, but so that the oil doesn't float on the water and prevent the water from evaporating and adding its humidity to the smoke that is what the water pan is for.
Thanks for the reply. I figured that was the case so that’s why i was wondering if others experienced the same thing (Make sense others would also experience). Maybe the welding on the side of my unit wasn’t done well.
do you notice that the water pan help keep yhe meat moist? I’ve used it with my wsm but didnt really notice much difference. I’ll experiment next time.
 

bill1

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Apr 25, 2015
...do you notice that the water pan help keep yhe meat moist?
My experience with other smokers (using natural draft) was that it seemed to decrease cook time ("the stall" is less, regardless of meat size) without a loss of smoke flavor (I like it strong). It might have kept the meat more moist, but it's not a large effect...the evaporation of animal moisture at the surface is a major part of the whole process of cooking and raising meat's temperature. I should maybe think about it a bit more but compared to the moisture coming out of the meat, the effect of the external humidity is negligible...it's not like a higher humidity smoke is going to drive moisture into the meat. (That's a bit like getting water to flow uphill.) For the same reason, adding beer to your water pan will not drive beer molecules into your meat.

Now with pellet grills, I really don't have enough evidence to definitively promote them. The forced air into that pellet crucible really makes a cooking difference...it really is the difference between setting your kitchen oven to bake vs convection-bake. (Or why stirring your ice cubes cools your drink and melts the ice faster.) I think the improved heating from the convective flow should be helped along even more with humidity but if someone said they did 50 cooks with a water pan and 50 without and saw no difference, I don't think I'd pick a fight over it.

The reason I'm somewhat waffling on an answer is because I've added a lot of variable resistance in series with my fan in my pellet rig. Once I have a fire started, I greatly slow down the fan so this convective heating effect is also greatly reduced and my pellet cooker is more like a conventional smoker. I get a lot more smoke flavor for only a little longer cooking time. (Yes, temperature swings are greater this way and I've also insulated my walls to permit these lower flow rates.) And so in this context, I prefer water pans. (But you still have to keep drippings out so you don't form an oil barrier on the top water surface.)

Sorry for the long-winded answer
 

adamrappy

Newbie
11
13
Joined Jul 29, 2020
I am a newbie to the forum and have had my Traeger several weeks. I followed the advice of a previous owner and it has been helpful.

1 - Line the drip tray with foil. After every use I remove the foil and reline it.
2 - Line the grease bucket with a little home made liner I made.
3 - Clean out the firebox before every use. In fact I relocated my shop vac from the garage to the patio. Before every use I run the vac over the entire interior to get all pellet dust out and then the firebox.
 

forktender

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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695
Joined Jun 10, 2008
Using a water pan in a pellet pooper is a waste of time. These grills use forced air that pushes the steam right out the stack. They aren't like offset smokers where the steam stays in the cooking chamber for a while before it exits the stack. So basically a water pan in a pellet cooker doesn't make any sense at all.
 

bill1

Smoking Fanatic
316
86
Joined Apr 25, 2015
Using a water pan in a pellet pooper is a waste of time. These grills use forced air that pushes the steam right out the stack...
You make a good argument for why filling a water pan in a pellet cooker could become tiresome (not that I've found that to be the case) but the claimed advantages of some humidity in your smoke (smoke adhesion to the meat, better convective heating, esp during the stall, etc) would seem to be as valid if the smoke is moving fast or moving slow, no?

There appears to me to be a spread of opinions on the efficacy of water pans in electric smokers, the slowest moving smokers there are. I'd be surprised if there wasn't that broad a range of opinions among other smoking technologies as well.
 

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