Who all runs a water pan in their stick burner?

  • 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.

Chasdev

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Jan 18, 2020
1,026
831
Like it says, who runs a water pan?
And do you think it's a real benefit?
 
I had a Lang & always put a mud pan filled with water next to the firebox end on the bottom grate. It makes a huge difference in the side to side temps.
https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/mods-to-my-lang-36.280440/. This photo was before I got an 18” mud pan, but as you can see the little bread pan works just fine!
Hope this helps!
Al
 
  • Like
Reactions: HalfSmoked
I do. I put it next to firebox on my main cooking grate. I don't use it when cooking chicken and want the skin to crisp up. Pretty much everything else I have it in there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JLinza
I use a small on the water pan shelf on the Franklin Smoker. I think it helps stabilize temps a little and the moisture in the air conducts heat better and keeps the surface of the meat from drying as quickly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Redicans
Here is the water pan I use and where I place it. I tried under the main rack but it was kind of a pain if I had to access it. Also I feel like in this position it deflects heat coming out of the firebox a bit. I believe we are running the same smokers. Chargriller Grand Champ right.

IMG_5489.jpeg
 
I use the water pan that came with my Franklin pit, because Aaron Franklin told me to use it :emoji_grin:

But I've always used a water pan in my smokers. I used one in the Brazos I owned before the Franklin. And my WSM. And I put one in my Assassin GF. And put a combo water/drip pan in my MB560 GF.

Meathead and Dr Blonder at Amazing Ribs have done a great job of documenting how smoke attaches to wet surfaces. Its hard science.

And a stick burner will have more air flow than a lot of other types of cookers and needs more moisture, cuz it can dry out the surface of the meats.
 
Ok, all good info thanks!
SO, is there an upper limit to how MUCH water should be in the cook chamber?
I've got room for two of the largest aluminum pans, one upper rack and one lower rack adjacent to the firebox baffle, and am tempted to go full on overkill water pan wise.
 
I got no answer for that. Never thought about it.

When I bought my Assassin, the owner told me 90% of their customers don't run a water pan even though he includes one with the cooker. The reasoning I've heard, is the cooker is so efficient and air tight, it does not need additional humidity. So maybe its possible to have too much water, IDK .

But I think a lot of people won't use a water pan because they just don't want to go to the trouble and the clean up.

He also told me I'd get better results using wood around 20% moisture content.
 
I don't use a water pan per se however many things I cook I do use a large pan of broth below the meat. I do that for extra smokey goodness for things like butts, briskets, chuck , turkey breast etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: texomakid
I had a Lang for 5 years. Never saw a need for it. Dry Wood carries 20% moisture...unlike charcoal. Water pan also takes up valuable real estate in the smoker. Yes, a pit will have variation side to side as it nears firebox, but also bottom to top. Just learn your smoker and you'll have great food.
 
Ironically, I just watched this video the other day. I do not have any wisdom to share on the subject, but thought the video was interesting.

 
  • Like
Reactions: jcam222 and kevinwi
Ironically, I just watched this video the other day. I do not have any wisdom to share on the subject, but thought the video was interesting.


It was good info....he really went far into why you really don't need water pans, then shifted to it's better with them and then never really explained HOW the food will be better with a water pan...just that it will avoid burning in "high heat". That's what I got out of it....he also did not factor in that your "meat" has about 90% moisture added to the cook.
All I can honestly say is that my food has come out great without a water pan added. Adding one it appears will extend your cook, but better control your heat.

There's a guy on youtube....SDSBBQ or something like that...his pit has a huge water pan under the cooking plate. He swears by it.
 
If the stall is caused by water leaving the meat and causing the meat to cool and not continue to increase in internal temperature, does the presence of more moisture in the cooking chamber prolong the stall?
 
If the stall is caused by water leaving the meat and causing the meat to cool and not continue to increase in internal temperature, does the presence of more moisture in the cooking chamber prolong the stall?

Probably so. Basting or spritzing would do the same.

But what's the big deal about that ? Why should we care ?

The stall is one of the most over rated aspects of smoking big pieces of meat. I see people worrying way too much about the stall.

Patience is a virtue.
 
At some point the moisture will decrease the stall, kind of like how it's hard to cool your body down when it's humid.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FritzHlzr
If the stall is caused by water leaving the meat and causing the meat to cool and not continue to increase in internal temperature, does the presence of more moisture in the cooking chamber prolong the stall?
Yes. Stall is no big deal...unless you want to go to bed but have to wait until the fat renders to pull....so yes...if time has no bearing on your life, knock yourself out.
People wrap for a reason....to push through a stall......
Personally, I use no pan, but don't wrap either....million ways to cook.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HalfSmoked




Yes. Stall is no big deal...unless you want to go to bed but have to wait until the fat renders to pull....so yes...if time has no bearing on your life, knock yourself out.
People wrap for a reason....to push through a stall......
Personally, I use no pan, but don't wrap either....million ways to cook.

My goal is the best meats I can cook. If time is a problem for someone, maybe barbecue is not for them.

There's more reasons to wrap, then push through a stall. In his Masterclass, Aaron Franklin wraps his brisket as its coming out of the stall.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HalfSmoked
If you are cooking at a reasonable temperature the stall isn't a big deal. If you are at 225 the stall is a nightmare. At 250 to 275 it's much less so.
 
Last edited:
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
Clicky