Confused about water pan

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by vwaldoguy, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. vwaldoguy

    vwaldoguy Smoke Blower

    I'm newer to smoking, but am confused about the water pan.  I have a MES 30" smoker, and use the Amazen Pellet Smoker, and the recommendation is to not use a water pan with that setup.  What exactly does the water pan do, and what am I missing by not using it for my smokes?  If I don't use a water pan, should I be mopping my butts and briskets? The MES is a nice smoker, but you sure lose a lot of heat every time you open that door, so I don't mop.  But maybe I should be using a water pan?  And still, I've seen a few other people recommend sand in place of the water pan?  What does sand do?  See, I'm confused and need some guidance here. Thanks.
  2. hank2000

    hank2000 Smoking Fanatic

    I don't use sand in my mes 30. I don't use water ether water is used in some smokers to add moisture to meat being cooked. But in the MES it insulated and does not loss moisture like most do in fact if u have a window u can see how much moisture is always in the smoker. Most people here who a MES don't use water in there pan. I cover my pan with foil for easy clean up.
  3. Water is used as a temperature moderator. Since it boils at 212 degrees, it absorbs heat out of the smoker and converts it to vapor when the smokehouse temp is above 212. This helps to round off swings in temperature. As a secondary purpose, it serves as a heat reservoir, helping the house temp come back quicker after the door has been open. If you're going to spritz every half hour, having a heat reservoir makes a big difference. Whether it slows the moisture loss of smoking meats and helps the meat to retain moisture is a matter of debate.

    Sand alone serves the heat reservoir function. It catches the drippings and keeps them from hitting a hot metal drip pan and splashing.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  4. vwaldoguy

    vwaldoguy Smoke Blower

    Aha!  So it's a heat sink, and not used to add moisture to the meat. 
  5. Yes, a heat sink, and then for brief periods of time after the door is opened, a heat source. But I'm not taking sides in the debate about whether it adds moisture, slows the moisture loss, or has no effect on the moistness of the meat. [​IMG]
  6. hank2000

    hank2000 Smoking Fanatic

    It's what ever works best for u. There are no hard and fast rules
  7. mr roos

    mr roos Newbie

    Now I know what the water pan is for. Thanks!

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